There has been a lot of discussion in my church lately on the importance of personal testimony and how individual stories can impact the world. Giving testimony on one’s faith is empowering and gives honor and glory to God because we are relaying the story of how He saved us. Peonies ‘n Mint, though loosely based around random discussion on what Life brings to the table, has grown to include more and more discussions on faith and belief as well. I do not usually dive into topics that may cause conflict, as I’m sure anything centering around religion may, but when it comes to my faith, I’m going to choose not to be afraid and go there…
Dear Former Selves,
Today, I turn 25. And although I have made several jokes about keeping my birthday hush-hush, have complained about my back hurting, and even threatened that a quarter-life crisis was about to ensue, I am actually very happy with my age and the woman I am becoming. Thinking back, though, over the past ten years I cannot honestly say this feeling is something I anticipated.
Two years ago, I lost what, I thought, was the basic existence of my life. To read my thoughts and feelings over the time that has passed, I am both humbled and shocked. Humbled that I was granted the blessing of maturing through this time and given wisdom over the past two years. Shocked because I can still remember the emotions felt during what was one of the hardest decisions so far. There is so much I wish I could have known back then…
A few days ago my friend Meghan reblogged this article written by Anna Bashkova and reading through it gave my heart a pang. I’m not the type of person who likes to openly hurt myself; I am no masochist. So it is not very often I try to think about my past. Sure, I’ve learned from my choices and the people who have come and gone throughout my life, but to actively consider these things every day? Not a chance. However, when those rare occasions happen — and they are bound to through social media postings, run-ins, and flashes of memory — it is sometimes hard to connect my current self with the former.
I have been in love twice. For some of you reading this post, this is old news. I’ve spoken about these loves in bits of Peonies ‘n Mint (okay, so maybe more than “bits”), and as you might know, I loved these two with my whole being. I even accepted a ring at one point. Thinking about how strongly I felt about these two people brings back a lot of mixed emotions. At the time of our romances, they were each my world. I loved them and a future together was all I could imagine. Looking back, though, I remember feeling that a future was set but I cannot always remember why I felt that way. Too often hurt feelings and sad memories block this aspect, the why did I see a future, and I’m left clinging to the reflections, dazed and confused. Then I read Anna’s post, and most specifically the Elizabeth Gilbert quote she used as an introduction, and it was as if a light was shone on these moments…
Today is my 24th birthday, but before you feel the obligation to wish me a happy day of birth, let me stop you. There is no need. I’ve walked into today with no feelings of excitement or anticipation. Instead, I look at it as just another day in the routine of life.
Now, I’m not saying this with any sort of disdain or ill-feelings towards my birthday. I am glad that I was born, after all. As every year passes, the special ambiance once felt as a child regarding my birthday dwindles. The presents become more scarce, their usefulness more logical, and becoming another year older just means you’ve gained more experience than what you had last year.
This experience is the only reason I have a spark of enthusiasm as my age ticks another number higher. This past year was one for the books. I had so many new experiences and unexpected twists and turns as a 23-year-old that I look back over the last year and marvel at the person molded before me in the mirror.
The county fair was last week and, as is the usual tendency at the fair, my friends and I ate unhealthily while we walked aimlessly around and ran into old classmates and colleagues. One of the groups we happened to run into contained a kid from my high school who was also once one of my campers. (He’s now a sophomore in college! Oh, how quickly he grew up!) As we did our quick five-minute catch-up, he asked me how Army was doing. I was a bit surprised he hadn’t heard of our break up being that it was over three months ago, but I gave my well-rehearsed, polite response, “Actually we aren’t together anymore, so I’m not entirely sure.” To which he gave me the mixed look of sadness and sympathy accustomed to those transitioning through a break up. Then he proceeded to pat me on the back and tell me that I will find someone new and I will get over the heartbreak.
It seems to me that people make a big deal about firsts: first kiss, first date, first love. Don’t get me wrong, a First is great, but it also generally leads to another first: heartbreak. I was relatively naive with my first love; I had no real understanding that all love stories tend to end, and many of them do not end in “death do us part.”
So my first heartbreak caught me completely off guard. I was innocent and pure and, as stated, naive so my heart was (figuratively) ripped out at the hand of someone I had genuinely trusted. Insecurities took hold of my life, but in the grand scheme of all that is good, something better came along. That is why I consider my first love simply that, my First Love, but definitely not my greatest or my last
As this year winds down and the holidays demand more of my time, I have a feeling I may not be available to reflect on 2014 if I do not do so right now — so I have decided to post this a little bit early. This year has been one hell of a roller coaster ride with crazy lows and soaring highs. I cannot use my tagline enough: I am truly blessed to have loved, lost and gained so much!
You guys know this story well enough from me: breaking up sucks. I never much thought about how much it would hurt while I was in my relationship with X, but now I know. It is even worse when you’re still in love with the person and you realize you need to break up. It’s not always because you’re not in love anymore, you know?
A dear friend of mine is on the verge of sparking her relationship again with her ex (for the ninetieth time), and though many can see how perfectly wrong he is for her, I also understand where her mind is right now. I’ve been there. I considered getting back with X, remember back to some of my May posts? For some reason though I saw the errors of my thinking before I acted, thought better of why we broke up to begin with, and decided to look towards my future as a strong individual rather than depend on someone else for my happiness. I moved on. Now I am the most independent I have ever been, I love my life entirely, and I am surrounded by fantastic people who tell me my worth daily. It amazes me to look back and reminisce on the love I’ve lost and the loves I’ve gained…