Friday, November 30, 2012

Learning through Living

I'm not perfect. I make mistakes.

*Pausing for effectiveness.* You can all wipe the look of shock off of your faces. The cat is out of the bag. I'm not perfect. Apologies go out to all of you that looked to me for the image of perfection to guide your lives, you will now have to look elsewhere. (Please appreciate the sarcasm found in the previous sentences of this paragraph.)

This doesn't always work out for someone who likes to be right. I know I like to be right. Until I'm wrong. I'm working on in progress, remember? Also working trying not to attempt to correct people all of the time. I'm trying people...

Sometimes living is hard. Do you ever find yourself wondering if you're choosing the right choices? Am I making the right decisions? Should I be doing something different? If I were a spectator looking in on my life, what would I tell myself? Would I want to hear it?

But I'm just trying to figure things out. I'm trying to do the best I can. Sometimes the right decision isn't the easy choice. I feel like the thoughts in my head are more confusing than the lack of train of thought that this blog post contains...or doesn't contain...

Sometimes you have to live it to learn it. What would happen if the toddler who was learning to walk never got back up after that first time they fell? Sometimes I feel like a toddler in my adult life just trying to learn how to walk. Not even walk without looking like a fool...I know myself, there are too many doorways to run into and sharp objects to break skin. I'm just trying to walk an adult life without totally falling on my ass every two minutes. It's hard when it feels like everyone else around me has their adult life "together." Married, kids, house, dog, job they love, etc. Sometimes it's hard to remember amidst the facebook "I love my husband/wife so much" or the "my life is so awesome" or the "I never knew love until I...(please insert engaged, got married, had a baby, etc.) posts that just because my adult life is different, it doesn't mean I'm any less put together. It doesn't mean that the love I have in my life in any less significant than the different types of love that other people have in their just means it's different.

But as I was saying...I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. But those things we label as mistakes? Those are the things that challenge us as individuals and stretch and grow as people. I had a bit of a meltdown last night. Sometimes the picture in our head of what life should look like gets in the way of what our life actually does look life. Sometimes it's easier to see the things we don't have in our lives and completely miss what we do have in our lives. The only things that are apparent are the "missing" objects instead of what's right in front of us.

Last night I let what I felt was missing cloud what I have right in front of me. I think sometimes the fear or threat of losing someone/something pushes the little overemotional button in all of us, and thoughts and feeling that we normally have in check and complete control over, all decide to go their own way...all at the same time. YIKES. Danger! Run away, run away! =) I need to stop looking at what I don't have, and start to look at what I do have.

I have:
-  a loving family who are incredibly supportive and have stood by me through some pretty rough patches.
- a loving extended family full of aunts and uncles and cousins that are like second families.
- girlfriends to get breakfast with, or give that little extra nudge when you need it to get those new shoes and love to dance.
- a job that is very stable and no way in jeopardy.
- my own place to get as messy and do as much cooking and cleaning as I want that is only two 1/2 miles from Miller Park.
- a reliable car to get my from point A to point B.
- a best friend who puts up with my crazy meltdowns, will sit down and watch football or baseball with me, is enough of a friend to call me out when I need to be called out, and would honestly do just about anything I needed.

So while I'm figuring this whole "life" thing out...I have a lot of really good things going on in my life already. Life is too short. I need to keep my focus on being grateful for the here and now...not what's could be.

One last quick note before I fall asleep with my laptop in my lap...

I just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to read yesterday's post. There were over 200 unique visitors, many of whom were first time visitors and I'm very honored that so many people took the time out of their crazy days to read some of my crazy thoughts. Y'all know how to make a girl feel special.

Ok kids, I'm having to retype almost every word because I'm totally falling asleep. One last word though? Skyfall was an awesome movie. Go see it if you get the chance.

Night kids. Live, laugh, love...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Too Important Not to Post

Where to begin tonight? So many different topics that I could blog about (I've actually been keeping a list as they pop into my head), but I think I'm going to jump into one of those topics that make people feel a little bit uncomfortable. Heck, it even makes ME feel a little uncomfortable. So I would ask if you're reading this to continue with an open mind.

This week on one of the blogs that I tend to be a pretty regular visitor, the author of the blog came out to his audience as bisexual. (At this point, I think half of my audience is ready to cheer him on and the other half is ready to close my blog because they don't condone this type of "behavior." Patience friends. Read on.) The crazy part to me wasn't him admitting these feelings to a group of people (most of which he has never, and probably will never meet), but the crazy part to me was the fear that he had. That those people who had loved him for all of those years, wouldn't love him anymore. And the inner struggle that he had endured for years upon years with his own mind and his own feelings. Can you imagine all those teenage years into young adulthood when everyone is trying to figure themselves out, not EVER feeling like you could figure yourself out? Or never feeling like you're getting any closer?

When I was a junior in high school, someone that I had gone to grade school with (Kindergarten through 8th grade, private school...class of 18 kids) shot himself in the head and committed suicide. I'm not going to pretend like we were super close friends, because we weren't. Those years in grade school weren't especially my favorite times by any stretch of the imagination. But I did play with him and the other boys at recess (soccer, football, etc). And we were in the same classroom for nine years. After grade school we went to different high schools and started very different lives. He had always been a little slower in school, and often acted out because of it. This continued once he was in high school and I heard through the grapevine that things weren't going well for him. Probably not the best friends...not really working at school...making bad choices. And one day I got a phone call from one of my friends (she and I were going to high school together, and had also gone to grade school together) telling me that this young man had shot himself in the head and died.

This wasn't my first experience with death, so the funeral aspect of all of this didn't freak me out or anything. But the thought that terrified me? He felt like there was no way out. To take your own feel like no one cared enough about you to go on feel so alone...that terrified me. I decided in that moment that I never wanted anyone in my life to ever feel that way again.

No one should ever feel like they are completely alone. And if you're reading this...and you feel that're not.

I finished high school and went onto college to become a music teacher with these ideals in the front of my head:
- I want to make high school a better place than it was for me.
- I want to help kids achieve goals that they don't even know they can reach.
- I want all of my student to know that I love them, I'm proud of them, and they are not alone.

Funny how life doesn't always work out the way you planned it...

I taught high school show choir for ten years. In fact this is the first year since I was in high school that I'm not working with a choir. I miss the kids. Because when you're a teacher and you have the privilege and opportunity to work with boys and girls turning into young men and get to watch these people grow up in front of your eyes. And they are just as much of a sponge as a toddler. If you talk to them as equals and show them the way to act...they will mimic you. Now granted...we're all stupid in high school, and we all make dumb decisions that we look back on and think, "What the heck was I thinking?!" But that's also part of learning who you are and growing up. But I digress...

After graduating from college I taught third and fourth grade for a year in Minnesota. It was no means my dream job, and was probably one of the hardest years of my life. But looking back...and seeing the mark I left on those moves me to tears. When I was in grade school I never felt like I fit into the group of girls in my class. Boys were easy! Play sports. If you had a problem with someone first recess, it was forgotten by third recess. But girls? Yikes. Not even close to as easy. But I was determined to make my class of third and fourth grade girls get along. And was it easy? Nope! But I thought of that boy from my grade school class. And so we worked through problems. Instead of girls not including someone because they were mad, we stopped and talked about it. (Yes, I actually took classroom time for this...some lessons don't require a chalkboard.) And we had to do this several times. But you aren't taught how to interact and problem solve with will you ever learn.

I left after a year, and to be really honest, when I left...I left. I didn't keep in contact. I didn't follow their lives. Mostly for my own healing. But this past May when I saw pictures of this class...and all the girls together...with their arms around each other...smiling and laughing...I thought of the boy from my grade school class...and smiled.

Sometimes I wonder if that boy from my grade school class is the reason that I'm so interested in people and how they act and interact. Sometimes it feels like I'm looking out into the vast multitudes of people, making sure that no one feels like they are so alone that they don't matter. Because no one should ever feel that way. Now, if you'll allow me to come full circle...

Tonight when I sat down and read Single Dad Laughing's post "The Darkness Before the Light" it really hit home. His darkness hit me. His despair hit me. His sadness hit me. I had one of friends come out to me within the last year. I was hurt that this person hadn't talked to me sooner. But the response they had received when telling others had been so negative they had simply stopped telling people. My heart broke. It terrified me to think that for even one second the person would have felt the darkness.

You don't have to agree with someone to love them. Just because you might believe something different doesn't mean you stop caring about that person. And if you truly do care about someone, and believe the choices they are making are wrong, why would you ever shut the door in their face? Why wouldn't you live your life as an example to what you believe to be right in the face of what you believe to be wrong. Too often just because someone is different than us, or we don't understand the choices they are making we simply cut them out. We tell ourselves that it's easier and we're doing the right thing.

You don't have to agree with someone to love them.

If you're still reading, first of all...a serious high five to you for making all the way through this epically long post. Secondly, look at the people in your life...friends, co-workers, family, the checker at the grocery store...the person that needs a little ray of hope? All it takes is a smile. All it takes is a look in the eye to know that they know they're not alone. We have too many kids bringing guns to school because they are being bullied...too fat, too skinny, too goth, too emo, too hipster, too nerdy, too musical, too gay, too different, too athletic, etc. Remember when we were little and none of those things mattered? And we could all play in the same sandbox. The sand isn't different's just a bigger box. And adults, do we ever expect our kids to learn how to treat each other if we can't do it ourselves? Knock it off. Chose your words wisely...once they're out you can't put them back. (Consider this your verbal spanking.)

And finally...the people in your life that really matter? Tell them you love them. Don't ever make them wonder. In fact, make them overconfident. Give those people you care about the conviction to know that they are loved...that they are never alone.

Live, laugh, love.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

You're the Reason I Come Home...

Watching you watching me 
A fine way to fall asleep 
The neighbors fight as we both rest our eyes 

Hands in the fallen snow 
Numb to the winter cold but we don't mind 'cause we'll get warm inside 

You're the reason I come home 
You're the reason I come home, my love 
You're the reason that when everything I know falls apart 
You're the reason I come home 

Paper doll silhouettes 
Fingertips on window glass 
The street's asleep so I breathe you in deep 
The tragedies of chemistry 
People dream of what you and me have found effortlessly 

You're the reason I come home 
You're the reason I come home, my love 
You're the reason that when everything I know falls apart 
You're the reason I come home 

And for a long time I remember saying prayers for something perfect 
Saying prayers for someone kind 
It's in my head 
We're spinning circles down the avenues instead 

You're the reason I come home 
You're the reason I come home, my love 
You're the reason that when everything I know falls apart 
You're the reason I come home

Monday, November 19, 2012

This time last year...

One of the great things about writing a blog is that you're always thinking about your next topic. One of the more difficult things about writing a blog is finding time to sit down and actually write out the thoughts in your head. I came across a picture on Facebook today that had this quote on it, "This time, last year...everything was so different." And I started thinking...I know it was different, but what was exactly going on?

Thank you iCal for keeping track of my life when I can't.

November 19, 2011. I had just finished rehearsing and conducting the orchestra for Reformation. I was in the process of dating a guy who just randomly stopped calling and was about to start dating another who too, would also just randomly stop calling sometime in January. In honor of the royal wedding (and fancy hats in general) my friend and I decided to wear fancy hats to the company Christmas party. I was getting ready to go to a Badger game the following Saturday that I ended up going to with my brother and sister and FREEZING out butts off. I went to see the ever popular Lorie Line with my younger sister and experienced her Christmas extravaganza for the first time ever. I had recently agreed to run and train for a half marathon that my hip decided it didn't want to run. I was just two months shy of turning 28 and was desperately trying to put myself out there, convinced that if I did something positive would happen.

Ah, yes. If life only went according to plan.

November 19, 2012. 27 Brewers games. 2 Badger footballs games. Sending a friend to Hong Kong for a year. Meeting up with a friend from a lifetime ago (or just seven years). American Idol concert. Ingrid Michaelson concert. Two un-run half marathons. A completed 5k and 15k and triathlon. 2 new quilts made (thank you first ever quilt retreat). On and off Broadway musicals. Company Christmas party coming up. Concert in Chicago to look forward to. I'm just two months shy of turning 29...and I'm not even sure how to end this sentence., fairly the same...Andrea, fairly different.

28 has not been what I thought it would be. If I'm being honest, I'd say the majority of it has been quite the roller coaster. Several friendships have morphed and changed over the last 10 months. Some relationships have morphed and changed over the last 10 months. I have morphed and changed over the last 10 months.

I've probably learned more about myself in the last 10 months than I was expecting. Let me try that again. I wasn't expecting to learn what I learned in the last 10 months. And about life. And about relationships. And about people. And about love. And about friendship. Because the more I learn...the less I know.

So...what have I learned...I know...heavy question for 11pm...I'll have a bit of a go at it anyway.
- It's what you do after the mistake that matters. Move forward.
- People aren't perfect. And they make mistakes. Forgive.
- Some people require more patience than others. Be patient.
- Shopping can cure a multiple of ailments. Buy shoes.
- If at first you don't succeed, change your plan or you'll get the same results. Be persistent.
- Fighting with people you love is stupid. Apologize.
- Today's tv isn't as good as TGIF. Full House.
- There's a special bond between cousins. Cherish it.
- You can do anything you put you mind to. Forge ahead.
- A real man will buy your drink. Thank him.
- Things will happen when the time is right. Have faith.
- Pretty packages sometimes hide troubled insides. Be cautious.
- Just because something doesn't follow everyones else's rules doesn't make it wrong. Break rules.
- Ice cream will go straight to your hips. Frozen yogurt.
- Life doesn't always go as planned. Have flexibility.
- Life can't always be planned. Be spontaneous.
- Sometimes people will catch you off guard. Be surprised.
- I would rather try and fail then to always wonder. Go for it.
- You can always return it. Buy them (the shoes that is).
- You are right where you need to be at this very moment. Relax.
- It's better to be real than fake. Laugh loudly.
- Time isn't a guarantee. Love boldly. And without regret.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


The advantage to getting up in the morning during the week to workout is that you get your day going right away and get a lot accomplished by the time you get to work in the morning. The disadvantage is that you end up waking up at 5:48am on a Sunday morning and can't fall back asleep.

So this morning, just like every other, I started my usual routine of checking the FB and Twitter from the warmth of my bed. Nothing super earth-shattering seemed to have happend in the 8 hours that I was asleep (yes, that means I fell asleep before 10pm on a Saturday night...) and then I saw a post that stopped me...

And it got me thinking...

And then I jumped on twitter and started quickly flipping through my feed. But a trending topic caught my eye...#ConfessionNight. So I hit the hashtag to snoop through them. Here are some of the things I found:

 ~ I may have emotional baggage.. but at least I can say I have loved someone.. May not have gone 2 plan but I dnt regret it
- I'm so sensative and insecure about myself.. 
 I understand my reality but just chose to ignore it Denial works well for me
 I hate catching feelings because I Don't Want To Get hurt. So I keep my guard up.
 i Keep it real at all times. If I lie, it's because I care. The truth may hurt
 I care too much about people who don't care enough about me, & I always put others first when I mean nothing to them.
 I honestly can't wait to fall in love. ❤
- I make mistakes and sin everyday just like everyone else, but even though I know God loves me, I don't see why at times...
 I'm not quite sure what I do, but I seem to be really good at pushing people away
 ..i don't cry. I've cried so much in the past that i don't really feel anymore. Only certain things can make me cry
 Getting outta bed is one of the hardest challenges of the day.
- I hate when people walk out of my life, but what I hate more is when they make it look so easy. 
 I want to go back to my ex
- Maybe I don't cry, but it hurts. Maybe I won't say, but I feel. Maybe I don't show, but I care. 
 I wonder what goes through your mind when someone mentions my name to you.
 I'm sick of being single, but I don't wanna get screwed over.
 I want my first marriage to be my last. ❤
 I don't know how I plan to spend my life .. I'm just hoping things fall into place
 I have anger issues and an attitude problem, but it's only because I get hurt easily. My hurtful words are my defense.
 I need to get closer to God, like, WAY closer. But I keep slipping. And I wanna make a change before it's too late :/
 God is the ONLY one who's been there through ALL of my struggles & I don't thank him enough .
 Christmas is my favorite holiday of all time, because for me it's all about God, my family, and us being together.
 2012 has been the worst year of my life
 I tend to push away everyone that actually cares about me.
 cuddling helps me sleep

Everyday I see literally over a hundred people. People at the gym, people who drive by me on my walk to work, people at work, people at the grocery store, people when I go out, people at volleyball, etc. And sometimes I wonder...what are the pretty smiles hiding? Why do the pretty eyes cry? Who is protecting the heart that's already been put through the wringer? And as I sat and read everyone's seemed like a lot of "confessions" were really people opening up about their insecurities.

And it reminded me of one of those late night conversations.

You know, the ones that usually happen between 2 and 5am after a couple of drinks where, for some reason or another, the honesty just seems to pour out? Where all the things that you hold inside everyday and keep to yourself have a safe place to be heard. Where the things you carry around with you everyday become a little lighter, just because someone takes the time to listen. And some of those things you've been carrying, you don't have to carry by yourself anymore. Where you look at the person across the table from you and realize they just get it. And you. And it's almost like you want to bottle that feeling up, because you realize that you're sitting across from a best friend and there's no where else you'd rather be at that very moment. And that years from now, even if life is different, you look back on that moment and smile.

P.S. I know it's been awhile since I've blogged, but I do have a good reason for the break in posts. Ask me if you really want to know. Now back to your regularly scheduled blogging...