whyyyyyy

15. Write a list of questions to which you urgently need answers.

  1. Donald J. Trump- WHY?
  2. Why do we clap after someone blows out birthday candles?
  3. Why would someone willingly go on the show Naked & Afraid?
  4. Why is traffic so light on Friday morning?
  5. Are we 100% sure that Donald Trump isn’t a Clinton conspiracy?
  6. Why do people forget how to drive when it rains/snows?
  7. Are Joe Biden and Lady GaGa actually friends like he claimed they were when he introduced her at the Oscars?
  8. When did interrupting people become socially acceptable?
  9. Why are you (anyone who does this) chewing with your mouth open?
    1. Who taught you to eat?
  10. WHY ALAN RICKMAN, UNIVERSE? WHY?
  11. When are Delawarians going to stop talking about traffic and weather?
  12. Is my life being secretly recorded?
  13.  Can it please be on vacation right now?
  14. Why are you still talking?
  15. What is so appealing about the horror genre?
  16. What do you mean you don’t like reading?
  17. Does anyone actually use Siri on a consistent basis?
  18. Who invented the word ‘Fork’ ?
  19. How did swear words become ‘bad words’ ?
  20. How do British people describe something as ‘bloody’ (like a crime scene or when you cut off a part of your finger with a knife while cooking) without people thinking they’re swearing?
  21. To the people who don’t like to travel and would be happy never leaving their home state: Why? How? What happened to you?
  22. Who keeps making flip phones?
    1. Who is still buying flip phones?
  23. What kind of a*$%^(# apartment complex doesn’t let their residents have dogs?
  24. Can we please be like Arizona and just stop with Daylight Savings Time?
  25. Is the sun ever going to come out again for more than 12 hours?
  26. Can we all stop pretending like we love small talk?
  27. Why are you talking to me before I’ve had coffee?
  28. Why didn’t you respond to my text but you posted on social media?
  29. Why are you using Facebook/Twitter as your personal diary?
  30. Can someone explain Trump, please?

*Please note that many of these questions were not directed at a particular person, but to the ‘collective’ you.*

 

the story.

14. Write about your first love – whether a person, place, or thing

I don’t have a lot of cousins, 6 first cousins, in total. I’m not particularly close to any of them now except for one- Will. He’s got an amazing sense of humor and we always have a laugh when we’re together. But there was another cousin, Will’s half brother, and we used to be very close.

He’s roughly ten years older than I am, so when I was a baby he would hold me and play with me, there are tons of pictures of it, and as I grew older, he was my favorite person. I remember he would bring me gifts: one time he gave me a blue jump rope, another time it was a little clown doll (not creepy) with a lovely silk orange and pink outfit. I don’t remember much, but the pictures show me that Jeff had great affection for me, and in my eyes, he was the best. Jeff was cool, and funny, and he adored me. I have an older brother, but Jeff loved me in a way my actual brother never did. I looked up to him- he was totally my hero. For a school assignment in middle school, we had to write about someone who was our hero. I wrote about Jeff.

By calling it a “first” we are usually implying that there were more loves to follow. And our first love is often the love that breaks our hearts.  That this was the love that captured us before any other love. Perhaps not all of our first loves break our hearts, but this was how I decided that Jeff was my first love, because he was also my first heartbreak.

I remember being in church one day, during some weekday event, when I heard from my mom that Jeff had run away from home. He was doing drugs, and he wasn’t speaking to anyone in the family. I honestly felt like instead of just running away from my Aunt’s house, he had run away from me. I felt like he personally abandoned me. I felt, for the first time that I can remember, rejected.

I’ve spent many years fighting a ‘rejection’ lie. That I’m not enough, that when someone says or does a certain thing that they are rejecting me. And for a long time, I believed the root of this rejection to be from a high school boyfriend. I had an incredible father and I could never recall an instance that he, or my mom really, ever brought about a feeling of rejection in my life. My earliest memory of rejection was that boyfriend. Until just a few days ago, when I received a Facebook message from Jeff. Apparently he’d been in jail the last few months so he messaged me when he got out to congratulate me on getting married. I felt a little angry when he messaged me and I couldn’t figure out why. And then I started thinking about your first love. And I put all the pieces together.

I’m certain Jeff has no idea the effect that his life choices had on me. I’m not sure any of my family realizes how his choices broke my heart. I doubt I’ll ever tell them. What’s important is not the hurt, but the growth that came from the brokenness.

This is what I know about first loves: your first is not your last, and forgiveness will let you tell the story.

Cry me a river.

13. What always brings tears to your eyes?

I gotta say, I’m not a crier. It takes a lot to get me to cry. Unless I’m PMSing, then I cry at like everything, so let’s not count that, k.

  1. The end of Return of the King.

    Are you kidding me? I can’t handle Sam’s face. Frodo’s strength. So by “brings tears to your eyes” this one for me is more like “sobs like a child”

  2. The music that goes with THAT part of the movie. (Seriously, I just listened to it and thought I could get through it. I can’t.) Listen to it, I dare you. It’s called “The Grey Havens.” Oh you didn’t cry? Monster.
  3. Also this part of Fellowship of the King…

ba170cd90108e0cfb944866960774d5e.jpg

4. “Always.”

5. The last few pages of Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. Also all the movie trailers for it.

6. The death scene of Romeo and Juliet. (Reading mostly, but sometimes watching one of the movie versions.)

7. My wedding vows.
Allen&Liz-206.JPG

8. Other people’s wedding vows. -Seriously, I am a MESS at other people’s weddings.

I might edit this as I think of things… but 8 it is.. Don’t judge me, y’all.

 

Nothing. Everything.

12. Name what is enough for you

I chewed on this for a long time because I kept coming up with an answer that isn’t pretty. I guess I thought if I thought for long enough and avoided this prompt for long enough I wouldn’t have to share the real, raw, ugly truth of my answer. Answering this requires a lot of vulnerability from me, because you might not like the answer. But I’m going to Dare Greatly and tell you the truth:

Nothing.

Nothing is enough for me.

And that is a problem.

I am not enough for me. No amount of sunshine or coffee is enough for me. No amount of ice cream or pizza or steak or potatoes. There are not enough hours in a day. There is not enough time with my friends. There is not enough time with my husband. There was not enough effort on my part. There was not enough emotion in that text or thought in the other one. The project wasn’t done well enough. There weren’t enough people there. The colors aren’t bright enough. Nothing. Nothing is enough.

And this is so scary for me to say because what if someone I love reads this and thinks, “Am I not enough for Liz?” because the answer is YOU ARE ENOUGH! Really- I almost wrote this on how other people, about how YOU, are enough for me. Because I would never tell someone they aren’t enough. I have no trouble seeing other people and their ‘enough’-ness. But I cannot see my own. And the way I see the world, except for other people, there is never enough.

But I wanted to write this, because it’s something I am working through. And have been for a long time.

I have a lot of journals. I’ve been keeping a diary in some form since 1st grade. It started with a little Hello, Kitty journal from 1996, but I got more serious in 3rd grade. Like- “Dear Diary” and I wrote down everything and I journaled through elementary, middle, and high school. I journaled through the start of college but it turned into “prayer journals” when I was a freshman at some point. I was on a women’s retreat with my mom and the speaker during her first session had us trace our hand on the paper and write “I am enough” in the middle of the palm. I did not believe that at the time at all. Not one tiny little sliver of belief. What a journey those three words started. I eventually discovered that who I am is enough, which is a much longer story, so it’s at my core, but somehow Not Enough still silently dictates almost every aspect of my life.

A perfectionist to my core, ENOUGH, is a scary word. It has an air of finality. It implies completion and DONE. It implies that no more or no less is needed. And it a way, that is scary to me. Enough is the opposite of scarcity. The book I’m reading, Daring Greatly, talks about this at length. That we have a culture of “never enough” and scarcity and fear, and the solution is believing we are enough. That’s it. We just have to believe.

One of my favorite snippets of dialogue goes like this:
Alice: “This is impossible.”
Mad Hatter: “Only if you believe it is.”

I mention that because I know, that I know, that I know that if I believe in the core of who I am that I am enough, then that is it, I will be enough. If I believe that what I have in my hands, what I see with my eyes, the time I am given, the amount of sunshine in a day, the coffee in the cup I have, if I believe all that is enough, then it will be enough. I can overcome the ‘never-good-enoughs’ I hear all day long.

But oh gosh it is so easy to cling to the security blanket of Never-Enough. It’s safe to complain and still attempt perfection. It is not healthy, but it’s all I’ve known. And I know it’s not okay. And I know it’s not what God wants for me. It’s not what I want for me. I want enough. I want to believe every day, all day that I am enough, that this day is enough, that it is all ENOUGH. God says I am enough. And in the very depths of me, I believe that and I stand on that. But I am not very good at living it out.

I want my answer to be EVERYTHING. Everything is enough! But I’m not there yet.

 

 

Hey, it’s me.

11. If I could talk to my teenage self, I would say…

Dear Liz,

It’s me, Liz. 27 year old me. I know you thought by this time we would be much skinnier and have long flowy hair that was always perfectly curled and be married for at least 4 years at this point and possibly have a kid. You know? Those things we thought were the best parts of being 27. I’ve only been 27 for a couple of months, but so far so good! Just maybe different than what we imagined at the age you’re reading this. I don’t want to spoil anything, although I know how much you wish you knew ‘the ending’ – I still wish I knew that. But I have a few things I do want to say that won’t spoil any of the great adventures you’re coming up to.

He’s coming. Not when you want him to, and he won’t be what you expect. But you won’t spend your life alone. I promise you’ll get married and one day a man will look at you the way you’re dreaming of. In the mean time, please chill out with trying to win the affection of every guy who looks at you. You’re going to look back on this part of your life and I know you’ll be deeply ashamed. Just spend more time with your friends and read a few more books.

Be nicer to Mom and Dad. I wish you understood what I do now, people are a product of their environment. Sure, we can change and grow and be different in time, but Mom & Dad are raising you the best way they know how. They’re making decisions they believe will keep you safe, healthy, and happy. And that’s what they want for you- to be happy. They are not great with their emotions, don’t expect them to be lovey and touchy like other parents, and don’t expect them to be like the parents in the books you read about. Accept them as they are. And stop yelling at them and getting angry at them. I get it, emotions and hormones. But try being honest, telling them how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. Productive, mature conversations would benefit everyone in the house.

Paying bills is hard. It’s also expensive. Being an adult is expensive. Being an adult with kids is expensive. Cut Mom & Dad some slack about the money thing. They’re probably stressed to tears with it, and you’re being a snot. Work some extra hours and be grateful that you live above the poverty line.

Stop making fun of Danny and Michael. Michael isn’t his boyfriend. And later you’ll regret teasing him about that.

Be nicer to Madison. She’s a lot sweeter than she is annoying.

Please eat healthier. I know you love crunchy, salty snacks- we still do- but losing weight at your age is much easier than mine. I wish now that I had started eating healthier at your age, so please, do us a favor and pick up a salad.

Good friends are really hard to find and keep. I know you know that by now. That problem doesn’t go away when you get to be this age. But I promise when you find the good ones, they’re really good. And no, there isn’t anything wrong with you that they don’t want to be your friend. They just suck. Girls your age suck. Just keeping being you and doing you and you’ll get some really amazing friends along the way. I promise.

Last thought – learn some self love. This is a battle that took so long for us. We still struggle with it, but it’s easier now. Just be kind to yourself, don’t talk to us so negatively or harshly. Just practice being kind to others, and yourself. We’ll be glad you started when you did.

Best of luck,
Me

What had happened was…

10. Discuss something you planned that ended up not being what you expected

My life.

I really wanted the post to just be those two words, but I guess that’s not really a discussion and I’ve had 27 years of things I’ve planned not quite turning out, so I guess I’ll just pick one. Mostly the biggest thing in my life: Marriage.

Plan: Find a guy in college, get engaged by our senior year or the end of… married at 23.
What actually happened: Find a guy in college, get my heart stomped on. Single from age 22 until 26. Go on a couple of eHarmony dates. The 3rd guy I met on eHarmony ends up being my husband. Get married at 26.

But let me break that down a little more….

Plan: Meet someone “the normal way” – blind date by a mutual friend, a random encounter at a store, through friends at a party we’re both at, a friend’s wedding, etc…
What actually happened: Take parents suggestion/offer to sign up for eHarmony after being super offended and kind of feeling like a loser setting up my profile. Go on a date. Go on a second date with the same guy. Never want to talk to him again because although he is nice, you can tell there’s no chemistry and he’s kind of annoying. Silence and disappointment for a few months. Go on another date with a guy who talks about himself the whole time and then at the end says, “let’s do this again” and since you’re nice you say to yourself, “yeah! everyone deserves a second chance!” and then never hear from him again. More silence and a lot more disappointment which turns into anger at the site. Get automatically renewed because you didn’t realize your subscription was ending. Cuss and scream at eHarmony people until they give you your money back. When they only give you half your money back and tell you that you have three months left, swear not to use the program because you hate them. Use it anyway because oh well it was paid for. One month before it expires, a cute police officer messages you.

Plan: Message with him until he gets bored with you because that’s what happened with a bunch of other guys.
What actually happened: We messaged a lot and made it through each messaging step and he still didn’t stop messaging me. Then he asked me for coffee.

Plan: We meet at a hip local coffee shop, but he realizes I’m ugly or weird and decides not to ask me out again. Have to wait in between dates for him to ask to see me again.
What actually happened: We meet at a Dunkin Doughnuts and talk for almost 3 hours and it turns out he is super cute and I’m really excited to see him again, and we planned our second date before our first one ends.

Plan: Go on a second date and realize this just isn’t working.
What actually happened: The second date was fun, even though he told weird police officer stories about decaying bodies and he kicked your ass at putt putt, which you are not good at AT ALL, and you eventually stop keeping score cause it’s embarrassing and then you go out for wings and he doesn’t even care that you look like a weirdo when you eat wings and you find out later that he had no idea that eating wings was a terrible date idea. But he hugs you awkwardly and tells you he wants to see you again, and you can’t wait either.

Plan: You stop planning for the third date and keep an open mind cause clearly this is not going how you thought it was so you give it a damn rest for once.
What actually happened: You realize this could be something kind of serious. Also he tries to kiss you but your PLAN is to wait until you are married or engaged. He doesn’t know that.

Plan: Just let things take their course, but expect to be his girlfriend in another 2 months or so. Also don’t let him kiss you until engagement…. if it’s going there…
What actually happened: You cannot resist his adorable face and attempts to make out with you, so 1 month after your first date, you kiss his adorable face. 2 weeks later he asks you to be his girlfriend.

Plan: Talk about maybe getting engaged in December.
What actually happened: Buy a ring a month after you become bf/gf. Get engaged a month after that. Get married in December.

SO! Moral of the story kids…. make all the plans you want. Just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t go your way. My only thought on this… I’m so glad it turned out the way it did. I love my love story, and it’s much better than all the things I planned!

The Direction of Your Feet

9. Your favorite moment of the day and your least favorite moment of the day.

My favorite moment of the day and my least favorite moment of the day happened to be the same moment, differentiated only by the direction of my feet, the position of the sun, and the numbers on the clock.

Some days, I do neither of these in which case, I could always come up with a new high and low. But most days, I do these things and they are the best and the worst. Not that the things in between these two moments are less, or not enough, or terrible. Often, the moments in between these two are delightful, and fun, and full of people I love. Many days, the in between is frustrating and makes me extra glad for my favorite moment. But I can appreciate something that makes me grateful for another thing. I’m not always alone in my favorite and least favorite moment. And being alone certainly makes the worst moment worse, but it doesn’t make it better.

But I am an introvert and home is home. So leaving is the worst and arriving is the best. Feet pointed out is my least favorite moment, and feet pointed in is my very favorite.

Home means Allen.
Leaving (usually) means he is staying and I am going.
Home means quiet.
Leaving means traffic and jam packed cars on tiny streets or busy highways.
Home means I can read.
Leaving means rain or snow or too hot or too cold.
Home is just right.
Leaving means people who might judge me or say a mean thing.
Home means acceptance.
Leaving also means friends and new experiences and fun places.
But home always means comforts: my pillow & my favorite blanket.
Leaving means new sights and smells.
Home means familiarity.
Leaving means crowds.
Home means home.

That one time…

8. Discuss a spontaneous moment in your life that turned out to be fantastic.

I am not a spontaneous person. Seriously. Spontaneity to me is stopping for doughnuts on the way to work without thinking about it except the 30 seconds before I pull into the parking lot.

So for my 25th birthday, when my friend Steve said “what do you want to do?” and I said, “I don’t know all my friends are in Alabama.” He said, “Let’s go to Alabama.”

He said this on a Wednesday. My birthday was on Saturday. I had to be back at work in Delaware on Sunday at 8:00am. There was no way. There was no time to plan. It was 17 hours one way. I have to work Friday. I could take off. I did take off. So we left Thursday night. and drove all night. and we arrived Friday morning. And left Saturday afternoon. It was the most insane, unplanned, last minute thing ever.

Except for the time I got a tattoo. But that’s another story. For a different day.

I don’t remember much of the drive, but I don’t think you could have put 3 more different personalities together. Steve liked to listen to K-pop. Or was it J-pop? Korean pop music. Japanese pop music. I don’t know, it’s all the same. And it’s horrible and weird. Christian likes Electronic Dance Music. I like indie/folk type music. Not to mention our personalities. So for the most part, the car rides are one big blur to me. That was probably not the ‘fantastic’ part of the story.

But I got to spend my 25th birthday with so many people that I loved. I had been living in Delaware for 9 months and I was terribly home sick. I still hadn’t made a ton of friends, and I was actually really sure that my birthday was going to a lonely day. And it wasn’t. It was surrounded by people I love in my old apartment. We took a million pictures.

And you know what? On Sunday, at work, I was so dead. But it was so so worth it. Super spontaneous = super fantastic.

Would I do it again? If I really thought hard about it, no. Who wants to spend almost 40 hours of almost 72 in a car? No amount of shifting gets you the perfect position to sleep in a car. No amount of caffeine can make up for the sleep loss that comes with an epic road trip like that.

But do I love the memory? Yes. I can never be grateful enough for Steve and Christian for going out of their way to make my birthday memorable that year by doing that crazy, stupid, uncomfortable trip just so I could have a great birthday. I had friends who went out of their way to be in Birmingham to see me. People who were around that changed their day around to come see me and hug me and wish me happy birthday. It was a fantastic trip because of the people.

Blind Believing

7. Something that shook your belief system to the core (a big disappointment in your life). 

I’m diving right in.

I won’t be writing about a disappointment, but I do remember a moment, just a tiny moment of my life that was actually enormous. It was a conversation, a comment, really, but I walked away shell-shocked. And the more I digested the conversation, the more I was changed by it. The things I chewed up and digested my whole life were suddenly under a bright light in a small room being investigated by the realization that I had blindly believed what I had been taught by others.

I was in my first year of Highlands College and I was in a car with a couple people. And for some reason they were talking about how they had baptized someone. And I said to my peer, “I thought only ministers/pastors could baptize someone.” And he asked, “Where is that in scripture?” And I realized I didn’t have an answer. I just replied that in the Methodist church, you had to be a minister to do that. If I replied at all. I don’t remember too much, but I remember how shocked I was. I remember realizing that I had accepted everything I believed to that point.

And it shook me. I was raised in the Methodist church. I went to the same church from the age of 4 to 18. And I retained a good bit of what I was taught. A lot of tradition and a lot of “do’s” and “do not’s” – and it was just the way I understood church and the Bible. And I never thought to look into it, or decide if I agree or disagree. The belief system I took as my own was officially challenged.

This conversation, this moment, it changed me. I started researching things about communion and baptisms, I expanded my Bible reading to commentaries and listened to more sermons. I stopped “taking people’s word for it” and discovered God’s word on my own. I prayed and asked God what he meant by this thing or that sentence. I discovered what the Bible said about things clearly, and what it left unclear and why it was unclear. I started to see that the reason the Methodist church did things the way it did is because people decided it needed to be done that way. I let it sink in that church denominations were created by man and that God’s word is infallible and people sometimes get it wrong. Or they get it weird. Or they just get it in a way that I don’t agree with.

This is the moment that I stopped identifying myself by what KIND of church I went to, and just decided to tell people that I love Jesus and who cares what kind of church I do or don’t attend? Those traditions or lack thereof don’t define me.

And there are still many things that I don’t know or don’t understand about the Bible, but I no longer blind-believe.

Alyssa.

6. Write about your best friend (not significant other) and what makes them special.

I do not have a sparkling history with female friendships. Most of them have disintegrated over time, some of them had abrupt endings I wasn’t ready for, one ended in basically every girls nightmare, but mostly they’ve just quietly faded like jeans that have been washed many times.

At this point in my life, I only have so much energy to invest in friendships anyway. I feel like I have a core group of ladies, all over the U.S. really, that I would consider my closest friends. ‘Best’ implies one, but I really have at least 4 or 5 ‘best’ friends, so that’s kind of my middle finger to the English language and I don’t care. For the focus of this blog, Alyssa is my best friend.

There are roughly 8 people that I can truly be myself with. 4 of those are immediate family. 1 is my husband. 1 is Alyssa. [The others are irrelevant for this post.] I do not filter my thoughts or feelings when I talk to Alyssa. I’m never embarrassed by my words or actions or questions or thoughts when I share with her. I am truly my 100% unfiltered self with her. I don’t feel a need to please, and I’m not worried I’ll disappoint her. I don’t wonder if she’s judging me (usually she tells me if she is) or if she’ll hate me if I do a certain thing, and I don’t usually have to explain myself to her because she gets me.

That, among all the things that make her special, is what makes her the most special. Because I believe that this isn’t just true for me and our friendship, but for all people who know and are close to Alyssa. In her presence, we’ve found someone we can be our true selves with. Our conversations with her are raw and filled with the awkward beauty that only shows itself when a person can share all the things hiding in the cracks of our souls. Something about Alyssa beckons you to pour out the things you stuffed inside those cracks, and without judgment, she listens. And then she accepts you. For exactly who you are in the moment that you are. I know so few people who, when you’ve put yourself on the line, she takes it and says, “you are enough.” I have gone most of my life believing I was not enough, particularly in my female friendships. But I have never felt less with Alyssa, nor has she ever done anything to make me feel less.

I have more to write, because although that is my #1 reason Alyssa is one of my favorite people alive today, it is not my only reason.

This sentence will never truly capture how intensely I mean this, but Alyssa is thoughtful. Which is the most understated sentence on this blog. Tangible examples? The presents she buys/makes for people. A gift should say, “I understand you and everything you are” and all the gifts she’s given to others and the ones I receive they are just that. It honestly floors me, because I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone who understands her ‘people’ the way she does. One of a kind is another giant understatement.

Alyssa is honest. And honesty is all I ask of people. Seriously. I learned a long time ago it is THE thing for me. It’s a deal breaker in a relationship. Dishonesty boils my blood. So Alyssa’s blunt honesty is one of my favorite things about her. I can always count on her to give it to me straight, even, and especially if it’s something I don’t want to hear. Again, she’s like that with the people she loves. She’s strikingly honest and says what needs to be said to the people who need to hear it.

Alyssa is funny and a joy to be around. You might be like, okay yeah but there are a lot of people who are funny and a joy to be around. But Alyssa has my kind of humor. Her sarcasm is top of the line, her wit is off the charts, and I often want to screen shot our banter texting and show the world that we’re basically Fey and Poehler but not as famous. Yet. To say that Alyssa “gets me” is cliche, but so true. I’m circling back around to my other point, sometimes my humor can be a little dark or extreme, but there’s no need to filter, because Alyssa comes back with the perfect response. Every. Time.

There are a million things I love about Alyssa.
But this is what makes her special.