New Things, Better Things (A Reprise): Words for When You're Stuck in the Past

But while I’ve tried to convince myself that I am looking forward, staring straight at the wide open interstate ahead, I spent so many months still sneaking peeks into the rearview mirror every few seconds, not quite accepting that the road behind me is, in fact, behind me.

But this story isn’t the whole of my story, only a minor plotline amongst the greater. Even so, ignoring it won’t erase it like the stroke of the delete key. It may be a minor plotline, but it is a plotline woven tight around the greater story of my life for several years now.

I can’t ignore it.

A Beginner's Guide to the Enneagram

Maybe you, like me, have become curious about the Enneagram because it is popping up everywhere in conversations and on your social media timeline. Maybe you know everything there is to know and have become quite fluent in Ennea-lingo (you even know that there are sub-types!). 

Maybe this is the first time you’re ever hearing about this weird test and you’ve spent the last four paragraphs trying to figure out how to even pronounce the word “Enneagram” (In-ee-a-gram, for the record).

No matter where you’re at, we can all use some guidelines when it comes to personality tests, because none of us are immune to over-identifying, self-shaming, and becoming a walking personality-test-fulfilling prophesy. So, without further ado, here are my dos and don’ts of Enneagram-ing. 

On Going to Graduate School At Your Alma Mater

Flash forward to a year and a half after undergrad graduation and now I’m back on campus to begin the first day of my Master’s program at Boston College: I am a little nervous because I have no idea if graduate school will be as fulfilling as my undergraduate career and that scares me.

I’m going back to a place where so many memories have already been made. I’m afraid of change and afraid of beginning this new journey without the people who made this place my home. I’m afraid that this new experience will be completely different than the original one.

TUESDAY TUNES: Songs for Pauses

These songs are for finding more of those moments of pause—when the routine halts and all that remains are slow dances in the kitchen, mugs of tea, your fresh-made bed after a weekend of travel. For rainstorms passing, for long days within short years, when time for once isn’t moving too fast. For the spaces where frenzy stops, feelings find home, and we  stop to take them in.

The Battle to Overcome Your Rejection

Rejection is an issue I’ve had to wrestle hard with over the last three years. Every time Rejection and I had to face off in the boxing arena, I would always end up slammed and pinned down. In boxing, you have ten seconds to get yourself up before the game is over. For me, it took months before I could even peel my head off the floor.

TUESDAY TUNES: Songs for Chore Night

Paying rent is hard, and I don’t remember dust collecting this quickly when I was a kid. But having a place to live and love and grow in—whether it’s a rented apartment, a long-term home, or a sublet in between—is a privilege that I don’t want to go unchecked. So if you’re with me, pour yourself a drink, cancel your plans, and crank the speakers.

It’s chores night and it’s gonna rock.

How to Respond to Someone Else's Grief

But this post isn't about my own grief. It's not about the tears I've cried, or the questions I've asked. It’s not about my own days where getting out of bed felt too hard.

It's about a different side of the fight. It's about your mom's grief when she loses her college roommate. And your best friend after she has a miscarriage. It’s about all the people you encounter, telling you about their grief.

So Lonely I Could Die: What I Have Learned About Loneliness

The night it happens I’m alone. Afternoon slides into darkness, a day gone without notice. I put on a rom-com. I paint my nails. I wait.

I’m jonesing for junk food, so I walk up over the hill and get fries and a shake at the Park Street McDonald’s. On my way home through the Common, it starts to pour. My sandals take on water like a sponge. I squelch up to the third floor and towel off. The fries are cold and the milkshake is cloyingly sweet. I regret ever wanting them. I am still alone.

TUESDAY TUNES: Songs for the Optimist

My skin has purpled over the years, more so in this phase of life than ever. Every time I miss someone. Every time I’m disappointed, or a disappointment; every time I’m let down, or let someone down. Every time I work so hard to stand tall and instead get sent to the floor. Another scratch, another hit. And I peel myself off the ground and think, am I okay? Is this hurt all that’s left for me?

Wild and Brave: What A Solo Hike Taught Me About Smallness

Despite the map’s ominous warning, for the first few hours I was connecting to the correct trails and trail posts easily. At each post, I paused dramatically in a power stance, looked around, and waited expectantly for the big moment to happen. It kept not happening and I was starting to get impatient, but then I got distracted by the fact that I could not see the next trail post.

I thought that was weird, but figured I’d come across it pretty quickly. I mean, I’d come across all the other trail posts pretty quickly, right? I also told myself I could always turn around at any point. I knew I wouldn’t though, because that would mean admitting failure, which I have always had an unhealthy fundamental issue with.

TUESDAY TUNES: Songs for Growth

I just turned twenty-five.

What a strange thing to say. Twenty-five was an age that, for much of my life, sounded old and cool. And yet here I am, feeling largely neither. I still can’t put my eyeliner on straight, I still ask my parents for help with taxes, and I’d still give just about anything to be in college again. I don’t feel old most days.

Birthdays are a good reminder of the love that helps me grow. So is music. Here are five songs for the joy and confusion of growth, birthday or not.

Modernity Has Failed Us

Don’t paint me as a “let’s just go live off the grid among the wolves and chipmunks” advocate just yet. Systems are important for order; this isn’t a rally cry to take up pitchforks and torches and proclaim anarchy. We should still get our “I Voted” stickers; we should still call our senators; we should still work actively within our institutions to demand justice. These are good, important, necessary things that we are called to do. But if we seek absolute safety in our systems, we will be disappointed. 

Systems are not strong enough to hold our hope.

TUESDAY TUNES: Songs for Midnight

Here’s to one last night of feeling everything, at least for this year. Here’s to the fires we walked through and the infernos ahead. Here’s to the love and laughter we experienced and all that’s still to come. And, of course, here’s to good music. No matter what you’re feeling on December 31st, I hope some of my favorite tracks of the year can be your background.