Can It Be Both?

This evening I posted a tweet that said “Friendship can either be a two way street or a dead end. You decide.” And I meant something very specific when I said this. Either friendship is a two way street with mutual appreciation, respect, communication, love, and everything else we think of with strong friendships or it is a dead end friendship which has no future and the only thing to do is cut it off and turn around.

Now when I posted this tweet I was thinking of friendship in a very black and white type of way. Like, it can be this or that and nothing else. But then a friend replied to my tweet and simply said “it can be both…” And as simple as those words were, they opened up new ideas in my head and sent my thoughts into a spiral.

And I realized, yes, friendships really can be both a two way street and a dead end. I really sat down and thought about how that would work and I’m not sure if this is what he meant, but this is what I got from that.

OK so look. I’m going to break it down.

Some two way streets seem to go on forever and those symbolize those strong friendships that last for a lifetime.

Then there are some streets that you can clearly tell from the beginning are dead ends and those are those friendships that end as quickly as they started. It just wasn’t meant to last from the start.

But there are also some streets that seem like they will last forever, but eventually end in a dead end. This can be representative of friendships that are productive for a while but eventually reach a dead end. Those friends who helped you grow and learn for a season in life but were not meant to last a lifetime. During that season of life it seems like the friendship will never end, but eventually you start to see the signs. The ones that say “Dead End Ahead”. And you start to realize it won’t last forever and you both slow down until you come to a complete stop. And that is the end.

Now with those type of friendships you have a few choices. You can ignore the sign and keep trying to move forward, at your own risk. You can stay at that dead end and lament, cry, wallow, and feel sorry about the lost friendship. Or you can appreciate the friendship for what it was, realize not everything is meant to last, turn around and seek new paths.

I would hope you choose to let go, turn around, and seek new paths. Because continuing down a dead end road can be dangerous. You put yourself in harms way when you ignore the sign and you may find yourself in situations you were never meant to be in.

If I’m being honest, I struggle to let go of friendships even when they reach the clear “dead end” point. When I reach a dead end in a friendship it hits me hard and I want to do anything I can to fix it. But from past experience I have seen how holding on to a dead friendship can be detrimental. It was very damaging to me as I tried to salvage something while the other person had moved on.

But if you need to sit at the dead end for a moment while you gather yourself, it’s ok. Eventually though, you will need to turn around and seek new paths.

Even with those dead end friendships, it is important to appreciate them for what they were. Appreciate the good times you had, the moments you shared, and the lessons you learned. Those friendships were beneficial to your journey even though you may not be able to see that for a while.

As they say: some people stick around forever, but some are only meant for a season in your life. And that is ok.

 

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What if I Choose to Love Myself?

For as long as I can remember, I have been in transition.

Working toward my goal weight. Working toward a certain clothing size. Working to break bad habits. Working to form better habits.

Working to be a better version of myself. Never satisfied with the current version.

Society often tells us that we shouldn’t be happy with ourselves unless we meet certain standards of perfection. So by default, anyone who doesn’t meet that standard should be profoundly unhappy and dissatisfied with life.

And that is why we are so shocked and taken aback when we see “imperfect” people speaking out about how they love themselves and are happy with who they are right now. We are so conditioned to work towards “perfection”,  so we can’t wrap our minds around the fact that someone can be truly happy in an “imperfect” state.

But, what if I choose to love myself? I mean, really just love myself for who I am at this moment, in my imperfect state.

What if I choose to love myself at this size? What if I choose to love myself enough to be content with the number on the scale? What if I choose to love every single curve on my body? Because yes, I am still not at my target weight, but I am proud of how far I’ve come.

What if I choose to love my hair every day, even when it doesn’t cooperate? What if I choose to love it right after I’ve washed it and it’s in short, tight ringlets around my head? What if I choose to love it when it’s not straight like everyone else’s?

What if I choose to love my bare face every single day? What if I choose to love my face even when I break out or get a huge pimple? What if I looked at my face every day and said “wow, I’m beautiful”?

What if I choose to love myself as a messy person? Because try as I might, I cannot keep my living space spotless 24-7. And even though I try my best to be neat and proper while I eat, I will inevitably spill or drop something on myself.

What if I choose to love myself with my less than perfect dancing skills? What if I stopped hiding on the sidelines and actually just let myself cut loose on the dance floor without caring about anyone watching me? Because as long as you’re confident people don’t really care what you do on the dance floor.

What if I choose to love myself as an emotionally empathetic person who feels everything deeply? What if I let more people see that side of me instead of continuing to keep people at arms length and acting like nothing can hurt me? Because there is strength in being a highly sensitive person and it’s ok to show others how much you care.

What if I choose to love myself as someone who sometimes gets attached to people too quickly? What if I saw that as a good thing instead of a weakness? Because, in a world that says it’s cool to be the one who cares less, it’s nice to stand out as someone who shows people that you value their place in your life.

What if I choose to love myself as someone who has various bad habits? What if I wasn’t so hard on myself all the time? Because I am human and I will mess up sometimes, but it’s not the end of the world when I do and it’s ok to cut myself some slack.

What if I realize that I am enough, I am whole, and I am worthy of love just the way I am right now, without any more improvements?

And, what if YOU choose to love yourself just the way you are? What if you look at yourself and choose to love the person you see? What if you take a break from your constant self improvement and decide to appreciate who you are at this moment?

How would that kind of love and acceptance of ourselves change the way we live our lives? How would such a blatant disregard for societal norms change the way we interact with ourselves as well as others?

To love oneself completely, at every point of life, is such a profoundly brave thing to do. It takes a lot of courage and determination to fight against the status quo of the world, but it’s so worth it.

So, while it’s ok to want to be better, I hope you will at least learn to love yourself now. Because you are already amazing.

 

Who Am I?

Today someone asked me who I am; he wanted me to describe myself so he could get to know me better, but I didn’t know what to say.

Who am I? Who is Hannah? How do I explain who I am to someone else in just a couple minutes? How can I distill and compress 22 years of life into a mere sound bite? Where do I begin? What parts are important and what do I leave out?

Maybe it was a rhetorical question but it really got me thinking: should I have something prepared and tucked away in the back of my mind for when I need to describe who I am to others?

But even deeper than that, am I truly who I describe myself to be? Does my perception of myself match who I am in reality? Maybe I think I’m better than I truly am in reality or maybe I underestimate myself.

Bottom line is, you can’t take what I say purely at face value. You have to get to know me to find out who I am. I can’t fully tell you who I am because inevitably there will be gaps in my narrative.

I will skim over a lot of things and boil my life down to a few main points: I will tell you about my family, my major, my class standing, my heritage, my immediate future plans, and a few of my best qualities. I will tell you that I love to laugh and have fun, I love people, and I love the Lord. The basics.

But I won’t tell you my bad habits, my weak points, my doubts, fears, or insecurities. I won’t tell you my struggles because I know when you ask who I am you want to hear the basics, the good stuff.

But as much as I wish I was just the good stuff, I know I am not.

I am also a girl with a temper, a girl whose words can hurt people, a girl with many fears, a girl who procrastinates too much, and a girl who may be too attached to food.

I’m the good and the not-so-good. That’s who I am. But you don’t learn all that from asking me the offhanded question “who is Hannah?” You learn that by spending time with me and over time the answer to that question will be revealed in a way more adequate than words alone.

So, who is Hannah? I’m not sure if I can properly answer that question, but stick around long enough and I guarantee you’ll figure it out.