All in Life

No Man Is An Island: An Ode to Our Neediness

The last few years of my life—so basically my Full Grown Adult Years—have been a reinforced lesson in this one simple yet slightly-jarring fact: we need each other. I mean, need-NEED each other.

“No man is an island,” says Thomas Merton, and my bae C.S. Lewis backs this up further by writing, “We need others physically, emotionally, intellectually; we need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves.”

We’re meant to be needy, but why is it so hard to acknowledge and accept this?

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Lessons of Winter: Learning How to Heal

Amy sat across the table from me in her little studio apartment. A bowl of tortilla chips and jalapenos slabbed between us. Hot tea on either side. Head between my hands, red eyes and a soaked face full of salty tear streams, trying to catch my breath as I heard myself, for the first time in my life, admit a feeling of loneliness and failure that I had yet to experience.

Redefining the Idea of Success

It has been almost a year since I graduated from college. It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. My younger self would be surprised that I did not choose a solidified career path, but my younger self would have also questioned why I quit doing the things that I loved. Why did I not allow myself the space I needed to be creative? I could not allow myself the time for anything else besides school and work. To me, that is what equaled success.

When Life Feels Transient

Despite the excitement of unpacking and settling into a new place, my tendency is to be frustrated and bitter for weeks surrounding a move. It’s easy to get caught up in missing what I no longer have. I romanticize the yard from our old home—in my mind it is lush and green even though in reality it was too dry and prickly to walk barefoot on—but wasn’t it better than this brick patio space? I miss the white walls that we’ve exchanged for beige, even though we couldn’t hang anything on those walls without asking our landlord to pound in the nails (something I was too shy to do the entire duration of our stay.)

Waiting for Happy

For my entire life, this has been my dream. Freezing cold, sitting on the roof of my apartment, staring out at New York City in all its glory, at 2 o’clock in the morning, listening to Billy Joel. It really, truly does not get better than this.

But at the same time, it could.

Because there’s something that no one tells you about getting your dreams: Sometimes, it’s not what you thought it would be. Because sometimes, dreams change.

To The In Between

I am writing to inform you that I have decided to accept your offer to stay here for a to-be-determined amount of time. I’ve decided to occupy the space that you’ve provided me with here because it seems I have no other choice. I’ve tried my hardest to get out of this space, to crawl and dive and roll my way out of this weird and uncomfortable living situation. This is worse than any bad roommate I’ve ever had, for the record. I’ve tried to avoid giving people this address when they ask “what are you doing with your life?” or “where are you now?” because I quite honestly haven’t bothered to memorize it either. Every time I think I’m moving out and I’ve convinced myself this is it, I fall right back on my ass and am reminded, abruptly (and painfully if I must say so myself), that it is not my time.

Life Is Messy

Life is messy. A few weeks ago, as I fell asleep with my sister in bed beside me, this thought played through my mind: life is oh-so messy. For all of us. No one is spared hardship or heartache or challenges. We all have something. For some, the weight, the battle, the uphill climb is greater than others.