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and life goes on

i have been so just discombobulated recently.  more than once, christian has come home to find me wasting away on the couch crying about not having a purpose while the house remains wrecked and there are literally a zillion things that could garner my attention.

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i have such a clear idea of what i want to do, of what i feel i am meant to do.  but i am so unsure of how to get there.  i have literally no trust in moving forward regarding it.  i also have a really hard time thinking i should get paid for it, that i'm valuable enough to be paid for it.  basically i want to be a life coach, someone who can look at the pieces of your life, where you are going wrong or stalling or not letting light in and say, "what can we do to get this under control?  what can we do to move forward?"  so many of us are just waiting for life to hand us what we think we deserve.  (did i just write that on my last post, i might've lol).

i've been over here trying to get pretty menial job after menial job.  and it's not that they aren't important or helpful or even necessary, i'm just not sure that's what i am supposed to be doing.  it is so hard for me to invest in myself.

Duke has a great and quick certification program.  it takes about two months to complete, you have to have a bachelors for it and it certifies you as a "Integrated Health Coach" basically I would be able to help people with areas that are blocking their life whether it be nutritionally or emotionally and help them achieve a better and more quality life.

but it's Duke and so it costs some money, like several thousand.  and it's not that i can't do or wouldn't be able to.  it's just hard to look at myself and say "brianna, you have the same resources and intelligence as a lot of other people and you have the resiliency of about 100 of them combined, you can do this"

i've always been a quitter.  and my life as a stay at home mom enabled that quite a bit.  if i didn't want to do something or it was hard or difficult, i just didn't.  i think that's why i have such a complicated relationship with how i feel about staying at home.  do i think it's valuable, especially in the first couple years of life for the child?  yes absolutely.  do i think it allows a woman to wither, especially if she is inclined that way anyway, yes absolutely.  (PSA PSA this is not all stay at home moms just me personally)

that's super hard to admit, so so so hard.  and i've been working on my website and applying to this program to Duke and i feel paralyzed, frozen.  what if people don't want to talk to me, what if they don't think i'm worthwhile?  what if i screw up my taxes?

and it's just all these logistical options.  you don't realize how easy it is to allow someone else to define you until you try to define yourself.


these are just all my deepest fears put out there.
and this is just me rambling, a lot of you read this but almost no one ever comments.  why would i think people would value my advice?
deep deep deep fears.


if you are reading this,

i am sorry that your life has started over, perhaps more times than you would care to admit.  i mean that, i really do.  i was not the first to grow up under the impressions or fantasy that my life would turn out similar to the disney princesses.  "they all lived happily ever after"  and on a similar note, i am not the first to see what's behind the curtain when that mirage falls apart...

happily

... until they got divorced
... until she got cancer
... until their kid is in trouble at school
... until you declared bankruptcy
... until he died
... until she lost her job



there seems to be this apology dance that we get to do when our life doesn't go the way people expect...


"yeah i know it's soon, but he's a great guy"
"yeah he does have two kids from his first wife, but honestly they're angels!"


and on the flip side of that, we all seem to have this innate chip that makes us confident we could be living everyone elses' life more effectively than they appear to be living it.  we conjure up ideas and rules, expectations and limits.

"i would never do long distance"
"she's crazy, he's a decade younger than him"
"i heard she's letting her kid drop out of college and move back home"

it's an immunity thing right?  we see these tricky or difficult circumstances and in a hope of inoculating ourselves against the difficulty of navigating it we place a boundary around it, a way to stay safe.  but there is no safety net, not inoculation against pain.



and there is no one more equipped to navigate your life than you.


i almost drowned in opinions about my life after jim.  and the crazy thing was, i had everything i needed to make the decisions within myself.  if you haven't seen moana, you should watch it, i can't even discuss how empowering it was and how much better it was than frozen... but these lyrics get me everytime

You are your father's daughter
Stubbornness and pride
Mind what he says but remember
You may hear a voice inside
And if the voice starts to whisper
To follow the farthest star
Moana, that voice inside is
Who you are


but listen, no one gets to define how many happy endings you get.  that is your choice and your choice alone.  
and no one gets to paint how those look but you.

so please for the love of God, stop trying to protect yourself against other people's lives, mistakes, or joys and just live your life, and live it well, without apology.

loving a widow





i remember swiping on bumble and one guy's profile said "please be over your ex" i kind of chuckled to myself and swiped left because Lord knows, i was never going to be over Jim.

dating as a widow is tricky, adding in kids is trickier.  there is no easy way to love a widow, to be with a widow, to play a role in her life.  it takes a really special person to say, "i acknowledge that hole in your heart and i know my puzzle piece will never fit the same, but i still want to be included" it takes a really special person to say, "i know you are hurting, i know you miss him, i want to hold you"

there are so many things that if you were to ask me i would confidently reply that i knew it all.  when i was married to jim, i emphatically told alayne she was dating wrong because she kept dating guys her own age or a little younger.

"young guys are players, i would never date a younger guy"

fast forward a couple years and i have suddenly found myself with a guy quite a bit younger than me.

before we started dating, i told christian, "listen, my life is set.  i've got my kids and i've got my life and there will be sacrifices made in a relationship, but most of them won't come from me.  you have to decide if that's what you want and if that's something you are ready for."

after spending so many years in my early twenties and teenage years doing my best to conform to the guy's or society's standards of what was deemed lovable, it was quite a turn to stand there and say "this is my life, get on board or get out"

i think a lot of single mom's can probably identify with that.  the changes that having children brings to your relationship dynamic, but none more keenly know this than a widow.  there is no every other weekend, no split custody or night's at dads, it is me, on all the time.

it is hard to describe to outsiders what a relationship looks like post-marriage.  hard to show what Christian means to our family, impossible to explain how we can be so close-knit or so sure in such a small amount of time.

all i can tell you is, those people out there, who love widows and kids who have lost a parent.  the men and women who are every day putting in work for a family that looks different and acts different than most, the men and women who say, i know you saw forever looking differently than what we have now, and i'm okay with that.  those people need to be acknowledged, to be celebrated, and to be thanked, because they are truly gifts from God.

and if you are widow, and you wonder how to accept love, be open to it, it's worth it.  i know forever didn't go as you planned, i know life dealt you a shitty hand, but let those eyes you have now be forever changed to focus on what is important, on what is to be gained and on what matters.  grief changes you forever, but it doesn't ruin you.

when life moves on

letting go i think is probably the most difficult of life lessons.  loose grip.  we see our friends and their choices and we think "oh i wouldn't do that" or "i would do that differently" and part of this is just our mind, our mind preparing for different circumstances, for making sure we are ready and prepared for what comes our way, although that is never truly possible.

i think ultimately at the end of the day we all live in a very broken and hurt world and we are all just trying to create our own happiness and find our own path.  and you have to allow others to find that path.

be supportive
show up
show compassion



to the dreamers

now, now comes the difficult part, being prepared for new dreams, dreams that i haven't thought of, dreams that will catch me by surprise, dreams that were not and are not part of my plan.  but even in living out new dreams, i will always have the gift of those five weeks.  the five weeks where i lived my heaven. 



that was written going on just a year ago.  it is weird and oddly comforting to have this journey documented somewhat.  especially as i find myself living those new dreams.  we are so limited with our comparisons, our striving to make life so black and white.  my thoughts, limited, "is my life better?" 

we always want to be achieving, making sure we are hitting that goal mark.  i am not set adrift as i once was.  actually last night i looked around a table of my friends and realized, how happy i was.  how happy these people made me, what beautiful and wonderful things we had coming our way.  

what do my goals look like? 
what do i want? 
what is it that sparks my soul?

also this is a total side note, but did you know that it can be august 3, and you still may not have heard from grad school.  wtf state.  i am assuming, probably correctly, that i did not get in for this year.  i also take that information with the knowledge that it could mean next year i'll be in a different space, a different school, and i'll think to myself "thank god i didn't get in last year"

that happens too often right.  i have all of these ideas and i don't know, not many are coming to fruition, i feel daunted by the next step.  scared to spend money for education, unsure of where money is coming from.  

i started looking at houses recently and it honestly sent me into a complete tailspin.  i feel immobilized, striving to find the BEST solution, the best option, so i run around frenzied and end up  not being able to make a decision at all.  we can so easily get caught into the next thing that i find myself forgetting that i actually quite like where i live and the convenience and my kids school.  

i'm trying so hard to find the right thing maybe i'm missing that for now i am in the right thing.

(deep breath) in and out.  in and out.
reminder, bria, the world existed for years and years without the chaos of your mind adding its chatter to it
reminder, the world will continue to exist for years and years when your mind ceases to contribute

deep breath (in and out)
in and out
it's the beginning of the end
the end of the beginning
the prime of their life

we quantify and qualify
we measure and judge
as if 
as if we are the gods
looking down
preparing the peoples for their lives
how long did they live? 
too short, taken too soon

who are we to judge?
what is soon, what is long?
what comes next?
none know except those who have been

at times i long to join them
at times i grow so heavy
(DEEP BREATH)
in and out, in and out
1.2.3
what do you have?
look at it in the eyes
feel the arms around you

what is here now?
is it good?
is it worthy?
does it have value?
in and out.
stay.
stay present my dear.

when you try to move mountains

i've been trying recently.  trying with great ferocity to force puzzle pieces into place.  to announce to others "I've figured it out, I've got it under control, don't worry about me!"

Addy is turning into quite a swimmer, my parents were visiting over the weekend and they were teaching her how to float.  "relax" they would say, "don't tense up, just relax" that's when we float.  fast forward to sunday morning, worship leader shared a story about trying to move the mountains and God just kind of being like "okay, listen can you just get out of the way so i can do my job?"

my focus has been off recently, i've been very inward focused, trying to coordinate my rubiks cube to my specifications, "okay to get yellow over there, let's move the green" but my efforts have been frustrated.  i've been searching for meaning when there is already meaning to be had.

today i am thankful.  thankful for fresh starts even after messing up.
for the joy in my heart that can only come from my creator

you guys, i have joy.  true joy, alongside the sadness.  and it comes when i relax, when i *float*

here are the things i don't have-

a decision from my grad school program
a full time job
benefits
a husband (LOL)
close friends in NC that are also moms
things that i thought would have fallen into place right now

and yet, i can sit here, and think i am joyful.  i am content, i pray for contentment guys.  i pray for joy in my circumstances.  i pray for a grateful heart that isn't too selfish to give back what has been given to me.

i don't want to miss the view because i'm too busy looking at the ground.
thank you God for second chances.
there is so much more sharing that goes on when it is difficult, is there not?  it's been a jumble recently.  


on sunday, alayne and i were sitting together and i comment "i don't know what i am doing" 
she replies, "this afternoon?"
i say, "with my life"

and never have i had such an organic interaction that is so representative of our two personalities.  i turned thirty on saturday and while many i think experience this introspective scope of life at thirty, i've been doing that my whole life.  

i mean, i think i was 25 or 26 when i looked up what day of the week my thirtieth would be so i would know when to plan my party.  this is my life, my mind can be a truly exhausting place to be.  i talked to my counselor about it and he stated that when you experience trauma or loss at an early age, it can be extremely difficult to have that immortality viewpoint that so many young people can hold on to.  while there is value in this for me, it creates a certain weight to each day.  a certain knowledge that time is so finite and what truly matters.

it's hard for me to watch tv without feeling guilty
it's hard for me to just relax without guilt

i have a constant sense of "WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR ONE WILD AND PRECIOUS LIFE!"
the answer of course is constantly, not enough.  

i realised recently, that this past year, i have put an immense amount of pressure on myself to make their deaths mean something.  the weight of that, of bringing meaning to the death's of two of my immediate family members has started to crush me.  i am following these rabbit trails and realising nothing seems to be adding up.

i am tired.  exhausted really.  
when everything happened, there was this spotlight that was thrust on me.  it was weird and bizarre but it created this complexity of "yes, this all must mean something, i must need to share it"

now the dust has settled, and i realise, i need to withdraw for a little bit.  i need to focus on my kids for a little bit, i want to be normal for a little bit.  i want to cultivate what is placed in front of me right now, because it's really, really good.

zooming the lens a bit, to what is framed in my view.