Trolling, part 1

It’s National Coffee Day which is great if you like it and can score a free cup of joe. If you’re like me, it means another day I don’t get free tea. I started seeing all these mugshots and shout outs to coffee and I felt a little excluded. 

Like a true millennial, I grabbed my tea mug, stains and all and decided to share my excellent shot on the ‘Gram. While I planned to be snarky no matter what, a new thought hit me: trolling. 

I was mainly going to focus on the nastiness of coffee and my mug, but inspiration hit and instead I made it a rant about how I wouldn’t put anything so toxic into my temple and I only drink tea, and followed with some choice hashtags like vegan, fitspo and no preservatives. 

Instagram did not disappoint. 

Within a minute of posting, I had three likes from accounts that don’t follow me and use “vegan” or “healthy” in their description. Excellent. 

As you can see in the photo, we’re up to the magical 11 and only one is from a friend. I even hashtagged sarcasm at the end but it didn’t deter the people for the ethical treatment of animals. 

Some of my friends called out the fact that I literally consume anything, but I argued with how it’s all locally sourced and vegan organic. I can’t break character. That’s how you fail at trolling. 

To clear things up, I posted a selfie later with my sister where we’re stuffing Taco Bell into our faces at the movies because that’s what we like to do. 

I have a balance between the good and bad because I firmly believe life is too short to avoid sugar completely. When you die will you be happy you never ate a donut? I don’t think you can take that six pack to Heaven. 

It’s good to be healthy and take care of yourself, but life is for real too short to only eat chicken and broccoli. No gains are worth the sacrifice. Yes, God gave us food for sustenance but he also made it good. While that isn’t an excuse to constantly binge, it’s certainly a reason to enjoy. 

My shame below the surface

I am an emotional person. I will pause for everyone to regroup after that startling revelation. I am either so full of energy and happiness that I literally cannot stop my body from moving or so distraught you can tell from my face when I have a moment to think that all is not well. I wear my heart and everything else on my sleeve because I am incapable of keeping any feeling inside. I don’t understand what a poker face is or how to achieve it. If a thought crosses my mind, it crosses my face.

I have no in-between.

Usually, this is a blessing because I’m so overjoyed at every aspect of life. I love how strongly I feel every moment of happiness and see every new day as miracle. I face each day with an unfailing optimism that today is the best day of my life and tomorrow will be better. I enjoy the quiet moments when the light comes into my room in the morning and nights just staring up at the moon, when I can think about how everyone else seeing it too.

Unfortunately, these emotional highs don’t keep my soul from feeling downcast

This is the part where I wish I could only show you the best parts of me, but that’s not who I am. I am an incredibly broken human who lets her circumstances control her emotions. All it takes is one text/action/behavior/glance/etc. and my mood instantly spirals.

I no longer want to be around anyone. I want to go home and listen to sad music in bed and share song lyrics on social media as a cry for help or maybe so a person sees and understands how I feel. As a teenager, I did this which is super embarrassing, but I have a little more self control now. I’m an expressive person and it’s easy to share my feelings of elation, but it’s harder to show the other side.

This is partially because 95 percent of the time I tell myself I’m being ridiculous. The things that set me off aren’t life-altering or traumatic; they’re just hard for me. They’re the little things that play off the insecurities I can’t quite shake.  The same things that have plagued me forever, causing me to question everything. The insecurities that make you feel crazy.

For example, learning a small detail about a situation that changes everything; seeing two people have a conversation; not receiving the text I want; when I don’t get the greeting I want; when I’m blatantly ignored; when I feel like I’m talking too much; etc.

(P.S. yes these are vague but I have to keep a slight air of mystery)

You don’t develop insecurities overnight; they are learned through experience. Most of what upsets me relates to relationships. Because I’ve never felt confident of someone else’s feelings for me and always allowed them to keep me as a secret part of their lives, my mind automatically believes the worst and mistrusts every situation.

When my emotions are triggered, there are two separate thought processes that make me want to shut down and listen to Death Cab for Cutie. 1) The actual pain of the insecurity wound being pressed and pinched before it is healed. 2) The shame I feel for being so emotional about feelings I know I “shouldn’t” have.

I didn’t realize until recently how often I called myself stupid for feeling a certain way. When I’m discussing how I feel with someone else, I minimize the pain and assure them I know I sound silly and I’m trying to get better. I don’t fully process the actual emotion because I’m too busy beating myself up for being this way again.

When I face rejection, especially romantically, I blame myself. Logically I tell myself it’s not true, that it wasn’t right, but the shame remains. I feel like an idiot for feeling the way I did and believing it would work out. I regret all the conversations I had with friends trying to figure out what was happening and think they probably view me as a fool as well. I’m just a broken record, after all.

Then the shame makes me feel crazy because I know better but here I am, losing my mind over someone else. I tell myself it could never work out now because I’ve done too much damage by talking about it and trying to make it a real thing. I’m an idiot with a big mouth.

These are the thoughts that consume me when an insecurity is triggered. I never thought I lived with shame until I caught myself telling everyone how stupid I was as I tried to process my emotions. It took my best friend reminding me it’s not stupid to really see the damage I was doing to myself. Instead of crying out to God, I belittle myself into trying to feel better when I should let go.

I tell myself I’m being logical by calling myself stupid, almost as if I’m beating others to the conclusion.

Instead of trying to process the insecurities and turning to God, I turn inward and believe the lies my shame tells me and I let it try and break me time and time again. It’s not the circumstance I need to be wary of, but myself.

I try to keep myself contained, where I’m safe and where I can’t be hurt. This directly conflicts with my ‘everything on the table personality’ and I fail and give too much too soon. When I feel it happening and know I’ve done it again, I pull back and punish my heart for misbehaving once more.

No boy has broken me; I just keep cracking under the weight of my own self-inflicted wounds.

My shame convinces me things won’t work, because they never do for me. It reminds me of all the times guys kept me in the dark, and tells me it’s how they all are. It fuels my insecurities by saying everything’s your fault for not being enough. The narrative is a simple ‘it’s all because of who you are’ and I believe it every single time.

It’s hard to think that place exists within me. If I was a color, I believe I’d be a vibrant pink. My goal in life is to help others and always make sure they feel good and valued and loved. I believe in being kind and courageous always (although I do fail). I want to be remembered as being a light in the darkness.

But I know the place exists. I know my shame is a part of me, dwelling beneath the surface and wrecking me with every insecurity. I am a fool to think anyone would really want me. Look at the way I behave. Look at the things I say. Look at how cool other people are compared to me. I will never be right. I will always feel wrong. I will always overstay my welcome. I will never take the hint. I will always be wrong wrong wrong.

It’s not that I don’t love myself, I do. Sometimes I do something weird and chuckle at myself because it makes me who I am. I’ve stopped looking in the mirror and noticing every problem area. I’m more confident in the person God created me to be and how I’m finding more of her every day.

Past relationships and rejections have led to feelings of inadequacy and the shame still possesses me today. I can love me, but no one outside of God will. I know that’s twisted and I’m surrounded by so many people who remind me daily I am loved and I’m trying to hold onto to the ones who make me feel right and let go of the one who make me feel wrong.

I don’t write this from a place where I identified my problem and worked to get better. I remain a little broken and shame still tells me it’s my fault my fault my fault. The difference is now I know what I’m doing to myself, and what I let happen.

I wish I could end this with something inspirational or a Bible verse, but it wouldn’t be authentic. I would be putting on a smile over my pain to make it seem like all is well. That I’m fine, don’t worry about me.

Yes, all of that is true and I know God is here in this and I will desperately try to hold onto Him with everything I have. But right now, this is hard and I struggle. Minimizing my emotions and the pain I feel to end this post bright and bubbly isn’t the story I want to tell.

Instead I will promise you I’m trying. And I don’t know what your darkness is, but light and love can always reach you, so never give up hope.

I’m on the edge of something but I’m not sure it’s glory

I’m on the edge of doing something major, and all I can do is stare at my pay stub. I remember how excited I was when I heard the offer, realized how much more it was and thought about the possibilities. I see the vacation hours and personal days, the health insurance. A tight month simply means I’m paying more toward my debt than before, not that I need more money. 
How can I give this up?

The security is intoxicating. I calculate the number of hours and how much I will need to make to pay my bills, see which loans I can defer for a time. I create different possibilities to see how many hours here, how many hours there, how much per hour, etc. I estimate taxes and try to avoid a breakdown. 

Then the crazy thoughts come in. Is there a website to find a rich husband? I would be a great trophy wife. What about my master’s degree? Isn’t it worth something? Maybe it’s time to join a pyramid scheme. I bet draining my savings into a startup will pay off. Will someone pay me to write?

No, no, no, I tell myself. Focus on the real world.

Logically, it makes more sense to stay at my job, figure out what I want to do next. I know this, ok? I also know my job won’t necessarily equal my passion and fulfillment and sometimes we just have to work to support the things in life where we find those. I KNOW so do not try and tell me.  

It’s important to note I’ve prayed and fasted for contentment and being present at my job, understanding it enables me to live a pretty cool life. I try to remember I’ve dedicated almost a decade of school, internships, volunteering and working to get here. I didn’t stumble into this career; I earned it. In many ways, I’m quite proud. But I know I can’t stay.

For the first few years, I cared about this field. I invested time and energy into learning more and bettering myself. I live tweeted events and read industry articles. It was like I was on autopilot and I knew all the correct boxes to check for success. I worked in jobs I didn’t like and served in volunteer roles for experience. I stayed places where I wasn’t happy because you’re supposed to stay and suffer for your resume so you can continue to work. I didn’t stop to think about where I wanted to go, only where I should go. Achieve, achieve, achieve, that’s the dream, isn’t it?

For the past two and half years I’ve sat alone at a desk in an office, following my dreams and designing and writing and updating Facebook. At first, I was grateful and I didn’t realize what I was missing. Then the restlessness set in and I thought I needed a new environment. What took me a year and half at my old job only took six months here. This isn’t where I need to be.  

In her book Restless, Jennie Allen proposed a question to ask when you feel that pull on your heart to go – “Is my job the most strategic place for my life, my story, my personality and everything I need to preach the gospel?”

I could maybe argue it’s a good place for my life because of security, but that’s it. What I’m doing doesn’t fit who I am or what I can do. I thrive around people and here I wither alone. My story is filled with courage and following even when it’s scary, so staying now goes against who I am.  

Again, you might just think I’m a crazy millennial who is looking for something she’ll never find. And you’re also probably thinking I’m being very defensive, because I am. This isn’t the first time I’m having this conversation and it’s always met with well-meaning opposition. Underneath the emotions and impulsiveness, I am fueled by a relatively intelligent human who wants the safest course.

I look at my expenses and my pay stub, and I’m scared. I’m afraid to drop out of a field where I’ve built my career. To put it simply, I am stuck in the ‘what if’ game, too nervous about the risk involved. I question this decision compared to weekends off and the beautiful 9-5 life.

What I have is safety and security, but God is calling me to uncertainty. I’ve felt it all my life, but assumed I wasn’t the type of person God would call into such a place. I come from stable parents who work hard. I’ve done well my entire life so surely the normal life was for me. I ignored the nagging at my soul because I was sure God was mistaken. Now I know.

I don’t know what is next or where I’m going. I wish I had more answers for myself and my family. I don’t know how I’m going to have enough money to survive. Throughout all the ‘I don’t knows,’ there is a greater voice telling me He knows. And that is the only voice I need.  

“Let the Lord lead you and trust Him to help. Then it will be as clear as the noonday you were right. Be patient and trust the Lord.” Psalms 37:5-7 CEV

This verse doesn’t promise instant results; all we get is ‘then.’ Trust God and then others will see. There will be opposition and those who think you’re foolish, but the world doesn’t know your heart. Is it made new and ardently pursuing the Father? If the answer is yes, it’s likely what you’re feeling isn’t from you.

It’s hard to be patient when everything is scary. When I’ve spent seven years doing one thing and now I have to find something else. I want to see the shore before I step out of the boat, but that isn’t faith. I need to jump out of the boat, trusting in my Savior to keep me from falling and guide me to the other side, wherever it may be.

Please pray for me, friends.


When I felt God calling me to go, I never imagined He meant to Buffalo. I’m from western Pennsylvania and going north was never in my plan. Plus, how unglamorous does Buffalo sound? It doesn’t seem like the place you want to tell people you’re moving to, but saying ‘New York’ makes everyone think you’re talking about the city.

The story of how I made my way to Buffalo is actually a tale spanning more than three years, during which my entire family relocated without me. It wasn’t for a lack of trying; I planned to move in early 2014 but God had other plans for me. I spent two additional years in Pittsburgh while my family began their lives.

Eventually it became clear it was my turn. Granted, I asked God to send me to Florida, but maybe He knew my poor, translucent vampire skin couldn’t handle the sun. A series of events at work and a job opportunity finally opened the gates for me to move to New York.

On Saturday, March 12, 2016, I packed my life in a box truck and said farewell to the Steel City. The poetic timing meant I spent exactly half of my 25th year in Pittsburgh and half in Buffalo. It’s strange because it feels like I lived two completely different lives in the span of a year.

I felt like I was leaving Pittsburgh at my best, ready to take on a new life. My quarter life celebration had pushed me as a person and I felt like I had life figured out. Lol, right? I had never really liked Buffalo before when I visited, but I thought now at my peak, it would be great.

Guess what? I hated Buffalo.

I traveled so much for work and was trying to fit my old life into the new and it wasn’t working. I felt disconnected from the church/people and I definitely wasn’t pursuing God. I wanted the rolling hills and confusing roads. I missed my life so terribly I thought I had made a mistake.


Suddenly, everything changed.

I wish I knew the moment or the feeling or the conversation, but I don’t. In my brain, it’s like black and white. One day I regretted everything and the next day I was so overwhelmingly in love with my life I didn’t know you could feel like this. And it’s all because of the people. Any location is nice, but it’s who you spend your life with that makes it home.

I think this is why Pittsburgh was so much easier to leave than I anticipated. NOT BECAUSE the people aren’t great because they are and I have great friends there including my best gal Sam, but because I wasn’t great. I spent a long time ignoring the whole ‘love your neighbor’ thing in Christianity. Yes, I took a firm stance on not hating people and being involved at the church and in Bible study, but so much of that remained superficial because I didn’t want to experience humans.

Looking back, I don’t know when I started keeping people away. At some point, I built these weird walls and puzzles and traps around my heart and expected people to do the work to get in without me investing any time in them. Obviously, I was constantly disappointed that no one pursued me like I thought they should which is crazy and weird and I’m sorry I felt that way.

As a result, I kept myself more closed off from real, intimate relationships. I started believing lies that I was too much and people didn’t like me so I approached every situation like they wouldn’t want to be my friend anyway. Seriously. I stopped expecting anyone to like me and settled for the relationships I had developed, even though they were weak and very one-sided.

Maybe it started when I went to school and didn’t make 1,000 new friends who would be my besties forever. College is when I began to consider myself more of an introvert which to me is now laughable. Yes, I enjoy my quiet time at night to decompress, but I feed off people (like a fellowship zombie) and just kind of forgot that. I gained my Sam which meant she was all I needed and I became more separated from people.

In this new city without Sam, I had to make a choice. I either never make friends because it requires work and time and just settle for nice greetings at church, or I go balls to the wall and put myself out there. Spoiler alert: I chose (with God’s confidence) option two.

The first time I actually engaged with humans outside of church almost didn’t happen. I arrived back in Buffalo after traveling earlier than expected and knew I could skip like originally intended and stay at home where I was safe. I sat outside reading, going back and forth about what I was going to do and then suddenly the Power of Christ compelled me because without making the choice, I was in my car.

Again, I don’t know what happened, but as anxiety grew within me, I just had this feeling it was going to be different because I was. Instead of acting like I was quieter or more demure than I am, I decided to be myself. I didn’t do it assuming people wouldn’t like me either, which was also strange. I did because I knew this is who God created me to be, and that person is great.

It’s amazing how God can work when you let Him. Too often I’m Moses saying I’m not right for this while God is reminding me I am who He created me to be. I am someone who is meant for relationships. I love sharing and listening and learning and spending crazy amounts of time with people.

In Present Over Perfect, I think Shauna Niequist said it best:

“The natural world is so breathtakingly beautiful. People are so weird and awesome and loving and life-giving. Why, then, did I try so hard for so long to get away without feeling or living deeply?”

All the yes.

For years, I avoided the deep because it was safe in the shallow end of life. With this mindset, I could only grow so much. I was emotionally stunted because as open as I was, I didn’t invite people into my life. In a way, I was like a celebrity on social media. You can laugh at what I say, but you can never be my friend for real. (because I’m that funny, obviously)

Now that I’ve experienced real community and fellowship, I don’t know how my soul lived without it for so long. Every time I’m with someone in Buffalo, my heart is so full, whether it’s just watching TV or playing volleyball or getting dinner. Even as a joyful person, I never knew it could be this strong.

It’s only been six months, but I can’t imagine life before pizza logs and incredible friends who say ‘stop it’ in response to everything. I’m in love with every piece of my life, even when it’s messy or doesn’t make sense. It’s all amazing and I’m so thankful everyday I’m here, living this life with the people I get to call my friends (and family, of course – they’re here too).

Moving to Buffalo changed my life in ways I never imagined because I was too afraid to be that person. Here I don’t hide who I am to make friends. I am weird and loud and excited and ridiculous and probably annoying but people still seem to like me. It’s authentic and not a way to hide from people, but a way to say hey, here I am, let’s be friends.

Thank you to everyone who allows me to be a part of their life. You make me better and remind me how great God is every time I think of you.

And of course thank you Buffalo for being a cool place to live and also for pizza logs.

So throw the curtains wide, one day like this will see me right 

Full disclosure: I’m not an artist, just a lover of words and the magic they create. This is probably obvious given the above doodle, but I wanted to clarify in case you thought it was here because I’m so *talented*

Do songs ever infect you? With one listen, everything makes sense. It explains the feels you can’t articulate and creates a longing for something deep in your soul. You want to share it with the world so they can understand, but it also remains a secret key to your soul. 

I love music and the power it can have to affect your mood, your day, etc. Some songs exist just for fun, but the soul punching ones are my favorite. 

Right now, that song is “One Day Like This” by Elbow. It’s a fall staple for me, although truly the greatness could transcend through every season. 

It’s basically an ode to being in love and how it makes you feel. It isn’t overly eloquent, but it captures the emotion. The chorus is “cause holy cow, I love your eyes/and only now I see the light/yeah lying with you half awake/oh anyway, it’s looking like a beautiful day”

The song sounds almost like fragmented thoughts of someone trying to express his thoughts to the one he loves. You can picture two people in bed and him just overwhelmed with love in this moment, knowing one day like this is all he needs.

Now I’ve never been in love with a person (only life), so maybe I’m not the authority, but this song is how I want it to feel. 

Holy cow, I love your eyes. 

Farewell to you and all the others like you

To you and all the others like you:
How have you been? That’s a rhetorical question because I don’t really care. Don’t get me wrong – I want your life to be full and happy, but for once, this is about me.
You see, I spent way too long focused on you.

We first met as children, sharing our formative years and growing up together. I heard what people said, I knew deep down. To me, it didn’t matter. I wanted to make you happy and it took me way too long to realize you didn’t want the same for me. Years were lost in a hopeless pursuit because I was scared of the alternative.

I built us up in my head all those years, convinced our paths would remain entwined. The fear of leaving that behind and forging some new destiny kept me there, in a place where I never felt loved or wanted, a place I couldn’t leave.

Then you found me in college. I was finally recovering and realizing I had something to offer the world when you emerged. Sure, you’d been around before, but this time I noticed you and by some happy miracle, you noticed me, too.

This wasn’t the first time I was a secret. You just reiterated my place in the shadows. I used to blame myself for not being honest enough, not being good enough, not loving God enough. Never enough is what I learned from you. You let me carry on without being honest because you were trying to be nice? Not wanting to hurt my feelings? Taking the easy road? No matter your reasons, you hurt me.

After graduation, we stumbled upon each other again. Isn’t life funny? You said all the right things and made me believe that this time it was real. That after years of waiting, God had revealed part of my plan and I began to build this dream in my mind and go to a place I never let myself before. You gave me hope, but it’s funny after 20 plus years alive I still thought I could trust the hope I place in humans.

Maybe I knew all along it wasn’t real. Maybe I embarrassed myself by going through everything over and over again with my friends trying to find what clue I missed. Maybe you weren’t that great of a guy. My life was filled with theories and maybes because of you.

All these years spent chasing you left me broken with baggage I didn’t realized I carried. My thoughts revolved around why I wasn’t good enough for you. I learned to hate and try to hide everything that made me unique because I only saw it as a barrier. I’m too loud. Too passionate. Too fat. Too opinionated. Too annoying. Too uptight. Too vulgar. I viewed myself as too much and not enough.

I was afraid to be honest about my feelings, both with myself and all the others. When you only know rejection, you can’t imagine reciprocation. It felt impossible that I could ever be liked and wanted and so I convinced myself I never would.

Here where I want to say it’s your fault, you did this to me. But I know that isn’t true. I used to pray and ask God to help me forgive all the times you hurt me and help me remember not everyone is like you.

Recently, though, God revealed it was never you I had to forgive. It was me.

That was my problem for years, I think. Trying to blame you and play the victim in my own narrative. Ultimately it comes down to this: I chose to stay. My desire to feel loved ranked higher than any other and I lost sight of what mattered for you. Instead of seeking what I knew was good, I went after what I wanted to be good. Time and time again, I got burned.

I held onto the thought of you. I couldn’t let go because I couldn’t believe I was wrong again.

I was mad at myself for going through these cycles every. Single. Time. Nothing changed because I wouldn’t change. I knew what I wanted but compromised for you. I lost all my resolve because in those moments, I only wanted to be what you wanted. I let the person I am fade trying to keep you. 

I wanted to feel whole and thought you could do that for me, if I just made less of myself. Now I realize there is no one here who can complete me.

Instead of being desperate for you, I’m desperate for God, and what a difference that makes.

Now I can forgive myself for being foolish enough to put up with you. I recognize all of our experiences made me who I am today. Without them, I would have a different story to tell, and I’m happy God gave me this one.

Sometimes I think I miss you, but it’s really just the idea of you. I want to feel that momentary comfort, and know that maybe you still care. Sometimes it takes all my strength to resist reaching out, because I know I can’t do that to myself, not again.

So farewell to you and all the others like you. I pray you remember the heart at the other end of that unanswered text next time you decide you aren’t interested. Treat her better, ok?