Small Talk

Small talk. Everyone expects it, does anyone like it?

This holiday season my husband and I attended several parties. We arrived late and left early for most of them… intentionally.

One in particular was really enjoyable. But most of the rest were awkward at best and I spent more time standing alone in a corner, trying to blend in and disappear, than I did interacting, and what interactions I did have were mostly small talk.

I want to have deeper connections with people. I don’t mind talking about the surfacy things when there’s something deeper underneath. And how to we bridge that gap between awkward small talk and meaningful connections?

I’ve been even more off my social game lately. Too many life things getting in the way. We’re in a new year, a new decade, and I’m facing some major changes. I’m not sure what comes next, but I do want to be more intentional about reaching out and forming connections that matter. Going beyond small talk, and diving into more interesting things.

How do you handle social interactions and small talk?

Busy Time Of Year

Can we all agree that work Christmas parties are exhausting?

My husband and I had one the other night. It was held in a bar in the city, the space was cramped… and LOUD.

It was draining just stepping into the narrow room, let alone attempting to interact with people I barely know.

2 parties down, 3 to go.

I love Christmas. I really do. The coziness of it all, the music, cheesy movies, the baking, hot cocoa, the soft glow of Christmas lights…

This year it feels different though. In some ways I’m not as into it. There are just over two weeks left until Christmas, and I barely feel ready for it at all. And yet, there’s also a familiar safety and excitement about it that I haven’t felt in a long time.

God’s done a lot in this past year. I’m a different person than I was last year, that’s for sure. And yet there are still some of those familiar things that stay the same.

I’m not sure what the future holds, but I’m beginning to feel more peace about it, I’m beginning to see God’s grace in my waiting, in my wondering. And because of that, I’m feeling more peace, and hope, and joy.

I’m also feeling very drained from all the busyness over the past few weeks. I’m looking forward to just having a day to myself tomorrow to rest and recalibrate.

As an introvert and HSP I find it’s even more necessary to set some boundaries around my time and make sure I get the quiet time I need in order to show up fully present (or as present as possible) in the holiday festivities.

Do you have a lot going on this year? Do you enjoy the holiday busyness, or find it overwhelming? What things have helped you manage the busyness and expectations?

As for me, I’m going to sit down and enjoy a nice cup of hot tea and our first batch of Christmas cookies. 🙂

Reflections On A Coming Year

It’s been a few months. And here we are, at the beginning of December, a new year, a new decade, just around the corner.

There’s some deep internal work God’s been doing in me over the past few months. At the moment I’m feeling more peace than I have in a long time, I’ve even felt joy, and I’m beginning to hope again.

It’s a strange feeling when everything in your world comes crashing down. Sometimes it comes down with a bang, sometimes it’s more subtle than that, but the ripple effects spread throughout every aspect of life.

I’m dabbling in new forms of art again. Trying to get back into writing. I’ve done a lot of journaling over the past few months, I’ve needed it desperately. And I’m so thankful to have the ability to just sit down and write and dump my thoughts and feelings on a page.

Christmas is coming, and I’m feeling excited again. There’s some apprehension with some storms I know could be coming, but I’m also feeling more stable and (hopefully) more braced for it this time.

A lot has changed this year. I haven’t fully unpacked it yet. I tend to get reflective at the end of a year. Reflecting on the past year, planning for the new. I’m not sure yet what my word for this coming year will be, or my primary goal. But I’m praying about it and have a few ideas floating around.

But every time I look back, I’m amazed at God’s faithfulness. He is so faithful to provide, to work things out, to turn things around for our good, even when we can’t see it caught in the moment.

This year has brought some really hard things, but it’s also brought good things, and with them both, clarity.

I want more clarity as I continue forward. I know that creating in some form is connected to this, I’m not fully sure how yet or what form it will take.

As I look back on this past year, I’m amazed at how far God has brought me and the work He’s done. I’m shocked in some ways to think that the beginning of this year was actually this year. It feels so far away.

Yet time passes so fast.

There’s hope for the future in a way I didn’t have before. It isn’t so much about situations changing, though it’s ever shifting, but about God strengthening me and my roots in Him through the storms. I don’t say this as if I had anything to do with it, it’s His work in me, because I couldn’t on my own.

So often I’ve felt helpless and drowning. Sometimes those seasons in the desert last far longer than we would like, but God is still faithful to lead us through to the other side.

Right now I’m just taking things one step at a time. Learning to be present. Learning to release my control.

What are your reflections on this previous year? How are you feeling about the coming of 2020? It feels a little too much like the future to me, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to be here. I’m thankful for a new chance to start again.

New Beginnings

The past few months have been hard. Very hard. I’ve broken in ways I didn’t know were possible. There’s no need to go into details, but I need time and space to heal.

I haven’t been writing, haven’t really been creating, and I haven’t even really journaled. I know the journaling part needs to change, and the others will follow. That’s where I need to start right now.

I’m intentionally taking a step back from blogging. I’m not saying I’m gone forever, but still wanted to let you know. At the moment I’m not putting a timeline on myself.

This community, each one of you who has responded, commented, encouraged me, shared your experiences, means more to me than you know. Thank you. Thank you for reading my ramblings, my thoughts, and all the emotional ups and downs. Thank you for being there, thank you for sharing and for support.

Even in typing this, I have ideas for other things I could write and share. Maybe it’s just about sitting down and doing it. haha

My dreams last night gave me an idea for another potential novel. Maybe I’ll try NaNoWriMo again this year and share about the process.

I’m not sure what the future holds. I don’t know what happens next. Thank you for being along for the ride and sharing in the journey.

Here’s to taking the first step. Until we meet again…

Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again. – Sarah Ban Breathnach

Maybe There Is No Answer

Lately I’ve questioned so many things about myself. Sometimes I feel like I’m moving forward, sometimes I feel I’m falling backward.

I’m still struggling with a life that looks nothing like I thought it would. Then I feel bad about myself for not just being thankful for the life I do have.

Feelings come and feelings go. They’re important, but they aren’t everything. I’m just not sure how to navigate around them when these things are so strong, and so many other things are pushing so hard against me.

Not against me, just around me. And I’m easily overwhelmed.

I don’t know what the future holds. And I’m struggling with that place in between. This season has felt like it’s dragged on forever. It’s been so many years, seemingly wasted in waiting.

I don’t want to live my life on hold. But I don’t know what life I could be moving into. I find myself here. Is this it? Is this really all there is?

Maybe there’s more. I struggle with comparisons, thinking that everyone else has things that I want. And they do. But that doesn’t mean it looks the way I imagine it to, and it doesn’t mean that’s the life they desired, even if it was the one that I wanted.

That seems to be one of the great injustices of life, that none of us get to choose the path we take.

But maybe I’m just playing the victim.

We do have choices. We do have a say… Up to a point.

Maybe it’s a blessing that we don’t plan our futures. Maybe we don’t have the context to make the right decisions.

I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know where I am or what’s happening. And I’m tired of trying to figure it all out.

So Many Questions

What does it mean to be healed? What does it mean to be whole? Are we really who we think we are? Or are our identities just an illusion, maybe even our fear?

I’m not sure what the purpose of this life is. I’m not sure if meaning exists at all. I feel that each time these things come up again, I’m pulled backward and fall down.

This is how we rise. We can’t stand up unless we fall.

Maybe it isn’t about what we see, or feel, or think. Maybe it isn’t about who we are at all. Maybe it’s about taking one step at a time, always moving forward, even when we fall backwards.

Maybe it’s learning to let go, to trust, to surrender. Maybe it’s about learning to come to terms with a life that doesn’t feel like our own.

Maybe hope looks different than we thought it would. And maybe this is our turn to break the silence.

Maybe our lives are a drop in the ocean. But maybe that tiny drop can still make a difference after all.

Anxious Thoughts

Anxieties creep in again. It seems like every time I think I’ve escaped, they’re right there to lure me back into their grip.

I don’t want to give into fear. I don’t want to give into panic. I don’t want it to control and define me anymore.

I think I’ve been afraid of letting go, afraid of stepping back. As if letting go of my fears and anxieties somehow puts me at risk… As if letting go means betraying the others who are still stuck in it.

And I don’t want to leave them behind.

We don’t have to be standing in a pit in order to help someone out of it. In fact, that can be counterproductive. But I’ve believed the lies for so long. I’m not fully sure what it looks like to break free.

Moving Forward?

I feel shallow. Like a failure as an INFJ. INFJ’s are supposed to be deep and insightful, talking and thinking of fanciful ideas and exploring our dreams. All I can think about or talk about is how to manage my external reality.

Maybe I don’t handle stress very well. Maybe it’s that I grew up with 2 SJ parents. But I feel like I’m losing myself.

Lately I’ve been obsessing over values and ideals. Trying to figure things out, as if having an answer will show me the path forward. Sometimes planning doesn’t work. We get caught in our heads, caught in our everyday lives. And then what?

No matter which way I look, I feel stuck.

I’m not sure what to do next. I’m not sure how to move forward. I’m not sure what the next step would even look like, or what direction it might be in. I feel detached from myself. Detached from God. Detached from the world and other people.

I long for connections, but I’m too drained to do anything about it.

I need rest. And I need to allow myself to take it. But I’m not sure what that looks like either.

That said. There has been a peace and contentment in life that I didn’t think I could feel again. A calm assurance that somehow everything’s going to work out and be okay, even if I can’t see it yet.

And in that, there is a vague sort of rest. Because I don’t have to worry about the future. And I can be content exactly where I am.

Suffocating Weight

I feel like I’m struggling beneath the weight of so many things, suffocating beneath the weight of everything.

I take on too much. Then I burn out and I snap. Seemingly unable to handle even simple tasks.

Depression takes its hold. An Ni-Ti loop grows stronger. I find myself lost in the clutches of Se. Although, I’m much better able to recognize it than I used to be. So I let the Se play itself out, and when that tiny three year old is tired, I let it go back to bed. Still stuck in the ever turning loop with my tertiary.

It tries to take over. I try to reason and logic myself out of impossible problems. I seek understanding. I push myself beyond what I’m ready for, so I end up in a void, a black hole that suffocates me even more.

I’m lost beneath the crashing waves. It’s lasted so long now that I’m not sure how to fully escape, or if that option still exists for me.

Nothing lasts forever. But some things can certainly feel like it.

I wait out the storm. Hoping that these seas will calm and I’ll find it to the other side.

I’m burned out. Exhausted. Hoping that in some way a part of this will help me grow.

I’ve lost myself to someone I don’t recognize anymore.

Who am I?

Fighting For Gray

I’ve been caught in a battle between dark and light. Black and white thinking that seems impossible to break through, and I’ve started thinking this way too.

As I’ve fought, and as I’ve argued, I’ve started to see the world in this way too. And I don’t feel like me anymore.

I feel like I have to choose. And maybe I know what side I should be on, and maybe I know the way I feel about the people and the situation. But maybe, just maybe, I want to see the gray again.

I want to feel compassion, rather than contempt. I want to fight for gray, even though I could never win that way.

I want to see things as they really are. I want to be safe, I want to heal. But I don’t want to hate.

This is how I lay down my weapons. This pride that eats me from the inside out. I choose to see more than the black and white I’ve been given. I choose to acknowledge both sides of the coins.

I choose gray.