Identity // Single Life

Hi Kath,

I'm curious what your advice would be to your single college aged self. Idk if you were single then...

But I am. I have been in love twice. The last one, very unhealthy but at the point of engagement. Thankfully, he cheated (as I always suspected). I say thankfully because it God lovingly grabbing my shoulders and shaking me out of the trance I was in.

I am safe now. However, like you.... I am an anxious artist. I have so much inside that seems impossible to get out. My biggest dream is to be a mom and a wife.

Not for validation or because I think that's what it takes to be happy. I overcame that lie years ago. But it is a pure desire... and I live a bit in fear God won't let me find something that is what "I want". Because, will I ever be secure enough in my identity as a daughter of a King and able to trust Him enough where I can handle a family, let alone a boyfriend.

That was a rant. But what are your words of advice to me... someone who has these fears. Someone who has been cheated on and is dealing with the repercussions of being single and feeling unlovable. But also someone who desires and is on the path to being confident purely in who she is.

Sorry that was extremely vague and there wasn't really a specific questions. But what is God putting on your mind as you read this message???

p.s. I have a blog as well if you're curious :) banannaprints.com

Signed,

Anna Mae

Sweet Anna Mae,

Girl, you are WISE. I completely get that feeling of ‘being in a trance’ in a relationship. Sometimes it’s just so so hard to see outside of the bubble of the moment we’re in, and into the bigger picture of things. I suppose that’s why we need God so dang bad. He sees it all when we can’t see any of it, and then He lovingly guides our confused little human feet. I’m so glad He guided you to where you are. Even though it feels confusing and painful, I think where you’re at is a really beautiful place.

For most of college I was in a relationship, we were best buds, and pretty much inseparable. Then the summer right before senior year, he broke up with me, out of nowhere. And suddenly the perfect life I thought I had was ripped right out from under me, and I was faced with the really ugly realization that none of it was perfect at all. The following months were a whole lot of rebuild, and a whole lot of reintroducing me to myself. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade that season for the world, as a result of it, I got to grow and expand in ways I never would have had I stayed in that relationship!

From where I stand now, I can confidently say that the season of singleness following that breakup was the most confusing, but the most fruitful. Which is where I think you’re at, my girl. I think that in this season you’re in, God is wanting to show you things about yourself that you’ve never seen and carry you into moments and encounters that will reveal to you that where He has you right now is EXACTLY where He wants you. Something that I’ve come to know about God is that He cares a ton about the things we care about. God knows how much you want to be a mama and have a family - and I can just picture how giddy He is knowing the plans He has for you.

I hope this lent any sort of help to you or that at the very least, made you feel like you’re not alone. I am for you!

With Love,

Kath





DIGNIFYING THE STRUGGLES

Hey Kath,

Super cool thing. So I got introduced to you insta-page a few months ago by a friend i.e. I was on her phone randomly doing the insta-story stalk (is it called stalking, if it's out there for you to see? - I think either way: I have no shame haha.).

Long story short: your openness and words really really resonated with me (like really).

This year has been extremely strange for me. I've been following Jesus for most of my life, but this year (being my third year in university), I finally stepped out and joined a church, started doing missions: And I can't explain it, but my heart was lit on fire. The Lord rid me of a lot of confusion and changed my heart in ways that i know I couldn't have changed by forcing a "positive attitude". I saw so much promise in my church, and I finally felt like I was realising who God had created me to be, and walking in that.

Fast-forward a few months I had found myself in a situation where I was under a lot of pressure at university (I thought i was going to fail -ahh it was tough), but I'm a person who has really high expectations of myself. And for that time I completely neglected all of my humanly needs, and just studied.

Spoiler alert: It did not turn out well.

I had all these hectic emotions and no idea how to process them, and my mental health spiraled, but most importantly I had lost sight of Jesus.

I couldn't understand how we are promised joy and peace, and yet there were none of these things where I was at. I was praying and declaring and worshiping, and still they were yet to be found. For most of this year I would say that I have been dealing with anxiety and depression, and it has kind of reached the point where I had no idea who I was, and I for reals did not know if God was even real anymore.

I still don't know who I am at this stage, but I've tried for really long now, to discover that I am seriously just a really ugly-kind-of-dysfunctional without God, and I actually do not think I will survive without Him.

Right now I guess I just need advice on how you've turned back to Jesus after letting doubt, and mental health override your belief; how to do mental health with Jesus: and a really important one for me: How to be authentic with struggles without being a victim to them.

Especially authenticity with struggles with mental in the church; and how to try dignify the struggles.

I feel like I've almost lost everything: my friends, family, potential church relationships, myself, and I don't really know how to live again.

But I know it's only possible with God, and that I want to.

Wowzer congratulations to you if you read this Kath. And thank you.

All the best things

Cindy

My dear Cindy,

Wow. I feel like I just saw a reflection of the inside of my own heart through your words. I want to start by saying THANK YOU for sharing a snippet of your story with me. You are so so brave. I also want to encourage you by saying, the fact that you are striving to get better and longing to be is a sign that God is moving in your heart. I have found, sometimes when it feels like things are the worst they’ve ever been, God is doing the most work behind the scenes that he has ever done in your life. I can’t even tell you how many times I have looked around at all the rubble laying around me, convinced I don’t have the strength to, and said “God when are you doing to pick all of this up?” And heard nothing. But what i am coming to know, in bits and pieces, is that God is saying I am strong enough, and to pick up even one tiny little piece, even if I don’t know what to do with it once I’m holding it. And in the small act of me picking up the rubble one piece at a time, that’s when God begins to work. It is in the act of my weak shaky hands simply trying, that His strength doubles and begins to transform some things in me.


I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I too, am still trying to figure out how to rely on Jesus and trust Him after what can oftentimes feel like unending pain. What I do know, is that it has to start over everyday. Especially when it feels hardest to. Each morning when you wake up you have to stretch out your arms and extend them to God, all of your gunk, all of your fear, all of your mistakes - just toss it all at God, He’ll catch it. God doesn’t need us to be put together, He needs us to be honest.


I am also coming to know that in accepting that I still feel far away from God sometimes, but that I know I can’t do any of it without Him, and vocalizing it, so many people come out of the woodworks saying, “me too.” Vulnerability breeds vulnerability. And we are all in this humanness thing together. My pain might not look exactly like your pain. But we can all find common ground when we just keep choosing to show up, over and over again.

I love ya. I’m proud of you. I believe in you. God loves you SO much. He sees every tiny piece of you and He is piecing your heart back together as we speak.

With Love,

Kath





BREAKUPS

Dear Kath,

I know you have already answered many questions for those that have been broken by past relationships, but I have thought of writing to you for over a week now and wanted to reach out. I am currently working through the loss of a 4-year relationship from high school into college. We pretty much grew up together and were best friends. His golden words for the breakup were ‘you deserve better’, and I have picked apart the conversation we had over the breakup and have mulled over it. And now, I have heard that he is cultivating a subtle romantic-friendship only after a few months of him leaving me. It makes me question if there is something wrong with me or if she has something that I don’t, but she is also known for ‘talking’ to a lot of boys. I have bitterness getting in the way and am having trouble owning my happiness. Is there anything I can do? Any words to change my perspective on this? Thank you.

Signed,

Bitter Sweet

Hi friend,

I’m glad you did write! It doesn’t matter how many people have written in about broken hearts, because each one is so so entirely different. First, I want to say, I’m sorry. I know it hurts. I know it’s so confusing. I know that you don’t know which way is up and which way is down right now. It’s easy for people to say, “You’re better off!” “You’re going to find someone way better!” “This is how it’ supposed to be!” But those aren't the things you need to hear right now. Sometimes in the midst of the hurt and heartache, you just need someone to sit down with you in it and say, “Yeah, this sucks.” Because it does! But it won’t always. And that is the piece I need you to hang onto out of all of this. If you take away one thing from this tiny bit of advice from a stranger, let it be, it won’t always suck, but it’s okay to feel like it does right now.

Second, every breakup is hard, but it’s always harder when you were bestfriends, because then you feel like you’re losing both your boyfriend and your best bud. BUT, I do think that it can oftentimes be really healthy for relationships that you grow up in to come to a close when you’re young. It can be so hard to see the bigger picture when you’re in the middle of the relationship, and sometimes when you grow up with someone in a relationship, you end up stunting each others growth without even noticing. You just get so comfortable with each other and attached, and you can miss opportunities that will challenge you and stretch you! I think that’s probably what he meant by “you deserve better”. At least I think that’s all you should take from it. Don’t pull his words to pieces, don’t overanalyze. Either way, I think you should approach this wobbly and painful season as a gift. Look at it as an opportunity to dive into who you are and who you want to be! Sometimes hard seasons are the reset that a human heart needs. And in the meantime, cry when you need to! Talk to your friends and your family a ton! Pour yourself into things that you really love! Talk to God! I believe in you.

With Love,

Kath





School-related stress

 

Hey Kath,

(is it okay if I call you that?). First off, I wanted to say your writing is some of the most heartfelt, closest to home writing I have ever read. It never fails to reach me where I am, to make me feel a little less alone. So thank you for that. Seriously.

I actually wanted to ask if you have any advice regarding school stress. It’s not usually super hard for me, but I’ve fallen a bit behind, and although it’s relatively easy for me, I tend to become perfectionist and beat myself up if my grades are anything less than that. Sometimes the fear of experiencing that becomes paralyzing, to the point where I can’t even start things because I’m so afraid I’m not capable of doing them well—or at all. I don’t really know how this whole thing works, but you seem to be a thoughtful and kind person and I don’t have many friends who I can talk to. Thanks again for being you.
 

Signed,

Alison C

 

 

Sweet Alison,

Whoa. Thank you. Thank you for those words - That very reason is why I write, out of the hope that someone finds a hand to hang onto for a little while. I’m so incredibly glad that I get to be that for you in this moment.

I relate to that exact emotion (or something incredibly similar) all too well. The feeling of being out of control of an outcome almost to a point of numbness, immobility. It. Is. Debilitating. Although my experience with this feeling has not particularly been school related, I want you to know - I get it. And you are not alone or crazy in feeling the way you feel, so rest in that.

As far as dealing - Unfortunately, the answers are always much simpler than we wish for them to be. And that painfully annoying simple answer here is that you just have to start. You’ve got to sit yourself down at a desk, on your bed, nestled into a cozy corner of a hectic coffee shop, and breathe. The breathing thing, it’s IMPORTANT. I too often find myself caught amidst a tornado of panic, simply from forgetting to breathe. It sounds monotonous and obvious, but trust me on that one. Second, you have to rewrite the narrative you’re telling yourself in your head. Stop telling yourself that you will fail, that you’ll come up short, that you won’t be enough. Instead, start telling yourself that you will finish the task at hand and that you will do it the very best you can, and even if you fail, it will be okay, because you’ll know that you tried your absolute hardest. And that you breathed.

Sending so much love your way, my girl. You’ve got it.

Yours Truly, 

The Damsel

 

LIFE?

Hi Kath,

I just came across your blog/writing and truthfully your words make my heart feel something, like every feeling I have not been able to put into words has come to life. So thank you. I love to write as well and reading your words truly inspire me to write down every word, poem, or idea that pops into my head.

 

I am a freshman in college, but honestly do not feel happy here. I feel stuck, like my creativity is being put into a box. I also feel stuck in my faith as well, as if freedom with God is on the other side of all this fear I'm feeling. On top of that, my parents are going through a divorce. I have become a sad, bitter, lonely, angry person, someone that truly isn't who I am. I have an amazing boyfriend who is loving me through all of this, but somedays I feel so unworthy of his (and His) love because I can't love him back when my heart is shattered into a million pieces.

I always think about leaving school, going to do my own thing. But the opinions of others weigh my heart down. I can't help but think about all of the things my parents will say, how blessed I am to go to school and how I shouldn't let go of my scholarship, how I'm ruining my life. I love my parents but I know there's more to life than sitting in my room doing homework all day.

How do I find freedom? freedom from people's opinion, freedom from this world, freedom with Jesus? How do I find confidence, bravery? I know I'll never have it all figured out, but I know that there a beautiful life filled of wonder is mine for the taking.

Thanks a million <3

Signed,

lil stuck girl

 

Lil stuck gal,

First, you are a pure ray of sunshine, thank you for your kind, kind words! Second, stuck is the lousiest thing to feel. I’m there with you. There’s nothing small talk pretty about being stuck, about sitting down at a table with someone and saying, “I don’t feel certain about anything.” Let me be the first to tell you, you are not alone.

I do not want to downplay your pain, or brush past any of the things you are going through - becasue those things and those feelings, they are VALID. But I do need you to know that no part of you is obligated to sit and drown in them. You are bigger than them. And here’s the thing, God is sitting next to you, hands stretched out, desiring to hold those things for you. You are not meant to hold them all on your own.

This is the suckiest thing to hear when all you want is a concrete answer, but, truthfully, the only way through is through. The only way to be brave is to be brave. You find freedom when you tear the bottoms of your feet off of the glue keeping them on the ground, and take small step after small step. You have that courage in you, dear girl.

Yours Truly,

The Damsel

 

BROKEN & BITTER

Hi,

i love your words & mind so i thought i'd come to you with this. i was dating my best friend for about 3 years and i poured my entire heart and soul into him. however i still kept a balance with my love life with jesus, friends, and family as well. however, it was really unhealthy and me being a crazy optimistic, only expected things to get better ( month after month after month) and i could fix everything on my own. oh how wrong i was. i am known to be an extremely joyful person, like it scares people sometimes haha. anyway when the relationship began to make me more bitter & sad the boy kept threatening to leave me , whenever i told him how i was feeling. fake playing happy is so draining but i didn't want to lose him. about a month ago i did, we broke up, and i know i know i know it's for the better- he really wasn't the one and i deserve so much more...but i can't help but feel angry and bitter towards him and his parents (long story) but anyway, i hate it. i hate being angry and bitter and it's so foreign to me and suddenly now i have all this drama in my life and i've been taking it out on people close to me. i know it's wrong, i hate it. but i don't know what to do!!!!

i keep praying and reading scripture and talking to mentors but this has rooted in me and it's causing me to hate my no longer boyfriend and making me angry at people connected to the situation.

please please help, i want to be truly joyful again. ),:

 

Hey my girl,

Gosh. Heart rooted ache is the hardest to summarize in words. I am so proud of you for doing such a beautiful job of it. The simple fact that you are able to vocalize how you were feeling, how you got to where you’re feeling right now, and how you want to feel is SO GOOD, and so healthy for your heart. I want you to know that letting yourself feel the pain is really important. You need to feel it. God is doing some really special work through it.

There is no magic arrangement of words that makes any of this anger or bitterness go away. The only thing that will make any of it dissipate is the posture of your heart, and the most challenging, unapproachable, foreign word for us humans; forgiveness. You’ve got to forgive him, girl. You’ve got to forgive his family. And you’ve got to forgive yourself.

I can’t tell you much, but I can tell you that you will feel joy again. And you will feel it even bigger and louder than before.

Yours truly,

The Damsel

 

 

 

 

 

Validation

Hi Kath! I'm so excited to be writing to you. I feel like I kind of know you - eeep! Writing is cool that way. I stumbled upon your Instagram and have been following for a while. Thank you for being authentic, being yourself, and sharing it with the world. Reading your words has helped me start to find my voice in this quarter life post college identity crisis. You're awesome.

The reason I'm writing is because I'd love to hear your advice. One of my deepest struggles is that I never feel good enough. No matter how many times I tell myself, my heart just never believes it. I've realized that growing up, I never felt loved for who I actually am. I felt loved when I acted like the person my parents wanted me to be. I have a nagging sense of shame and I never feel like I measure up. I catch myself constantly acting like the person I think other people want me to be. I'm caught in the lie that I have to choose between being myself and being loved. I crave validation like I crave breathing air.

I ache to be free to be myself - but the thing is, I'm not even sure who I really am. Do you have any advice for me, about how to find my worth and validation within myself? Sending so much love and gratitude.

Signed,

Anonymous

HEY YOU,

Wow. This message makes me so giddy. I love that words have this ability to make us feel together. And they create this passage we can go through to get to know people in a deep, precious way. It can show us things about a person that you may never know by simply talking to them.

Yes. I feel everything that you are explaining so deeply. And I see you. I, too, have been there in your exact spot, searching. My girl, listen to me - You are enough. It could sound like the most cliche thing in the world, but it just is not, because it is so overwhelmingly true.

The really tricky thing about figuring out who you are is that you almost have to drop the concept of it entirely. You cannot allow yourself to be you freely if you are spending so much time searching for what that is. The moments that you are the most purely yourself are the ones in which you’ve completely forgotten about outside influences. The moments you are so immersed in being alive that everything else gets put on pause. My advice would be this, find the things that you really really love, the things that you lose yourself in while you’re doing them, the things that carry you to a new way of being alive. You are the most you when you’re immersed amongst those things, because without even noticing, you let go of doubt, you let go of isolation. And you pick up new pieces of yourself.

One of the most painful things about being human is that we are always going to tune into lies of the enemy. We are always going to perk our ears up when someone tells us we aren’t good enough. It is in our nature, and we simply cannot avoid it. But what we can do is hear them, and choose not to listen. We can always choose to not listen.

So, my girl, in a world that is always going to tell you what to be, turn around and tell them what you are.

Yours Truly,

The Damsel

Cheater

Hi Damsel,

I was in a 6 month relationship with a guy and fell in love. Like a deep, hard love. I have never loved anyone in such a way before. Last weekend, I woke up around 2 AM and he was still awake - the questions of me wondering why he threw his phone on the bed to hide it as soon as he realized I woke up made me question.. So, what did I do? I figured out his password the next morning in which I found many messages on FB messenger & Tinder with multiple girls. About three weekends ago, he had a girl over when I was out with my girls. That night I woke up, he was messaging a girl about hanging out with her that weekend when he knew I had plans to be with my girls - he is sitting there, constantly, 24/7 messaging me and asking for me back. That he is sorry. He does it because he is insecure. I don't know what to do. He is threatening death. Please help. xoxo

Signed,

Alter Ego

Hey there,

My sweet, sweet girl. I am so sorry. I am sorry that this man was too blind to see the precious gift he had in you. That he took your beautiful love and threw it around like it was confetti at a child's birthday party. He does not deserve you. You are bold, and rare, and good, and worthy of a love that makes you feel alive. That is not what this is. I know that it’s so hard to see right now, it is so hard to see through what your heart feels. What you felt and what you feel right now are both valid. You have a right to feel exactly what you feel. Always. It’s easy right now to think that he is everything you want. How could you not? You invested so much of yourself into him, into caring for him, into loving him.

When you love someone, it’s natural to think this threshold of love is as far as you can go. But just think, if you could love him this much, think of how much you you will be able to love someone who treats you right, who knows the special heart that you will entrust him with.

My girl, one day you will look back and you will shake your head. You will say with your chin held high, “I am worth so much more.” You are.

So for now, pick up your heart, your battered and confused heart, hold it in your arms, and walk away. You owe him nothing. It is going to be okay.

Yours Truly,

The Damsel

Hello pretty girl!

Before I even begin, I must say, from the first piece I read of yours I fell in love. Your thoughtful words have brought so much healing to my crazy soul and makes me feel 20x less alone. You truly have an astonishing gift. I find myself in your words (and your style...I would wear denim every day if I had the choice). So thank you, thank you for your vulnerability of sharing the world your raw thoughts. Never give up on that, ever.

As for myself, I have always been somewhat of a "writer" mostly with music. Slowly I have strayed away from that when I took a trip to Banff and indulged myself into climbing, minimal showers, hostels and meeting such inspiring people from all over. I found a new love for writing, expressing and being myself. This is also around the time I came across your instagram. Perfect timing. I am however, having trouble on where to start. I fear my words aren't enough, I want to leave someone speechless and with hope...just as you've done for me. I have thought about starting a blog, I have so many pieces I wish share, but don't know how. Any thoughts?

- Anyways, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read this. You're truly a gifted human, I like to think if we met we would be great friends! Who knows, maybe one day! I've learnt life is pretty unpredictable these days!!

Signed,

Just another girl Xo

My denim twin,

GOSH. Girl. This gives me straight up chills. God has such a beautiful way of connecting hearts through mutual human experience, especially our brokenness. I’m so grateful to connect with souls like you. It’s so special.

Let me start by telling you- YOUR WORDS ARE ENOUGH. They are so enough. The really special thing about writing is that there are no rules. There is no instruction manual on how to feel. The only way to start is just to dig into your heart and grab onto something that hurts, something that gives you a little pinch and reminds you why you’re alive. And then put it on paper. Spew out your inner most feelings. When you do that, it means something, and it means something because you said it.

The other really magical thing about writing is that it means one thing to you and might mean something entirely different to someone reading it. But there you both are, human hearts, broken, messy, and feeling.

The best time to start a blog is when you think you don’t know how to start a blog. That’s when the raw stuff shines through. If you sit around waiting for when you know everything, I promise you you’ll be sitting around for too long. SO START THAT BLOG. Share your beautiful wonderful heart. Let people feel because of it.

Do it afraid. Do it raw. Do it human.

Yours Truly,

The Damsel

Compliments, Cruddy Boys, and a Punny Alter Ego

Hello Damsel!

I've been reading your blog for quite some time and have come to the conclusion that you speak to my soul completely. You have a way of painting with words that is utterly delightful! Even though I do not actually know you, I feel like I'm talking to an old friend when I read your writing. So I'm hoping you can help me out!

I am kind of cruddy at the whole relationship thing. I have a history of settling for poor treatment from the men I've dated. Relationships and almost-relationships, I am not very good at picking them. Maybe it's because I don't think it can be better for me, or because I always work so hard to see that good in others and that I make big problems in to small ones just to make it all seem good.

As I move into the real world of big adult things, I can't help but think about when I am going to find "the one." I want to know that good relationships exist and that it is possible to be completely head over heels in love, the way my little hopeless romantic heart wants it to be. So how do you stay patient? How can I stop giving the wrong people the most chances? How do you leave it up to God when you've had such bad luck in the past? I believe He has a plan, but how can I be reassured? I've got a lot of love to give and I just want to be able to give it to someone who will give it back.

PS Not to be weird but I hope the universe works it out so we can be friends someday. You seem like a lovely gal and an excellent type of friend!

Signed,

Anon A. Moose

My girl,

WHOA. Let me start by saying, SAME. I have battled with such similar things in my past. I’m optimistic to a fault. Meaning, I find the last tiny spec of good in people even if I have to hold up a microscope to see it. This has brought a lot of really good, unexpected people into my life, but it has also been a big downfall for me. As odd as it may sound, seeing the good in people can be dangerous. It can blind you entirely to the bad things, to the things that you should be protecting your precious heart from.

I am such a hopeless romantic and for so long I wondered when my big moment would come. I’d seek out little moments and read into EVERYTHING, just thinking that I was the one in control of finding my person. But, as He should, God gave me a good ole slap across the face and said, nah, I got this one girl.

I by no means consider myself a relationship guru. LOL. That’s a funny thought. But I do have my fair share of lessons that I can use as teaching points. I could sit here and tell you a lot of them, but I think the only one that you really need to hear is this; It will be easy. It will fall into your lap in a time that you’re least expecting it. You will suddenly feel lighter. Nothing about your relationship with God will be compromised, it will be strengthened, challenged. There won’t be any firey hoops to jump through or obstacle courses to memorize. You’ll just wake up one day and you’ll be there, in this spot that you never could have tried to envision. And you’ll be content. I know that something as vague as this feels like the worst answer you could get, but I mean it so deeply. And I know with so much certainty that He has something SO GOOD FOR YOU. WOW.

P.s. I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND. Let’s do this thing.

Yours Truly,

The Damsel

Real Talk

I have this dream. In my dream I have a blog like yours, and I inspire people with my words and my realness. In this dream I express myself in a way that can touch other people.
Like all dreams, mine has a roadblock. I love to write, I write poetry, stories and basically everything. But lately, I've been.....having a hard time writing. And it's difficult for me to explain why. I think it's mostly because I'm afraid for some reason. Afraid that I'll hate what I create, that it won't be any good, that it will fall short of what I truly want to express. That I have nothing valuable to offer the world. And it's crippling me. What advice do you have? How can I keep writing even when I feel like it's awful? I don't want to give up on my dream. Could you tell me a little bit about your journey with writing? Thank you so much, your blog is wonderful and you have filled me with a hunger to create and find honesty today. 
Love,

Signed,

Olivia

My fellow writer,

YAY! This message makes me all kinds of giddy. I can't wait for your words to inspire people like they've inspired me today.

I'm going to start with a quote that hits home for me on writing;

“Sometimes you get a line, a phrase, sometimes you’re crying, or it’s the curve of a chair that hurts you and you don’t know why, or sometimes you just want to write a poem, and you don’t know what it’s about. I will fool around on the typewriter. It might take me ten pages of nothing, of terrible writing, and then I’ll get a line, and I’ll think, “That’s what I mean!” What you’re doing is hunting for what you mean, what you’re trying to say. You don’t know when you start.”

That’s what writing has been for me- the key to discovering the things I wanted to say but didn’t know how to. At a really really young age I started writing, I’d fill journals upon journals full of made up stories written in chicken scratchings. I’d become make believe people and I’d write in their voice, I’d make up rhymes and little songs and plays. I’d write whatever came to mind and I think eventually I realized in about as intelligent of a way a little kid can realize, that all of that added life to my days. I’d set down my journal and somehow feel like I’d discovered something, like I gained something new. And I was hooked. 

Writing took a different form for me in high school when I was diagnosed with depression. After that, writing wasn’t as much make believe and rhymes, it was a life raft keeping me from drowning. Being the happy person I am, I couldn’t make sense of any of the utter loneliness and sadness I was feeling. The only times I saw glimpses of clarity were when I was writing. Even if the words didn’t make much sense, even if they were smudged by tears and lost their order- I learned something in each of them. I picked up a new piece of strength with each comma and because of writing I knew that things were somehow going to be okay. 

Nowadays, my writing is still all of those things to me. It keeps me afloat, it gives me a place to be 300% myself, a place to be an utter mess and a place to act like I’m put together too. As soon as I’m finished writing and I read what I just wrote, I say to myself, “YES. That’s what I was trying to say.” I am able to articulate my actual heart in a way that I believe only writing has the ability to do. 

The best advice that I could give you is this;

When you think you don’t have anything important to say, you do. You always do. And people need to hear what you have to say, they’ll be so much better from it. 

When you think your writing is bad, it might be. Keep writing. If I quit writing when my writing was bad I never would have started writing to begin with. It’s always going to be bad, but that’s how you plow through to the gold, to the stuff that’s going to change you, and change others.

When you’re scared to write, write. That’s when the best paths to bravery uncover themselves.  

Now go write and change those hearts, my girl!

Yours Truly,

The Damsel

Fear, Anxiety, and a Sleepy Soul

I want to stop being so damn scared. How do I be brave? How do I choose something to be brave about? I want to escape.

Signed,

Fearful

 

Hey you brave human,

Let me just be the first to tell you that you are brave. You are brave because you recognize you need a change, that you can’t keep being scared. Coming to terms with that takes bravery on its own. So many people get so comfortable in their fear, they wear it like a safety blanket so they don’t have to confront anything new or acknowledge that the way they’re living is destructive. They’re too scared to even admit they’re scared, so they dress up their fear as all sorts of other ugly things like judgement and criticism and anger. They use these things as weapons for their fear. It’s their way of trying to make other people just as scared as they are. But it never works, it always backfires. The only way to defeat fear is to defeat it. 

And you are.

Your fear doesn’t make you weak, masking it does. Openly shouting out, “I’m terrified and I don’t know what to do”- that is what makes you strong. Surrendering what you don’t know, that is what makes you strong. 

Do this for no one but yourself, choose you to be brave about. Be brave about loving yourself. Be brave about walking into a room filled with people and not having a second thought about who is looking. Be brave about admitting you are scared, we all are. Be brave about actively choosing to be brave. That’s all it takes. 

I’m proud of you. 

Yours Truly,

The Damsel

Painful beautiful relationships

It's not been long since I've gotten out of a relationship. Some would call it abusive, emotionally, and I think that's accurate. The ups and downs were punishing. Some days I didn't feel loved and some days it was hard for me to feel like loving another was useless. 

But then there were these days, the good days, that somewhat made it all feel good, almost like it was worth it. Don't get me wrong, my lover wasn't abusing me. Just the way our feelings were hot and cold, the relationship was the one inflicting the abuse. It's hard for me to look back and say that "it was so good for me to leave, this is better for me long term" etc. because I had so much invested in this person and the good days were truly good!

I guess my question is, how do you know? How do you know when to call it? Is it when you have more bad days than good? When you wake up thinking what if? This has been really hard. Any help you can offer is 100% more help than I have right now. 


Signed, 

Trapped in my thoughts

I am a hopeless romantic. I believe 800% in the rom com type of love, the easy peasy kindergarten giddy kind of love. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you this genuinely a couple years ago, because of course I would have loved to think I believed in that type of love, but I just didn’t know if it actually existed. Then I had it. I had that kind of love, that love that was like cracking your neck, like coming home after a really long road trip- it just fit. We understood each other like we’d been friends in a past life. Our flaws got along really well and our fears talked to each other like they were making a peace offering. But we weren’t the right versions of ourselves for our love to stay. I didn’t have my ducks in a row, neither did he. So it fell through the cracks. 

And since then I have done a lifetimes worth of thinking about love. And I’ve come to these little realizations; 

First; The base that love stands on has everything to do with you and close to nothing to do with the person you are in love with. No matter how perfect of a fit you are with someone, no matter how right timing and lifestyles and morals and characters line up- if you aren’t completely sure of all your stuff, things will fall apart without you even noticing that they do. 

Second; God. He’s gotta be in the picture. If He’s not, He’s just sitting on the sidelines watching you stack everything else in front of Him and counting down until it all comes tumbling. You can’t rely on a significant other the way you rely on God, it just doesn’t work that way, and it never will. 

Third; Relationships are easier than we like to convince ourselves that they are. I think somewhere along the way we were taught to blame other people for our shortcomings. That’s sort of our first resort, somethings going wrong in our lives and heaven forbid it actually be something in our control of fixing. No, instead we put it on someone else and convince ourselves they’re the cause of it. When you walk away from that lie and you own up to all of your own stuff, your significant other does the same and the two of you can openly admit that you’re both pieces of crap sometimes, your jaw will drop at how quickly everything else falls into place. 

Fourth; We’re human. Nothing about us is perfect, we are innately flawed and more often than not we just kind of suck. So of course a relationship is never going to be a walk in the park. But with every ounce of my being I believe that relationship was created to better us, to make us believe in the really really good things. So if you’re in a relationship that doesn’t bring you those things and seems to bring you more of the opposite, it’s not right. Navigating a good vs. bad relationship is a heck of a lot easier than we make it seem.

If you feel lighter and kinder and you suddenly crave being a better verson of who you are, hold onto that relationship. If you don’t, walk away. You deserve to know about all those good things. You deserve the rom com type of love.

Yours Truly,

The Damsel

I had a realization

I had a realization last night... I had a friend who was really hurting and I really felt deeply led to help him. Out of his hurt he was really emotionally aggressive and almost abusive and Its been almost a year since I've seen him and months since we have talked. It still hurts me a lot, and last night I had a realization as to why. I did everything I could to be obedient to God and love "the unlovable" but somehow it never crossed my mind that he wouldn't love me/care about me back. :( How the heck do I heal from this? It still feels so raw and it makes me feel crazy when I know he's in town. I don't regret pouring myself out like a drink offering for him but man do I hate what he did to me and how long it has taken me to open myself up like I did for him for others now. I feel like damaged goods.

Signed,

Damaged Goods

First and foremost I need you to repeat after me: You. Are. Not. Damaged. Goods. One more time, You. Are. Not. Damaged. Goods. You are one of Gods flashlights. As followers of Him, we are called to bring his light to the darkness of the world and the people with lost hearts. However, it is not our job to transform them. And that is so hard to swallow sometimes, especially when it’s someone we care so deeply about who is in deep pain and we want to take that away. But it’s not our job to decide the direction they end up going. What we can do is show up, set God in front of them and walk away, but what happens after that is up to God.

You have been given a special gift of empathy. It’s one of the most valuable things you can embody but it’s heavy to carry around. It’s no small responsibility caring for other peoples hearts more than you care for your own, you end up lugging around everyones messes without a second thought, not to mention still trying to carry your own. 

I need you to believe that you simply being in this persons life showed them Jesus, whether he tangibly believes that or not. Through interactions with you, through you caring for him when he refused to be cared for, he encountered Jesus. No matter what happens now, please just know that you gave him that. 

Yours Truly,

The Damsel

Confused in my Thoughts

Over my high school career I've found it extremely difficult to figure out what to be happy really feels like. I'm surrounded by an abundance of people in my life that care about me and make me laugh, but I don't feel as you would say, 'happy'. This year I've had the experience of my first relationship (just hit 7 months). He's amazing, talented, and doing big things. But.. Sometimes I get so caught up in making sure he's happy that I've lost myself. As much as he used to make me feel 'good' inside, it just isn't like that anymore. I like to know that I can be independent but lately I've been too dependent and I hate it. Things have changed between him and I, and to throw in another twist there's a boy from summer camp who my thoughts haven't wandered from for almost two years now. We've caught up on life and I've realized that this guy hasn't left my thoughts for a reason... My thoughts are a huge mess and I'm in a position where for the first time in a long time I have no clue what to do. As senior year approaches I want to make sure that I have the right people in my life.. Please help my confused thoughts.

Signed, 

Hannah C

Dear Han, Is it cool if I call you that? I’m a nickname person :)

If you ask me, out of all the emotions in the realm of human ability, happiness is the absolute most difficult one to pinpoint. Because every time we think we are happy, there’s some stupid plot twist. Then the next time we’re happy somehow always feels much different than the time before. Happiness comes to us wearing the most confusing costumes and hiding behind the most unexpected things. 

I like to think of myself as a happy person, almost over the top happy sometimes. I really really love this whole life thing. But that doesn’t come naturally. I don’t leap out of bed in the morning dancing to upbeat pop music, my windows don’t fly open with the sound of birds chirping through my window and the sun hitting my hair, making it glisten in its light. I don’t sip my coffee with a giant grin on my face and high five myself in the mirror. Instead, I grunt and scoff and roll my bed headed self out from under my comforter and I stumble on over to my mirror to face the troll like character looking back at me in the mirror. Then once I’ve woken up a little but, I do a whole lot of convincing. I tell myself that things are okay and that I’m okay and that everything happening in this little life of mine is for a bigger purpose. I tell myself that if little unorganized irresponsible messy me weren’t here on this planet, something would be off. And after I’ve said those things enough times, I begin to believe them. 

Happiness isn’t some place that you can get to. You can’t wake up one morning, pull out a map and drive to it. You can’t follow guidelines or rearrange your life to look like someone else's. Happiness is a conscious decision you have to make every single day when you wake up. You have to decide that no matter what the circumstances of your life are right now, you will choose to be happy despite them and you will choose to take small steps towards ways that you can more easily access that mindset. 

When you make that decision every day, the roadblocks in your life that you can’t seem to find any answers to solving will start to be a lot clearer to you. And the things that seem like mountains right now will appear a lot more like flat planes to you when you revisit them. Boys are a big one of those mountains. They seem like everything for awhile. But my girl, infatuation fades and in the end being happy with yourself holds the utmost importance. When you can say with confidence that you’ve found ways to be happy, the right things will fall into place. They have a way of doing that. Until then, just know how deserving you are of happiness. 

Yours Truly, 

The Damsel

Thoughts

I just want to start of by saying that I have been laying here reading your blog for the past hour and I've never felt so connected with words before in my life. I feel like I'm reading my thoughts muttered from someone else's mouth. I'm 20 years old, and I've never felt more lost. I have a wonderful boyfriend of 2+ years. An amazing family, friends, and a beautiful new baby niece who brings me nothing but pure happiness. I'm surrounded by nothing but love yet I feel utterly alone. Sure, I work full time and I come home and I see my family and I stay busy and I don't think about it, but the second I'm alone or caught in silence, my brain just panics with sad thoughts about not living my life fully but being scared to leave my comforts to do so. Or never knowing who I really am. Or never being enough. My boyfriend and I are currently doing the long distance thing (3 months only, 1 month in) and this doesn't help the feeling. We want the same things in life true, but I don't know if I can tell you that we want them at the same time or in the same order, if that makes sense. I love him to death and I can't picture any sort of life without him. He does feel the same incase you were wondering. This man is my person. But I feel like I'm trapped in this life that I don't really want and he's making all these plans and I don't know if I want all the same plans. None of this is really making sense I know, but I just feel like I've completely lost who I am, though I never really knew who I was in the first place. I love my life I do, and maybe I'm just scared of it changing so dramatically. Help my scattered brain

Sham

My Sham,

Hey you. I love your confused heart and your confused head and all of the mess in between. I identity with them. I know you don’t think you’re making sense, but you are heard by me. 

Life. Freaking life. It’s a puzzle with like 800 missing pieces, isn’t it? And most days it seems like not one single person is helping you look for them. You’re just sitting there like, I just want to do my dang puzzle but I can’t even connect two pieces.

BUT this is where I’m going to start from- Our lives can’t be solved from where we’re at. There is a much bigger story happening and we are living smack dab in the middle of the sentence being written. We haven’t got a clue what the end of the sentence is like. Attempting to live life writing the end of the sentence before you’ve gotten to it is like going through a carwash with all your windows open. (That comparison seems very irrelevant but I’m trying to insinuate disaster and apparently that was the most disastrous thing I could think of.) Basically what I’m saying is, something will always feel a little bit out of place and things are bound to feel messy, but that doesn’t always mean you are doing something wrong. You’re just hanging out in the middle of a longer sentence.

The best advice I could give you is just to appreciate where you’re at as much as you can, no matter how confusing and lopsided it is. Set aside time to get to know yourself better everyday, don’t be afraid to tweak parts of your life that don’t better you. If that means cutting people out of it, eventually they will make sense of it, do it for you because you believe in it. Breathe deep, step into your character with 100% confidence that it was built just for you- and believe it. You are doing so much better than you think you are.

Yours Truly,

The Damsel

Everything

Katharine,

There is something to be said for people who radiate beauty and truth. I am so in awe of your talent to write what is most difficult to say, to feel the emotions we all try to tuck underneath our beds, to express your true self. I often times read and reread what you write because it is not only the most eloquently written thing, but it parrallels my life. I swear, we are soul sisters or something (even though I don't know you). I want you to know how far your writing goes in healing me and my confused-stressed-emotional self. Your passion for life is remarkable and you are certainly one of my favorite humans. Do not ever change, because the world is a better place because of you.

E

Sweet E,

“Aa;sjkdhf;lajdshf;kjahsdf;hdfhkdsjf” The previous statement was my inner dialogue and momentarily the actual audible noises coming out of my mouth when I read this. I honestly don’t even have words for how thankful I am for this message. I know it’s a cliche thing to say that you don’t understand how much it means to me, and I know that it may sound like a copout. But I mean every word, because I am utterly positive that people don’t fully understand how much it means to me when my words impact them in any type of way. That’s all I could dream of, and to be able to reach other hearts in a way that tangible things aren’t able to, that’s magic for me. Thank you for taking part in that with me. 

Yours Truly,

Your soul sister The Damsel

A Proposition

Hello Damsel-

GAH. When I first found your blog and started reading, I loved, loved, loved it. BUT, though I'm only 16, it was against my better judgment at first to jump onboard with that advice of yours - you're only in your 20s!!- but oh, my dear Kath (can I call you that?) every post I read beats true and I feel the rightness of it in my bones. You have such a gift of taking these things that I already know to be true and turning them inside out so that they make sense again. So thank you a million times over. 
Anyway all this showering of praise leads to my question.... will you publish a book?
It might not be a NY Times bestseller but it would sure touch some lives. A book of poems, or ramblings, or a flipping memoir - whatever you want - because I'm sure I'm not the only one who would love to have a tangible copy of this art you create instead of looking at it through a cracked iPhone screen :) Maybe you're already thinking of it, but I'm here to say, TRY IT!! Pleeeease. Or I might have to print every page of your blog off myself and staple them together to keep in my nightstand drawer :)

Signed, 

Purely selfish

So first of all: You are SIXTEEN and you speak like freaking Henry David Thoreau. Girl, you are articulate as heck, so much wisdom behind those words of yours! I am genuinely ecstatic for your bright future just based off of an advice message on my blog. Holy moly.

Second of all: I could cry at how kind you are. Okay, just kidding I actually am crying. WHAT. Thank you so much for believing in my words so wholeheartedly, that really means more to me than you could ever understand.

I may or not be working on one of those book things- but speaking hypothetically if I were, I’d be sure to keep you guys posted on it. ;) 

So much love for you, my girl!

Yours Truly,

The Damsel

Confidence

Do you have any tips on having confidence? I struggle with it a lot and need any advice, tips or sayings i can get! 

P.S i love your blog so much

Anon Gal

My Gal!! Hi! Let me just start this off by telling ya you’re asking the chick who shivers in her boots at the thought of having to order a coffee at Starbucks. I am terrified about 99% of the time. But a thing that I’ve started to learn with life that I find a lot of comfort in is that everyone is terrified 99% of the time. No one is as confident as they are acting like they are. We’re all just little kids wishing our parents would check under our bed for monsters. 

I read this quote once and it sent me into a frenzy of thoughts:

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room with your nose in the air and thinking you are better than everyone else. It’s walking into a room and not having to compare yourself to anyone else in the first place”

Confidence isn’t some secret formula that you seek out and swallow before bed every night. Confidence is a quiet and humble change in character that we mold and shape into existence by starting to actually like who we are. When you look at yourself in the mirror and are able to say, ‘Yeah I’m cool with me,’ that’s going to come out in every other facet of your life. 

You don’t have to walk with your shoulders back and have a really firm handshake for people to think you’re confident. Heck, you don’t even have to look like you know what you’re doing half the time, as long as you laugh along with the mess of life and give yourself credit for carrying your own bones, you’re doing great. 

Yours Truly, 

The Damsel