Tag Archives: grace

second chances.

This week I had to write a blog for my job about the idea of forgiveness — namely the difficulty of forgiving ourselves — and, I think, when I wrote it I sounded like I knew what I was talking about.

Check it out and let me know what you think. I’ll wait.

Then this weekend happened and my husband and I got into a fight that started because I don’t know how to give myself a break. The biggest reason that sucks is because it put me into a funk too strong to break through to blog.

So today, on this quiet Sunday, I am grateful for second chances and for a husband whose memory is so bad that he only has to remember the most recent chance he gave me to get this wife thing right.

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when we make ourselves bleed.

It is Sunday and I don’t normally blog on Sundays but I foolishly downed a grande Starbucks iced latte this morning so I’ll be awake and vibrating until Tuesday so MIGHT AS WELL EXPEL SOME FINGER ENERGY, AM I RIGHT? (The piano is getting slaughtered as soon as I’m done with this.)

Failure and grace are on my heart today, because:

  • I just got done writing an apology letter to a mother in our congregation for our streaming platform being down this morning during her son’s baptism.
  • Dan had to apologize for not being the husband/father I needed him to be on Friday.
  • And a few days prior to that, I had to send an awkwardly phrased apology email to a mentor whose blessings on me I have not exactly honored.

There have been a lot of “I’m sorry”s floating around my head this week, thrown both at and from me. A lot of disappointments. A lot of failures.

It’s easy for me to forgive Dan because he’s so silly and wonderful. But my mentor forgave me (for probably the millionth time) and I’m crossing my fingers that this mother will also forgive me. However, even though the reality of their forgiveness is within my reach, I still find it hard to forgive myself.

Last night I went to dinner with some ladies from our church. My friend Kimberly told us a story of her son’s experience at a local water park. There is an area that has big, floating lily pads with a rope suspended above them. The idea is that you can jump from lily pad to lily pad and use the rope to help you across.

Kimberly’s son decided to make his way across by only hanging on to the rope and not touching down on any of the lily pads. When he got to the other side, his hands were blistered and bleeding.

“Why didn’t you stop when you were hurting?” she asked.

“Because I didn’t want to fail,” he said.

WHAT.

Whenever someone forgives me for wronging them, it’s like I look down on their grace like her son did those lily pads. I dismiss it and choose instead to cling to my shame as punishment — a thick, tough, splintery rope — and mentally beat myself up. In a sense, I make myself bleed because I’m so upset that I failed in the first place.

Is it failure, though? Is it?

To admit you need help? To admit you made a mistake? To step down on a lily pad? To apologize to someone and say, “I missed the mark and I’ll try to do better next time,” and to let their grace be enough? 

Perhaps when we find ourselves in pain we should stop, step down on a lily pad, and apologize instead of making ourselves bleed unnecessarily.

And then, we move on, more aware of the reality of love and grace and mercy and redemption than we are of the lies of shame and guilt.

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when it rains.

I know this can’t possibly be true but it really feels like it has rained nonstop since I moved to Naples.

dangnatureuscary

First, it was your regular ol’ summer-in-Florida situation in which the sky would turn a mean black around 2pm and then vigorously pour buckets for all of ten minutes before clearing back up.

Then, one day, it just kept raining.

And then a tropical storm rolled through.

And it kept raining.

Really put a — wait for it — damper on things around here. (I COULDN’T RESIST. I REGRET NOTHING.)

rain

Yesterday was one of those five-star parenting days in which I was operating on very little sleep and it was all I could do to not burst into tears and so, despite the tropical conditions outside, I took Dax out for a drive hoping the lull of the car and the sound of the rain would calm him.

I told you; five. star. parenting. (It worked, by the way.)

While I was waiting at a red light, enjoying the sound of my baby not crying, I tiredly stared through the windshield while the wipers swish-swished back and forth rapidly to clear away the cascade. My eyes fell upon that triangular space between the wipers that never gets wiped and I remembered analyzing that same spot as a child driving with my mom. I could hear my tiny voice in my head, whining: “Why can’t they make wipers that wipe the WHOLE windshield? There is so much left of the glass that has droplets all over it!”

(I’ve always been a perfectionist, I guess.)

As an adult, I looked at the glass differently. Instead of being upset that, all these years later, they still haven’t made wipers that actually wipe the whole windshield, I felt grateful for those wipers and their persistence. No matter how hard it rains, no matter how many drops (or buckets) fall, those wipers keep on keepin’ on, with no regard for how many drops have already previously fallen or how many will fall in the future. Swish-swish-swish-swish. Dry-not dry-dry-not-dry-dry. 

One of my last days in Tallahassee, I was out wedding dress shopping with my best friend. Toward the end of the trip, though, I got a frantic text from Dan asking me to come home as soon as possible to nurse a very cranky Dax. I headed home as fast as I could which evidently wasn’t legal because I got a speeding ticket.

I was so angry with myself because, I know better. During my twelve years of driving, I’ve gotten more than my fair share of speeding tickets and, until that moment, I had finally cleared all points from my license and was again deemed a “safe driver”. And one stupid misstep of speeding home cost me all that.

When I got home I yelled at Dan and yelled at myself, saying, “I’m just so sick of the fact that I’m such a crappy person.”

“You are not a crappy person,” he said, “you are just a person. Who does crappy things sometimes. Because you’re a person.”

“But I always do this!”

“Just because you’ve done bad things doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. You’re forgiven.”

It’s amazing to me how often this happens to me. I make some (relatively) minor mistake and I fall apart because it makes me think I am forever doomed to making mistakes and that I’ll always be bad and nothing can fix that.

It just keeps raining.

If you have the same issue I do — you seem to remember every dumb thing you do and beat yourself up every time you do another dumb thing — just remember the windshield wipers.

What.

Forgive yourself as persistently as my wipers clear away the rain. Forget the drops from the past, don’t anticipate more drops in the future. Just wipe them away as they come, just as fast as you can, so you can see what goodness lies ahead.

Because if I was still angry about all the rain that has fallen in Naples over the past three weeks, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy myself right now, sitting outside at a Starbucks, warming in the sunshine with the dry sidewalk beneath my sandaled feet.

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things i love thursday! (may 30, 2013)

Happy Thursday, friends! Time to scribble down your list of gratitude. Here’s mine!

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THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • A day out to myself.
  • ICED lattes. (Can’t play around with no hot lattes in SO FLA.)
  • Retail therapy at THE BODY SHOP.
  • Body scrubs, body butters, and a clearer face.
  • Making chores barters with my husband.
  • Leaving the screen porch open for the kitties.
  • The way Romeo curls up on his new scratch pad.
  • Cuddles with my baby boy.
  • ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT!
  • A familiar worship set.
  • Going out to lunch with new friends.
  • Memorial Day.
  • Introducing Dax to the pool for the first time.
  • Dax’s reaction to the pool. (See my darling above.)
  • Toting the kiddo along to staff meeting.
  • Cafeteria food and smiley fries.
  • Clean eating!
  • Fresh, locally grown, organic oranges! So delish!
  • Trying out new recipes (zucchini fries?!) for the little one.
  • Singing along to kids’ shows on PBS.
  • Going on adventures with my little man.
  • Old school throw back photos from high school! Thanks Scho!
  • Sunsets.
  • The way my kid looks when he’s trying to feed himself. (Hasn’t quite figured it out yet.)
  • My family.

What do you love this week?

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things i love thursday! (may 9, 2013)

Dan and I have been enjoying a “staycation” of sorts. We haven’t moved to Naples or started our new jobs yet, but our jobs here in Tallahassee ended at the end of April.

It’s perpetually Saturday for us!

We’ve been enjoying this downtime before our big move and life overhaul. Here’s how.

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THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE RECENTLY:

  • I dare you to look at that picture of my baby holding a flower and not smile. I DARE you.
  • Fun photo shoots with Zack and Sammie.
  • Quiet lunches with friends and their babies.
  • Watching Dax eat and enjoy lemons and limes.
  • Waking up to the sounds of my baby talking instead of an alarm.
  • Dax crawls now!
  • He also pulls up and can sort of “walk” when guided. TIME SLOW DOWN OKAY.
  • The dang Publix Mother’s Day commercial.
  • Trying to navigate life as a work-from-home mom.
  • Girls’ night harassing Lane at his new job.
  • Spontaneous dinner dates with close friends.
  • Text message encouragement.
  • The giant smile my boy gives me when I walk into his room after he’s woken up from a nap.
  • Oh — he also WHISPERS now.
  • Treating myself to a sushi lunch.
  • Pedicures and a silly Starbucks run in with Syd.
  • She also painted a picture of me! Crazy!
  • Having a raw, gritty, authentic coffee date with Sarah.
  • Rori and her being an “angry black woman”.
  • New Girl and The Mindy Project.
  • Dax’s first trip to the Florida Natural History Museum with Libby!
  • Libby and Rori having Twitter. Finally.
  • Iron Man 3 and Robert Downey, Jr.
  • Okay, and Gwyneth Paltrow, too.
  • Steak and wine.
  • Date night!
  • Hanson’s new single and their upcoming new album. (SQUEEEEEE.)
  • When good friends just stop by.
  • Journaling with good pens and without lines.
  • Mole-Es-KEEN-eh.
  • There is evidently an Ultimate League in NAPLES! YAY! My new best friends!
  • Making the cats chase our laser pointer.
  • Making our kid chase our laser pointer.
  • Life in general.

What do you love this week?

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i am jonah.

If you’re like me and you grew up reading and listening to stories in the bible, you’re probably aware of the story of Jonah. And by “aware of” I mean you know that it vaguely involves a dude named Jonah and some giant fish-whale-thing that eats him for a couple days then spits him out and God is praised or whatever.

On the surface of this short, four-chapter book in the bible, that is essentially what happens. But there is so much more to the story than that.

In a bible study I’m doing with a couple friends, we recently read it in its entirety, our Sunday-school understandings notwithstanding.

For all of you who grew up understanding Jonah like I did, and for all of you who have no idea who/what Jonah is, Here’s the New Lindsay Translation of the book of Jonah in the bible:

God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh, a place that’s filled with all sorts of debauchery and horror, to tell the people there something like, “Hey! You! Stop being jerks because God is real and it’s, like, annoying!” But Jonah’s all, “No, God, not me, I don’t want to do that. That sounds scary. I’m going to run away instead.” So he goes and jumps on this boat with a bunch of people and is all, “SAYONARA SUCKAAAA” but God’s all, “Not so fast, Jonah, I’m God and I can still see you.” So God causes a huge storm to happen, and the people on the boat are like, “Dude, who pissed off their god and made this happen?” So Jonah’s like, “Oops, my bad, that was me, y’all. Just throw me overboard and the storm will stop.” So they do. And it does. So the people immediately begin to praise God. But after Jonah gets tossed overboard a huge fish is like, “NOM” and swallows Jonah. Jonah hangs out in there, not exactly knowing what God’s plan is or what he wants, but he prays and praises God anyway. Finally, God gets the fish to upchuck Jonah and so Jonah’s like, “FIIIINE GOD OKAY I’ll go to Nineveh.” So he does. And he tells the people that they should, like, rethink their life choices and stuff. And they actually hear him and listen. And they mourn. And they repent. And God forgives them and saves them. But then Jonah pouts because he doesn’t believe the people of Nineveh deserve forgiveness. But God gently tells Jonah that he knows those people and loves them and that he wants to keep them. 

After reading this story, it became clear that Jonah is actually a big brat. Also, I realized that I am Jonah. 

jonah

In recent months, my husband and I have done a lot of praying and talking about our current financial situation and the care our baby boy gets as a result. It’s lackluster, to say the least, and something had to change. Finally, after a lot of prayer and consideration, we both agreed that what was best for our family (our son, in particular, and his future siblings) is for us to move to central Florida to be closer to my family.

And I am sad about this. Very heartbroken.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and am so excited to be closer to them. But I have created a life here in the last nine years that is going to be so hard to leave behind. (My TILT list from last week probably makes more sense now.)

But here’s the crazy part — our lease is up April 30th. Neither of us have jobs lined up. If we don’t get jobs in central Florida by the time our lease is up, we’ll just move in with my mom until something materializes.

Yep. That’s right. We quit our jobs in an economy that is, um, less than stable. And we have a little mouth to feed. Everything about this just screams, “WHY IN THE F-WORD WOULD YOU DO THIS?”

I don’t know. It’s just what people with faith do, I guess.

And here’s how I’m Jonah. Without getting too spiritual, I know God is calling us to go. That is undeniable. But I don’t want to. I’d much rather scoop my husband and baby up and run away to find the nearest boat out of this place and hope God doesn’t see.

After coming to the realization that I am Jonah and, therefore, a big brat, I spent a couple days moping about it. I was mad at myself for doubting God and for throwing random tantrums whenever my husband tried to get me to have logistical conversations about our upcoming upheaval. (“I DON’T KNOW IF WE SHOULD SELL ONE OF OUR CARS TO HAVE MONEY TO MOVE OKAY WHERE’S THE BOOZE I JUST CAN’T DO THIS SOB SOB SOB.”)

Not my finest hour for sure.

But now, as the news of our departure is public, I am starting to look for the redemption in my story. Just like Jonah was redeemed.

Even though Jonah ran away, the sailors on that boat came to know God as a result. And even though Jonah went to Nineveh unwillingly, he still helped to save a nation of people.

There is a lot of hurt in this move, for sure. Hurt for us because we’re leaving, and hurt for the ones who we are leaving. But there will be light and redemption, too. Even if we don’t see it now.

I’m excited to look back on this in a few months and be able to point to all the ways we were blessed by this. I anxiously await the clarity that will come once this big-ass bandaid is finally ripped off.

But until then, sorry if I smell a little weird. I’m currently sitting in the belly of a giant fish. I don’t know when I’ll be spit out or where I’ll land. But I know that, during this time, I will praise. I will pray. I will trust.

Here’s your chance to throw all your central Florida connections at me.

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things i love thursday! (january 31, 2013)

Happy Thursday, friends! It’s the last day of the first month of 2013. We are 1/12 done with this year already. Wrap your brain around THAT mess. Anyhooooo…

Look! He’s so cute!

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THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • The #overcomethelie Twitter party last night. We had so many participants spreading the truth about self-love. It was amazing! We ended the night trending at #4. Incredible.
  • Lionhart. I’ve been doing volunteer work for this organization for a while now and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about the things happening there. It’s amazing. Check it out here and spread the courage around!
  • Amazing and encouraging lunch meetings with friends and mentors.
  • Talking music, art, and the like.
  • Expanding my culinary expertise by way of pureeing my son’s baby food myself. (See also: humility.)
  • Watching good friends play live music.
  • Dax’s new “go-to” face. Not sure why he’s really into chewing on his bottom lip right now but it’s tres adorbs.
  • Reading lots and lots of books.
  • Tickle fights and laughter with my husband.
  • “Sesame Street” on Netflix. (YEAH I KNOW American Pediatrics Association, no screen time until Dax is two but can’t we please make an exception for Elmo?!)
  • Also football? I mean the SUPER BOWL is this weekend, you guys…
  • Emails from good friends with the phrase “TMI” in the subject line.
  • New babies! ACK!
  • Pretending to be a stay-at-home mom.
  • Ministry over coffee — both from me and TO me.
  • Nerding out over fonts.
  • My best friend.
  • My family.
  • My town.

What do YOU love this week?

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the worst lie i was ever made to believe.

“You’re so lucky you’re with me. No one else would ever put up with you.”

My high school boyfriend’s squinted green eyes were pointedly affixed on my sunken face when he said that. I burst into tears and lowered my head to the ground while I sobbed because, in my shame, I believed he was right.

He uttered the same message to me every day for two and a half years. Maybe not in the same words. Maybe not even with words at all. Maybe he’d just use his body to say those things. But, regardless, the message was clear.

Looking back at 15-year-old me who, for whatever sad, desperate reason, decided to give this guy a chance, I wish I could slap me. I must have been blind. This guy wasn’t attractive by any means. He was tall and awkwardly lanky, with unruly reddish-brown hair that was usually styled with heaps of goopy Pomade into some horrendous version of a mohawk. He had braces that held together a cluster of visibly decaying teeth and the gauges in his ears reeked so bad I couldn’t get close to him without wanting to vomit.

But he had a voice in my life. A voice that lied to me. A terribly influential voice that penetrated through to my malleable core.

I felt so trapped in that volatile relationship. I wanted so badly to leave, but I feared that, were I to muster up the courage to finally break free, I’d first get the snot beat out of me and then, ultimately, be alone forever. That’s what he made me believe — that I was unworthy of love and that he was doing me a favor by being with and abusing me daily. How noble.

I never actually broke up with him. He ended up breaking up with me because he slept with one of my friends (which was probably the best thing to ever happen to me, for real). And though the ties to him were severed, the emotional damage was done.

The lie he told me made its home within my fragile heart, a cancer that would eventually spread throughout the entirety of my spirit. It wasn’t until a year into my marriage that I learned that the lie I’d been told so long ago wasn’t true.

Every morning when I roll over and see my husband I am reminded that I am worthy of love. 

Every time my son reaches out to me begging to be nursed, I am reminded that I am needed. 

Every time my eyes fall upon Mark 1:11, I am reminded that I am God’s beloved, in whom He finds great joy.

These are truth. These are reality. 

These are the lifelines to which I hold tight, despite the atrocities of my past. These are the truths that have helped me overcome this lie. 

What lie do you need to overcome? Join us TONIGHT at 8PM Eastern for our Twitter party to celebrate the truth! You are loved. You are important. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Here’s a link for more information.

You can overcome the lie

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to be known and, yet, loved.

I think it’s safe to say that there are few things in life we want more than to be totally known and still loved at the same time. If you were to break down each and every insecurity I have to its bare bones, you’d probably find this deep-seated desire.

To be known and, yet, loved.

This blog has been the vehicle by which I achieve self-love. By being honest and vulnerable in my writing, I’ve learned how to look myself in the mirror — through my reflection as well as at it — and be fully delighted in the image before me. (Well, for the most part. We never really arrive, do we?)

But, as far as letting other people love me, I’m not entirely sure I’m there yet. I still seek it. I still crave it. I still wish to, whether it be romantically, familially, or relationally, be surrounded by a small, yet fierce group of individuals who know every deep, dark, twisted ingredient to my soul and still find me worthy of love. However, despite this burning passion (which, as I learned recently, comes from a Greek word that actually appropriately means “willingness to suffer”) to be known and loved, I still find myself holding back out of fear.

I’m just so scared to let many people get close enough.

They get kind of close, I guess. Pretty close, even. But not that close. Not close enough to “smell my farts”, if you will. (Confused? Refer back to this post.)

I lamented over this desire to a friend over lunch last week. As I clumsily poked at my thai noodle soup with my cheap, splintery chopsticks, swirling the chives and roasted duck in a deep brown broth, I breathed my fear into the steam rising from the bowl.

“I’m just so worried I’ll get found out, you know?”

And there it is.

You begin a relationship with someone and, at first, everything is perfect. Everything is coming up roses, as they say. But, as time passes, you get “found out” — the roses begin to wilt and droop, leaving behind a soggy soil of past regrets, hurts, and insecurities. That can be scary. It is, at least, for me.

“When I first met you, I knew you were a hot mess,” my friend replied.

Well, okay but tell me how you really feel?

“But that’s not you anymore,” he clarified. “And those who really know you know that.”

A statement almost as comforting as thai noodle soup. Almost.

The story isn’t over when the roses wilt. If the soil is still there — albeit quite messy — beautiful things, lovely things, can still spring from it.

Allowing someone to get close enough to you to bend down and work their fingers through your dirty soil also allows them to plant seeds of life — beautiful words of encouragement, trust, and, yes, even love can foster the growth of a gorgeous garden of a real life worth loving. A real relationship with a real person worth celebrating.

The ability to be known and, even still, adored.

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running is tiring. running from yourself is exhausting.

Happy holidays, y’all! I had quite the lovely vacation, though most of it was spent sick in bed. All I can say is that I’m so grateful that our little boy didn’t get what we had. It was a doozy of a cold. (Not the flu, thankfully, but a cold that definitely tried its damnedest to mimic the flu.)

After the Christmas Eve gatherings at church, the three of us piled into two cars and took the four-hour drive to my hometown to celebrate Dax’s first Christmas with my family. As was expected, Dax stole the show — my mom decorated her Christmas tree with only one “real” ornament (“grandbaby’s first Christmas”, of course) along with a sleighful (see what I did there?) of makeshift ornaments of teethers, rattles, and other such toys for him. There was also a truckload of toys under the tree for him, naturally. He was spoiled rotten on his first Christmas and I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Though Mom has, unfortunately, set a pretty lofty precedent for future grandchildren.)

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The day after Christmas, Dan drove back to Tallahassee for work, leaving Dax and me to navigate a few days of single parenthood in the familiar, yet unsettling arena that is my hometown.

DeLand, Florida — Daytona Beach’s dorkier, less popular, yet slightly prettier little sister.

Because I was sick, I didn’t do much venturing out in DeLand. But even when I did, I found myself rolling my eyes — as I tend to do — at the lack of culture, life, and overall substance of this town. As I always do, I lamented to myself over the ways DeLand will never change, as well as the ways it continues to evolve.

I am a brat, you see. Nothing pleases me in this place.

It’s not like DeLand is a bad city. It really isn’t. It’s a pretty decent place to raise a family, it’s extremely close to everything good the Sunshine State has to offer — beaches and theme parks, really — and it boasts a pretty adorable and historic downtown area. But I’ve never been able shake the reality that walking those streets gives me the heebie jeebies.

When it came time to apply for colleges, I had only one rule: anywhere but here. DeLand, for those of you who aren’t aware, is actually home to the very prestigious Stetson University. It’s also a hop, skip, and a jump from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. When I got my acceptance letter to UCF, I reluctantly resolved to allow myself to attend in the off chance I didn’t get accepted anywhere else.

When my acceptance letter from Florida State University, a campus happily nestled in the northern-most part of the state, came in the mail, that was it. My ticket outta there. After high school graduation, it was all I could do to wait until move in day at FSU to pack my 1993 Toyota Corolla with the essentials and spin out of DeLand like a bat out of hell.

Whenever I come back to Tallahassee after being in DeLand, my spirit settles back down. It’s as if I am returning “home” after being in exile. But that doesn’t make sense. I shouldn’t feel like I’m in a foreign land when I’m sleeping in the same house I grew up in. But I do.

The reasoning was unclear to me until I read this blog post by my friend Beth. At the end of it, I found myself slack-jawed. Did I write this post in my sleep? The way Beth feels about Ohio is how I feel about Tallahassee. But why? Tallahassee isn’t my “real” home. DeLand is.

The real reason I left DeLand in a cloud of dust isn’t because the city itself is bad. It’s because of what I experienced when I lived there and things about myself that seemed to only be avoided if I would just run away from them. Literally, in this case.

Broken relationships.

Abuse.

Heartache.

Rejection.

Pain.

Loss.

I experienced so many of these things — from an abusive boyfriend to an absentee father — in this otherwise quaint little town. And, at the naive age of 18, I thought that all of those things would be buried beneath the sands of time as long as I could just GTFO of there as quickly as possible. (Sorry, Mom, for the gratuitously profane acronym.)

But every time I go back, I realize those hurts are still very real. And, evidently, not completely scabbed over. And it is only by immersing myself within these familiar city limits that I can remember how badly I wanted to run away from it all. From myself.

If only it were that easy.

Tallahassee has become home to me, not because it’s more “cultured” (hold back your LOLs, Eric) or has more “life” in it. Truth be told, Tallahassee isn’t all that great. Sure, it has hills and canopy roads but it also has terrible traffic and sometimes it smells like farts.

Rather, Tallahassee has become home because it was here — in this modest state capital — where I learned that I have no reason to run anymore. I have nothing to hide anymore. I am broken, yes, and I am bruised. But those closest to me — the family I have gained here — know it. They know it all. Regardless, they also remind me on a daily basis that I am not the garbage I — and those who I surrounded myself with at the time — thought I was when I lived in DeLand.

As my ten year high school reunion swiftly approaches, I can only hope that I can confidently return with the realization that there is nothing to run from anymore. But until that day comes, I will wrestle with this idea of home and safety and hopefully learn a valuable lesson:

The faster and harder you run from yourself doesn’t get you any farther away. It only makes you that much more tired.

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