the journey

2018: please be over with already.

In the last five years, I have not felt this incredible need to express how much I have hated an entire year or desperately wanting it to be over, but this year? this year, could be over tomorrow and I would not feel sad in the least. I am pretty certain I have expressed this in the past years, but this one? This one has had too many painful moments and heartbreaking seasons. It is bringing back memories of the other really awful year of 2006 where I lost both of my Grandmas within two months of each other. At 16, I was really unsure how I was ever going to get through that year and I have found myself wondering that this year as well.

honestly, 2017 wasn’t so great in a lot of ways either but it was also a year of growth and strength for me. Looking back I can see how much I grew and that even though things were hard and ugly, I saw how strong I became. And I believe I will say that again when reflecting on this year but sometimes it’s so damn hard to see it when you’re in the middle of it. I believe and trust in God to turn these horrible moments and seasons into something amazing and inspiring growth. I know when we are at our weakest, He is right there, reminding us that He is carrying us and will always stay by us. That promise and hope is what I have held onto this year as well in the midst of some incredibly challenging times.

Two of my dear friends have lost very important people in their lives in the last two days and their losses have forced me to think about my loss and the fear of another loss I have experienced this year. One friend suddenly lost probably one of the most important people in her life and that has triggered me into realizing I have not fully mourned the loss of Di. When Di passed away in April, I felt so at peace with the whole thing. It was sudden, I did not expect it, but somehow and someway I felt peace. I felt sad, obviously, but felt that everyone else in my family was so in shock that I needed to take care of and be strong for them. I don’t think I was consciously feeling that at the time but that’s the mode I went into. I cried some but I never felt like I mourned her loss. In so many ways it felt so surreal that I couldn’t even believe it was happening so I think that’s a huge part of it. Plus I had things to look forward to–starting this new journey in Montana and I had to get ready for that. But when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer a month after Di passed away FROM breast cancer, I really struggled. I couldn’t even fathom that both my mom and my aunt, two of THE most important people in my life, had breast cancer and we lost one of them to it….I just….I couldn’t deal. It was too much for me. The sheer fleeting thought of losing my mom too was a place I could not go. I could not lose the most important person in my life this year. I could not. I wrote more about my mom’s journey with breast cancer a few weeks ago but I practically was begging God not to take her yet…I was and am still not ready for that. And even the thought of it now makes me cry.

I know death is a part of life and that is what I’ve been saying out loud all morning. I know death is just apart of this life and I can accept that but it just feels so unfair sometimes. We all experience death in our lives and all handle it in different ways. And they are all right and OK. But death sucks, no way around that, and I can talk to God as much or as long as I want about my most important people but in reality, it won’t change the plan. For all I know, this could be my last year on this earth and here I am whining about how horrible it’s been!

I am trying to remember that these dark and painful moments make one stronger…even me…because 5 years ago I would not have been strong enough to move 1400 miles away and be living on my own. Yes, I would have moved with someone but not by myself. And that is because even in the darkest times, I became strong. I feel strong…stronger than I ever have before. Everyone has their tough stuff they experience and go through, it’s a part of life. No one is immune to it but it’s how you come through it that tells you who you are and what you’re made of. And I have had my fair share of dark seasons….broken heart, losing friends, losing loved ones….and in them, I truly wondered if I would ever be OK again. I am no different than anyone else on this earth…but we have to be there to support and love one another through it all. We only have this one life and I do not want to waste anymore of it carrying around pain that does not serve me anymore. I may wonder and question what is the point of it all is while I’m struggling through the dark seasons but I want to hold onto the hope that God rescues us in those times and He uses them to make us stronger and more faithful people. I know that I would not be who I am or where I am without the loss or pain I’ve experienced.

and back to 2018, oh 2018. I am ready for a new chapter and a new season and God willing He will give me that. I feel I have so much to give this world and the people I find along my way. Even with the tough stuff, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have had in my life this year. I am living in a place I NEVER thought I would live in or even heard of 5 years ago…which by the way, has been the best decision I have ever made in my adult life. AND on top of that, my dreams changed last year and I am living those out right now. I am pursuing a career I never dreamed of would be a right fit for me and I’m doing it. Not without it’s challenges too but they are worth it. I remind myself when talking how blessed I am and how grateful I am in my life. And life will continue to throw me curveballs and seasons of pain and hurt and I just have to trust in what it will bring you and how you will grow from it.

 

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two months in, two months away.

I have been wanting to blog for quite a while but haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and really write. Last time I wrote, life was upside down and I didn’t know what direction I was going or what way was up. I know life is life and bad things happen, it’s natural and well, it’s just life. Nothing I can do to change or control that. It doesn’t make life things any less tough. And as life does, it kept going, and kept us on our toes.

In May….after I sold my house & while I began packing up my house and life to move to Bozeman for my new adventure…our family got some more unexpected and tough news. My mom was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. CANCER. AGAIN. BREAST CANCER, AGAIN. We had literally just lost Di a few weeks before we learned about my mom. Yes, it’s stage one. Yes, she caught it VERY early. But it’s still cancer and it’s still very scary…especially when we just lost Di to it, my mom’s sister no less.

I was shocked and terrified when she told me and immediately thought better of moving…even though it was all under way. I couldn’t imagine leaving her and my dad here to deal with it all without supporting them. It felt extremely selfish to me. I was her kid and I needed to be here for her….to support her….and let her know she wasn’t alone. The idea of potentially losing my mom, my person, right after losing such a hugely important person in my life, Di, was absolutely terrifying to me….and still is.

I felt like God was really putting our faith to the test this year. In my life, school was a HUGE unknown for the early part of 2018, then we lost Di suddenly, and now my mom has to fight breast cancer. I struggled if I could stay strong through all life was throwing at me but I made a decision to anchor myself in my faith. I knew that I would ONLY make it through the move, changing my career, and not get so bogged down with worry about my mom by putting my faith and trust in God. I could only control what I could and that is my response to all the change at my feet. I chose to move, to start a new path, and I had to choose to trust God in those choices and those things I had no say in, like my mom now having to fight breast cancer.

Fast forward some time….my mom & dad helped me move to Bozeman (which I absolutely love by the way…more on that later) and I’m SO thankful they were able to come and help me. I think it was good for all of us honestly…helped take our minds off everything my mom was going to face. When she got home, she began her treatment process. She had surgery on August 13th and while it was deemed successful…all cancer gone…it did move to one lymph node and was about 4 times bigger than originally believed on the ultrasound. And that is where we are at right now. We don’t know what will come next…originally it was just going to be radiation but now we have heard it may be a form of chemo too. It shocked all of us it was that big and that it was in a lymph node…but because my mom’s faith is so strong and well my mom is so strong, we know it will be ok. She will be OK because God will make sure of it (not putting words in his mouth or his promises of course, just my ideas 🙂 )

I have told a few people that God and I have made a deal. I know I’m probably not supposed to be making deals with God but I like to think he smiles down on me and obliges my need to make deals every now and again. To be completely honest, 2018 has really sucked. Parts have been incredibly fantastic and amazing and I try really hard to hold onto those but so much of this year has sucked. And in being even more honest, I can’t imagine losing my mom. Yes, I do know one day it will happen, but I’m not ready for that yet. She is my person. She helps me see the good in these terrible situations that we have dealt with this year and in times passed. She holds our family together. She supports me in all my crazy dreams…like changing my career and moving to Montana. She has shown me how to be strong in life’s tough times. I can only hope to be half as strong as she is. I wouldn’t survive this life without her and so I have made a deal with God that I’m not ready for her to leave us yet and I like to think He knows this already. I like to believe that He smiles kindly on my poor worried heart and reminds me His plan is awesome and no matter what happens, He’s got this. He’s got us. He’s got me. And He’s going to make sure we’re all ok.

Without being terribly preachy, I have to share that without my faith, I would be in some hole in the fetal position with everything that’s happened this year. I hate change (ironic) but He has made me strong. He made my mom so incredibly strong and I’m finally seeing and experiencing that for myself. I know without a doubt, I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am in this moment without my faith and my belief in God. I can pick specific moments where I can see how He worked in and through others to make life OK for me and for our family. And so I know He will continue to do that for my mom and all of us.

I also want to take a moment and say that my mom gave me permission to write about this. It’s something I have been wanting to do for a while but putting it into words made it so real and I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to deal with it all yet. Another EXTREMELY important piece of this is self-care. My mom is the one who found her lump….the mammogram she had a month earlier didn’t even detect it…she found it and started having it monitored right away. Unfortunately that was in February and she wasn’t diagnosed until May, but that is another story for another day. The important point is that she was doing her monthly self-check and felt it and if she hadn’t, who knows when it would have shown up and how far it may have progressed by then. It’s an extremely important lesson for me and for anyone who reads this. Don’t wait…be an advocate for yourself and your health…you know your body best…and while I did my own self-exams often, I have done it regularly twice a month…just for good measure. Also, if you know my mom, she is reminding me 🙂

I write all this to share her story…our story…my story. We believe it’s important to share our stories and experiences because they may help someone else out there reading this in ways we don’t know.

I want to thank our family and friends who have reached out, sent their prayers & well wishes, and who have been such a strong support system for us always and especially in 2018. I know my mom appreciates it and I do as well…more than we can say. God blessed us with some great people in our lives and we love you all so much.

All my love…
K

a farewell

I like the beginnings and ends of events/circumstances/relationships/etc because it gives me the opportunity to reflect on what happened and start the next step fresh and with a clean slate. and today marks the end of what I planned my whole life around.

as I reflect on my almost 4 years working at Assembly Solutions (my parents’ company, what I thought I would be doing for the rest of my life) it has it’s good and not so good memories. Bottom line, I wanted to make this a better place to be. I wanted to make things better, more efficient, better for everyone who worked here, that is what I wanted my “legacy” to be one day far down the road. I’m smart, both book & people smart, I like to think I have a knack like my dad does…not near as developed as him…but a knack that could grow and flourish. And I wanted to use that smartness to work with everyone here and make Assembly Solutions as good if not better than my parents had. I wanted to make my mom and dad proud that they started this business almost 40 years ago (well the first one anyways) and that with all the ups and downs it’s had, that I could stay and make it better and more successful. It wasn’t about how much money it could make…for me, it was about the relationships I would form and the lives I could change by making the work place good for those who came here every day because they played one of the biggest roles in the success. It ALWAYS remained my intent..no matter what anyone would say or argue with me…that was my intention.

But reality? Reality was different. I had an attitude. I was rude and short and disrespectful and insubordinate. People thought I knew better than everyone else. I was never trying to think I knew better than everyone or anyone else because I know I didn’t know better. I was providing ideas & suggestions from what I observed. The end. And why did I provide that? Because I wanted to make this place better for those who worked here. AND I was trying to survive my own job which was incredibly overwhelming. I take responsibility for when I was incredibly stressed out and took it out on other people and I know I did not handle those situations right all the time, but I also don’t feel like anyone gave me grace in what I had to do. I had a big job to do and a HUGE learning curve to learn with little to no guidance. And I was expected to be better and more put together than everyone else and why? Because of my last name.

Being the owner’s daughter came with a huge burden for my personal identity. I could never just be Katie and prove what I could do or even what I did do, it didn’t matter. I could and would never be Katie. I would always be Katie Franklin, the owner’s daughter. And never being able to be just Katie, well that boxed me into a corner and I felt trapped. Over a year ago, I knew I would never be able to get out of the corner or trap. I would be stuck there for a very long time, maybe forever, and that feeling, that was suffocating. I didn’t expect or demand respect but I thought the work I had done and the way I was able to do my job would help me earn respect, but I knew that no one’s opinions of me would ever change. I would still always be the spoiled and entitled daughter, which while I may be spoiled, I always made sure to do my job and put the company. But all I ever wanted was to just. be. Katie. And being JUST Katie, she wanted to make a difference.

I never dreamed in my 28 years that I would one day, soon, leave Assembly Solutions. The company my parent’s built. I expected and believed I would be here forever. I would run this company and grow it even more than my mom and dad did. I wanted to make them proud. I LOVE sharing what they do and what they have done because my grandparents also built something together and so this business feels like it’s in my blood. It is incredibly hard for me to walk away from here even though I know it is what is best for my mental and emotional health. My heart is still in this place, I think it always will be. And you wonder why? Because my parents built this. They spent so much of their lives AND during my childhood trying to build something that would sustain and that allowed me to have the life I have lived so far. I am so proud of them and I am so proud that I had the opportunity to work here and I wish it worked out differently than it has. I do. I wish SO badly it was different. But it is not different and this is reality.

so today as I leave and know that everything I worked for and did up until this point, well, it is over. And I am sad about it, I feel like I have been mourning for a week. It is not easy for me to give this up knowing it is what I worked toward my whole life. But what keeps me feeling at peace is that I am heading on a totally new path. I’m kind of scared, but excited scared. I’m choosing my own future for myself and no one else is even slightly a factor in this decision. I’ve grown tremendously in the 4 years I’ve worked and lived here. Grown SO much and I believe I know who I am and what I’m made of and for that I’m forever grateful. And I believe that I will take what I learned about myself here and use that for good in my next path. God led me to this moment and so no matter what, I have to trust that He’s got all this covered and I’m going to be just fine. He wouldn’t bring me to this if I couldn’t handle it. It’s time & no matter how far away I go, I’m grateful. Always.

life

I am unsure where to begin this post; there is so much going on that I don’t know where to start. This isn’t going to be one of those posts where I have all this great insight into myself or say anything profound. No, this is just going to be real me in real life…all the emotions and feelings that are coming with it today on this first Wednesday in April.

I’m not going to complain though and throw a pity party for myself. 2018 has had it’s fair share of challenges and tough moments already but I’m not throwing in the towel on it yet. Life keeps going, the world still spins, days still come so there is plenty of room to change and adapt to life’s circumstances.

This year was going to change things for me…I was going to pursue a new career, find out who I really am and what I’m really made of. I wanted to find happiness, but happiness within, peace about who I am and happy with the person I am. And take the steps to create my own life for myself.

January and February were filled with focusing on applications and class. I took the GRE in January and went to Montana to look at a school there; I was working on my application…the essay and resume and making sure all my t’s were crossed and i’s dotted. Applications were due in mid February so I was planning on celebrating when that was done and then life happens the celebration did not happen, which is OK. Life keeps going you know so it wasn’t a big deal.

In the process of all this, I was sorting out what I really wanted…where I really wanted to go. What I was really passionate about doing. I started to have this feeling that maybe my own mental health may suffer if I was a mental health counselor. I wanted to help people. I wanted to make a difference. I didn’t want people to feel alone the way I had. But the more I thought about it, I was nervous that maybe I couldn’t do it. But I let that thought subside because I needed to see what would happen in the application process. And plus, I was on pins and needles waiting to hear back from each school. Would I get an interview? Would they see my potential? Would they think I would be good at this? It kept me up at night. It wasn’t easy to make this huge change in my life even though I knew I needed to.

And so I started another 40 day prayer challenge the day I submitted my last application. I wanted to really rely on my faith and God in this time of uncertainty and change. I KNEW I couldn’t do this with just me and I knew I didn’t want to rely on others to get me through it. I wanted to rely on God and God alone. My theme for 2018 has been surrender and that’s what I wanted to do in this situation too. Surrender it all to God and let Him lead me to where I was supposed to go. And I have to say, making the choice to give these things to God and give to Him what you can’t control, it’s hard. It’s really hard and I still wrestle in it every day. I find myself constantly wanting or trying to control a situation and I have to consciously say I surrender. If I don’t? I hold onto it and all the feelings that come with it. I am definitely not a pro at this but I’m making the effort and trying to keep the act of giving it away in the forefront of my mind. I need that for my own peace and happiness.

I got an interview with 2 of the 3 schools I applied to and somehow that rejection from the one school cut me deeply. I have been rejected from other people before but being rejected from a school? I did not handle that well, I thought I would at least get an interview. So I have to admit, I was crushed and I took it personally. And even though I continued to surrender and trust God’s plan, I struggled with what this could mean. This could mean I may not get into ANY program. And through more praying and surrendering and conversation with God, I found peace in that potential. I knew God would guide me to where I was supposed to be and even if it wasn’t in my happy little plan, I knew He would take care of me but trusting that and not worrying about it definitely proved to be a challenge. But I had to give up this sense of control….all of this was out of my hands at this point and holding onto it all so tightly was not going to serve me well.

At this point, I had two options in school. I was unsure what would happen so each day I was pretty anxious awaiting the decisions. I got my first decision back and it was a NO. And while I was pretty upset, I was okay because it wasn’t where I thought and felt I was supposed to be. It did not derail me like the other where I did not even get an interview. I was disappointed of course but asked the question of “why” and so with that, I felt a peace. I had done all I could do and had given it my best and that’s all I can ever ask or expect of myself. And with that, I had one shot left. The school I really wanted to go to. The place I really wanted to live and felt like I was supposed to be in. And I had to wait a few more weeks for that decision.

The week of the decision was upon me and I was a ball of nerves all week and in all honesty, haven’t really slept good or that long since then. I didn’t know what day I would find out and was so anxious and nervous I couldn’t focus. It was intense but I also was praying a ton because I knew that would be the only thing to calm my nerves. I knew that I had to rely on God and trust Him in these moments. I knew I had no other option. Nothing would help me except praying. I felt like I fully surrendered myself to God in those few days. I felt like I had peace no matter the decision and that He would lead me to where I was supposed to be. I was anxious still but deep inside I had peace. And by no means am I trying to brag or pat myself on the back by sharing this, but to show the power or prayer and the power of focusing everything on God. And how He really does guide and provide when we can open our eyes to it even if it’s not what we thought we wanted.

Thursday came and I had a pretty intense conversation with my mom that lead me to believe I really wanted this. I wanted to get in. I wanted to move and figure out how to do this life thing myself and create my own way. Not relying on others but just me, no matter how hard it was. I wanted to know what I’m made of and I knew that in order to do that I had to go. I had a gut feeling I wouldn’t get in but I hadn’t totally given up hope yet. I checked my email during class and found the email in my inbox. I quickly and nervously logged in and saw the letter. I took a moment before reading and thought to myself “I trust you God.” And as my eyes scanned the page, I saw the rejection. And I was in class so I had to keep it together and am glad I did. I cried for maybe 5 minutes…called my Dad and cried a little more just saying it out loud, and then I was ok. I knew it wasn’t right, not meant to be right now, God had a different plan for me. And honestly? I felt like it was going to be OK.

n the rejection letter from the graduate school, the professor I had connected with and met in January told me to apply next year OR if I was interested in the school counseling route, to consider applying as they had some vacancies. I read that and it felt like kind of a sign! Should I go for it? Should I throw my name in the ring and see what happens? She gave me another option and opportunity in another field and maybe I should consider this option. I had been wondering if the mental health counseling route would be a good fit for my own mental health challenges. I had started thinking maybe it would be OK to not get in so I could better determine what I was really passionate about and wanting to do. But I didn’t want to make a hasty decision and a decision just because I wanted this to be my plan and I wanted to move. SO I decided to sit on it for a night or 2 and then it would become clear.

I had asked my Mom to meet for dinner and her and my dad showed up, which I thought was odd. I was telling them about the school counseling path and what she had said to me and was blabbering on about it. As I talked more and more, the better I felt. The more at peace I felt about the whole thing and I had other options now and maybe better options for me, my goals, my personal mental health, and future.

Then after I was done eating, my mom said she had to tell me something and I could tell it was bad. And I had a gut feeling about what it was going to be about. She told me that she got a call from Uncle about Di. Di was in the hospital and had been diagnosed with cancer in both her lungs. And somehow I did not freak out. I did not lose my cool and actually still have not yet, not completely anyways. I wanted to know how this happened but at the same time, I knew deep inside something was wrong and had been for a while. I had a feeling at Christmas we were going to lose her this year, I just had this feeling. But my mom said that Uncle was going to talk to the doctors the next day about treatment options so maybe it would be OK and she would make it through this. And then the reason for me not getting into school became more clear, I wasn’t supposed to get in so I could be here to help take care of Di while she was in treatment. I felt SO much peace about that. God did not make me decide, He did that for me, and I was grateful. Incredibly grateful.

I was in shock….called a few friends and told them the terrible news but still trusting God’s plan in all of this. The next day, however, we learned that there was not going to be any treatment options and she would not be here long. Oh, and her and my Uncle were still in Florida so we couldn’t even see her. We hadn’t seen her since Christmas or right after before they left for Florida. And again, I didn’t really react. It was like that premonition I had those months ago, had already prepared me for this. It was truly strange. However, I felt completely drained and I felt incredibly sad but not inconsolable. A lot of me couldn’t believe it was happening and it seemed surreal so perhaps that is part of my reaction. My uncle and my mom were not doing well and my mom not doing well made it harder for me too. They were trying to figure out how to get her home, that was my uncle’s #1 concern.

Well they got her home….on Tuesday, 10 days ago. It was a chaotic mess but they got her home. And I’m so grateful they did.

I had a crazy weekend before they had gotten her home. I was really busy with multiple different events and things I had to do and I ended up hitting a curb that did $2300 of damage to my car. Honestly that’s what sent me over the edge. I completely lost it. I couldn’t take much more bad happening right now. So with all the bad news and happenings, and the non-stop schedule I had, I crashed Monday. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t function. I felt like I was drowning and I may never get up from it all. I felt lost and heartbroken and I couldn’t get a grip on reality and what was going on in my life. So I took a day off from work to just get myself wrapped around this whole thing. All of it. I didn’t have a chance to process any of it because I had been on the go and didn’t get to just sit and deal. And that’s what I did on Monday. And that caused a whole ordeal at work. I felt too depressed to work and I even told my boss and apparently it wasn’t a valid excuse for them. So Tuesday, the day Di came home, was one of the absolute worst days I’ve had in a very long time. I just needed to take care of myself and I felt that wasn’t allowed or approved of and it just made me feel more alone and isolated than I already had been feeling. I just didn’t need that extra stress going on with everything else on my plate. Not to mention, now that I didn’t get into a program, I had NO idea what I was going to do next.

I was unsure if I could handle seeing Di. I wanted to but I had texted with her over the weekend and felt like I had said what I needed to say and had peace about everything. But I also knew I would regret if I didn’t go see her but wanted to remember her in a good way and not in a really sick way. Anyways, I went and have been going every day since she’s been home. And I’m so thankful for this time I do get with her. A lot of the time she’s been asleep but she knows I’m there.

And on Wednesday (a week ago) I had decided to email about the school counseling track. I thought a lot about it since the idea was introduced to me and decided I should go for it. I believe I would be a really awesome school counselor…it will allow me to make the difference I’m longing to make….and has the potential to make a true impact on someone’s life. And I really didn’t have anything to lose by trying. If I didn’t get in, it would just mean it wasn’t meant to be and God would guide me on another path. So I took the steps to “throw my hat in the ring” and on Thursday while I was visiting Di, I got a phone call from the program director about my email to him earlier that morning! It felt very meant to be. I ended up talking to him for over an hour and the more he was explaining about the program, the potential for a career, and potential future options for a career, I knew this had been my answer all along. This is what I was meant to do. Di was there when I got the call, I feel REALLY good about that, and I think it can really get me to where I want to go—which is to be helping people and making a difference in someone’s life. And if I get to help a child in choosing and creating their future, I think that will truly be fulfilling for me.

So! Yes! I am starting a new journey in my life. I’m moving to Montana (never thought I would say that!) in June and starting a 2 year master’s program in July at Montana State University! I will graduate with my masters in education and will be able to start working as a school counselor right away!

God has a plan. Always had a plan and I just had to breathe and trust He would guide me to where I’m supposed to go and who I’m supposed to be.

I have to admit that losing Di has been one of the toughest things I’ve experienced and been through yet. I know I’m young and there is plenty that can happen but so far? It’s been pretty damn awful. Thankfully our relationship has always been strong and she knows I love her and I know she loves me and so we have this peace with one another. I don’t feel like there is one thing left unsaid between us and I feel blessed by that. She taught ME how to be an aunt and what a gift being an aunt is and can be. I learned from the best and I love my kids with all my heart just like she loves me with hers. She taught me how to love with my whole heart and look at each day as a gift and to cherish moments, people, and whatever life brings you. I have been beyond blessed by her support, encouragement, and love throughout my whole life. She has been a pillar for me in my 27 years and I would not be the person I am today without her. I’m going to miss her more than I can even say but I trust God in this as much as I trust Him in everything else. Without Him I wouldn’t have the hope and encouragement that she will be with Him soon and free of this pain.

Life is not always easy and there are many ups and downs along the way but I have learned that if I have faith, truly trust in God’s plan, no matter what happens, I know it will all be OK. He is taking care of me and there every step of the way through the good and bad that life throws our way. Everyone deserves to be happy, including me. I want to be happy with the person I am and striving to be. I’m getting to the point where I no longer feel like I need to apologize for who I am because I’m pretty great just how I am. And it’s incredibly refreshing to feel free and clear and ready to move on and thanks to God, I am on my way.

with a huge thankful heart…

 

 

closing out twenty seventeen

2017. what a year. a year of growth, changes, adventures, heartache, the starts of things, the end of things, also a lot of the same things too. what a year.

I like to recap and think back on my years. particularly this year. this year I have taken steps in a real way to change things for myself. change how I interact with others, change how I talk to myself, change how I see myself, and even go so far as to start the steps to change my career.

I had the privilege to travel in every month except March & July. I got to go to 3 new states…all in the Northwest…got to see lots of friends and make some really wonderful memories. I let go of a lot that I’ve been carrying around for a very long time and mourned some people no longer apart of my journey.

The length of time we have to live out full years has been on my mind recently. I have had the opportunity to see the majority of 27 years…..27 years of learning, adventures, forming relationships…27 years to live. And I was reflecting how I’ve wasted a lot of them….wasted them being upset and worrying about what’s coming next or upset with myself instead of enjoying each moment I get to live. Life’s too short to be upset with others, upset with yourself, or not living life how you want.

During this year it was brought to my attention (more than once) about self talk. My self talk, in full disclosure, is pretty damn terrible. I would NEVER talk to other people the way I talk to myself. I am so hard on myself about nearly everything. It’s loud and it’s negative and nothing silences it. I struggle with not letting it get to me and I’ve had to face it a lot more this year in different ways. For some reason this year I have felt very unworthy of anything good. I’ve allowed the thoughts and actions of others define my worth. I HAVE allowed it. And so by realizing that I am the one allowing, I get more upset with myself. And the nasty cycle of negative self talk became more frequent and more detrimental honestly. How am I supposed to form relationships with others or find myself being open to dating or a real and true romantic relationships if I talk to myself that way? I can’t expect someone else to respect me or care about me when I don’t feel that way about myself. I have spent PLENTY of my years in this space of awful self talk and I am making a promise to myself here & now to change that. Change how I talk to myself and stop others’ opinions of me define how I see myself. Those are conscious choices and choices I need to make if I want to continue down the path I want to be on.

Truth be told I have not done a very good job of being open with others this year. I think it’s partly due to this head space I’ve been living in & the other part is me trying to be different and better (which I guess I could attribute to the head space). Regardless, I’ve become much more closed off and keeping my thoughts & feelings to myself. I’ve been doing a lot of internal evaluating and reflecting and there have been changes that have come with doing those things. I haven’t wanted to share and share and share the ways I used to. Sharing can lend to pity & misunderstanding & sometimes, unhelpful opinions. I do not want pity for sure & sometimes the more I share, the more misunderstood and alone I’ve felt so if I don’t share, I can’t be misunderstood right? Sure, in theory. On top of that, I allow others’ opinions to make my decisions. I gave that decision making power away and I needed to take it back. It has been challenging to have to honestly look inside and ask myself what I want. But I believe within this new approach, I’ve become more selfish and definitely have pushed people away. It is not my intent in anyway but I believe it’s become the reality. I have become content with myself enough that I don’t need other people like I did and instead of being a friend to others, I’ve become selfish and incredibly closed off. Plus I know that so much of what I always communicated with to others I have to deal with and move past on my own. Another piece to this is that in all honesty, I haven’t wanted to let people in. When I’ve let people in in the past, it’s caused pain and hurt. So in many ways I have been scared to open that door again. But I am who I am and I don’t need to hide things I’ve felt shame about anymore. Those who love me most don’t and won’t care and that’s what I have been trying to hold onto in the struggle of this opening up business.

As I’m writing all this out I realize it’s confusing. It’s confusing because they almost seem conflicting ideas. I want to be more internal so I don’t rely on other opinions but I also talk super negatively to myself and allow others’ feelings about me define myself? It doesn’t make sense in many ways but it also makes a lot of sense. I believe there is a fine line between opening up and letting others in and remaining true to yourself and making choices that are best for you. Oh and sticking to those decisions and allowing yourself some grace and a little love. In the end, you only have yourself so if you don’t speak kindly to yourself or love yourself, how miserable a life are you going to have? Well a little advice as someone who has been there for a long time, it can lead to the the most miserable life. Love yourself, seriously. Haven’t mastered it yet but working my way there.

Back to my original thought of LIVING life, living life includes being open to letting others in. Sharing stories of success, failures, annoyances, joys, challenges, triumphs is what makes life doable. It makes it worth it when you share and you celebrate with your closest people or you are having a tough day and you need an ear and someone to tell you it’s going to be OK. And loving yourself is part of your job description.  THAT is what living life is about. We’re all in this together and I forgot that in the midst of my journey this year.

SO as I do….I want to thank those who have remained present and there for me when you may have felt that I shut you out. I want to apologize to those where I put all my “worth” eggs. That’s a huge responsibility to feel you have and an unfair one at that. I love and value those so much but it’s not fair at all. For those I pushed away and seemed so self involved, I am sorry. It was truly never my intent. There was a lot of work that had to be done this year and I did the best I could. But I never meant to push away or hurt anyone.

Life is tough you know? We face so many awful and debilitating situations and circumstances and it’s clear to me it’s not going to get any better. But I am starting with loving who I am, giving myself and others much more grace, deserved grace. We have to stick together. Sticking together, relying & loving on one another other makes all the other crap doable, livable, survivable, and OKAY. It’s not necessary to walk through the tough stuff alone and I see that now.

in terms of my plans you may wonder? I’m working on it. I’m doing the things that need to be done to determine where my next steps in 2018 will lead me. Not to sound so vague, but in truth, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know where I’m going to land. I want to go to school in the fall…I want to move somewhere amazingly beautiful where I can continue to grow into this new version of myself. I want to get this master’s degree and maybe even my doctorate some day. I want that accomplishment. And THEN, I want to help people. I want to make a difference. THOSE things have not wavered. I feel called and driven in that and so I’m doing what I need to do now to make that happen. God has a plan you know? God will guide and place me where I need to be and when I need to be there. It’s been challenging but it’s going to be worth it when I am where I know I need to be. Portland? Utah? Colorado? Wisconsin? California? Arizona? STL? Where will I go? I have no idea. But God does and so I’m ok with not knowing today.

2017, what a year. these are without a doubt the biggest takeaways and things I want to share mostly to remind myself and hope to bring a little light and peace to someone else’s life. We aren’t alone and shouldn’t have to walk this journey by ourselves. Give people a chance. I have a feeling it will be worth it when I can change how I look at things.

2018: I’m ready for whatever God has in store for me.

 

shedding the old

on this final Friday in October, I feel a strong desire to speak my truth. I feel it’s important to shed the final layer of the old by being honest with the world. It’s scary to be this honest on such a format but I hope by my sharing I can help someone else. Most may see my life as wonderful….I travel often, I have amazing friends, family who loves and takes care of me, yet I always found myself looking and searching for something more. I was never content with my life and never content with myself.I wasn’t striving to have a picture perfect life but I wanted to feel happier than I felt. Unknowingly, I had been fighting severe anxiety for a very long time which caused much of the discontentment. I couldn’t turn my brain off. I couldn’t make the racing thoughts stop. And at times, the anxiety paralyzed me 100%. A lot of the time, I didn’t even know what was happening as I didn’t know what I was dealing with. My anxiety peaked it’s ugly head a few years ago and I literally spiraled out of control. I couldn’t get out of the awful cycle (not to mention, a heartbreak was thrown in there that made it much worse). I would avoid social activities and just go home and sit by myself, get mad at myself for feeling this way and then just cry. I was so consumed by my own hate self talk that I was ruining my own life and my relationships with those I cherish most. I was paralyzed and no matter what fun thing I was doing or cool place I went, it didn’t stop. Nothing I did helped. Even when I learned I had anxiety I still did not know how to fight it or cope with it. No matter what I did, the “I’m not good enough” thoughts and worry about every little choice and decision just would not stop.

Over the last few months, my self discovery lead me to really take control of the anxiety. I accepted what I had been fighting for years and decided I did not want to waste any more of my life. I went to counseling, worked with a life coach, and even went to an energy healer. I took up running, started praying….even did a prayer challenge, began openly talking about my challenges with others. I was able to let go of the past and the matters of the heart and in the process of all this, grew to love myself. I came to understand that I’m the only one who can change and truly the only one I can always count on, so I should be kinder to myself. Just because I have anxiety, does not mean I’m not a good person or a contributing member to those I cherish most. I realized that hiding it and being ashamed was not benefiting me at all. It was making it worse. Since starting these things, the self love has grown tremendously. Loving myself has been the biggest contributing factor to beating the anxiety. I see hope for myself for the future and I’m enjoying the little things about my day…and honestly, I feel like the Katie before all this took me under.
Perhaps I’m making this sound more dramatic than it is or it may be challenging for you to identify with this, but let me just say, it’s no joke. Granted, I haven’t suffered the way many others have or to the same extents that some have but it still was very real for me. And if you haven’t dealt with this debilitating way of life, then you count yourself very blessed. I believe we all deal with things like this at one point or another in our lives because of situations or circumstances but talking about it and owning it makes me feel less alone and more proud of myself for all I’ve learned and grown into. Not to mention, I feel a release of the shame and embarrassment I had felt for so long. The old is gone and the new is here to stay. And I’m grateful, so very grateful. As I end my long novel, I encourage you to be kind to others, be loving to yourself, and enjoy every moment no matter what.
a big thank you to my family and friends who unknowingly helped me along the way.