WHITE NOISE

It hasn’t always been like this - loud, white noise.

I think back to tree climbing days, my knees scraped and bruised, just to remind me, I am human. It was easier to feel human then, to sit in the silence, to look up at a big sky and to laugh at the clouds. To run and dance and yell and get bored, then do it again. Feelings weren’t hurt as much then, it’s much harder to say something looking into someone’s eyes, and it feels like all we did was look at each other. We really saw each other, messy and getting there, and it was nice. We were just humans. 
We don’t look at the trees as much. Or each other. We see each other through screens, we speak to each other in likes. And we do not remember how human we are. We scrape our knees and we photoshop them. We’ve lost track of how to show up as human to each other. We are drowning in the white noise of opinion, and we have forgotten how to sit in silence. We’ve forgotten how to run our fingers over the scrapes and the bruises. We’ve forgotten how to look at each other, in the eyes, from access the table - messy and getting there.

THE TIMELINE OF WORDS

I’m realizing lately how weighty words are. Not just in their meaning, but in their physical breadth. They are substantial and… heavy. From an emotional standpoint, I’ve always been familiar with the weight and purpose that words hold and the ability they have to transform and shake a heart. But it hasn’t been until the last six months or so that I’ve been able to physically, against my bones, feel their weight.

This is a hard season. I won’t sugar coat it. I also won’t wallow. That being said, this has been a season absent of words. Absent of poetry and inspiration. Absent of creativity. And I am walking around carrying the weight of the millions of words I want to string together to create something meaningful, something honest, something so close to people's hearts, they feel like they can reach out and touch it.

I have memories of writing as early as kindergarten age. Bowl cut, denim overalls, little hands. I remember how i found such wonder and magic in writing with a pencil, watching as the illegible lines I traced against the paper created physical evidence of what my heart was designing. Even if they were just misspelled words drawn crookedly amongst a page, the way they made me feel was undeniable.

Fast forward to sometime like fourth grade. A little older, a little more awkward, not any taller (because I’ve always been 2 feet tall), and full of much more wonder. I’d learned cursive at this point so now instead of crooked misspelled words, they were twirly crooked misspelled words, that I had fallen even more in love with. This was the year of the poems. I had decided that I didn’t particularly think I was intelligent enough to form full, deep concepts and sentences. So poems it was. They made no sense. But they made everything else make sense.

Then I went to high school. I was exceptionally more awkward, quiet, and afraid of everyone. Certainly not my definition of the so called “glory years” everyone else on the planet seemed to always explain high school as being. These were the years writing transitioned for me. Words went from being something that filled me with wonder and magic and unspeakable comfort, to survival. Writing became the thing that put out the fire. It landed the crashing plane. It gave me a place to scream as loud as i could without actually having to make any noise. It provided me with an understanding of how I was feeling that I never had access to before. I could feel and feel and feel and not know what any of it meant and then I would begin writing, and it would all make sense. In seasons of loneliness and transition, it gave me the gift of learning who I was.

College. Still awkward, still short, but really honest and really glad to be who I was. Thrilled to be everywhere. For the first time, writing took on all of the forms it had been to me over the course of my life, at once. It was wonder and magic, survival and grit. And then, it was also a new thing, public. Freshman year of college was the first time I ever let my writing meet the eyes of anyone besides my mom, my best friend, and the occasional high school crush I’d write a poem for (eyeroll). Every once and a while I would post a poem on my Tumblr blog where only strangers followed me. It seemed less scary to show people I’d never see the deep, inner workings of my heart. It was safer. It was nice and cozy living in my little vacuum sealed world of words, writing and healing and not needing to explain to anyone what all of it meant. Then, freshman year, a new friend I met, scoured the depths of the internet and….. Found my blog. He was the first person who told me that my writing meant something. That it deserved the chance to help other people the way it had helped me. This made me terribly uncomfortable. One reason being, I’ve never known how to take a compliment without immediately assuming there’s ulterior motive (yes, I am a crazy person :)). Second, where would I even begin. Who do I share it with. What do I say. What if they hate all of it. Suddenly the thing that brought me peace brought me complete chaos. Long story short, I made an Instagram, and little by little, I started sharing the words that healed me. And little by little, people started to read them. This was horrifying and thrilling. Gut wrenching and joyful.

Fast forward a couple of years, nearing the end of my college career, staring adult life in the face. At this point, writing had become my full time “thing”. It was no hidden knowledge that Kath was the “writer”. At the time, living with my 7 best friends, most of them athletes, it didn’t take much for me to stick out like a sore thumb. I was labeled “the creative one”. And this is where the pressure was birthed. Now, I had a blog, I had more of a following on Instagram, and I could feel all of the eyes staring at me. For the first time, writing had become more than an act, more than a thing I did to heal, but an expectation. For the first time, it felt like I actually had to think about what to say before I wrote it. I think because for the first time, I was feeling like people were equating my words to who I was, instead of just reading them. That was scary. I didn’t want to have to live up to anything, I just wanted to write. To heal.

I’m in the present day now, a whopping 2 years after graduating college, and in small ways, I’m still in that place. That place of feeling like strangers have me set up on a silly little pedestal and I’m bound to disappoint. In the present day, I am still awkward, still short, still figuring it all out, but very certain of who I am and hyper aware of the heart that exists inside of my small and fragile chest. And writing these days is harder than it used to be. I am crippled by the pressure of appearing happier than I am, more hopeful, optimistic. Some days, I’m even fearful to write for myself, not for anyone else to see, just afraid of what I’ll find that I’m really feeling.

But even still, all these years later, all the feelings felt and all the poems written, it’s still magic when that pen hits the paper. My kindergarten curiosity still spikes when I watch what my hand can create on the page just by listening to the patterns of my heart. It’s survival and grit too, without it, I’d be crash landing. These things, words, they are something weighty, they make up so much of who I am. They’re all over me - patching up wounds, holding parts of me together. I pray that I always have the guts to pick them up and put them on paper.

I know none of this is probably very relatable to you, but I think I needed to write it. I didn't understand what I was feeling until I strung these words together, isn't that how it always goes. Thanks for tagging along.



Putting on my boxing gloves

I decided awhile back that I don’t care if it’s strange or uncommon or unnecessary, if it means making people feel less alone, I’m in. If it looks like standing by myself with a big ole flashing sign that says, “hey guys, me too” and people are pointing and staring, I’m standing my ground.

Because I have felt alone, I have felt like not enough, and I tremble under the concept of only being half Kath to someone. Only being a partial person to a stranger. I cringe thinking that someone would look at my tiny squared, M5 filtered world and feel jealous or less or alone. I tremble under the weight of knowing the hurt people carry and do not know how to set down. I tremble knowing that it is so so heavy and they think that they are the only one dealing with it.

For me, words and story are power. They are the shovels that dig me out, the escape ladders that get me out of the fire. I believe with every teeny tiny little part of me that when a person tells their story, their really honest one, they metaphorically put on their boxing gloves. And they start their fight. And then they show other people that they can tell theirs too.

Anxiety is only a small part in the story of who I am. But in order to know the other parts, you must sit down with this one.

So, this is me, putting on my boxing gloves. This is me dragging my hurt into the light. It’s hard to put your painful parts into words. It’s so human to want to pretty it all up. I’m sitting here, hitting every key on the keyboard trying to make this all poetic. But unfortunately, being a person isn’t always pretty, it doesn’t always look how we want. So for right now, I’ll just be a person with you. An honest one.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects 6.8 million adults, 3.1% of the U.S. population. There are so many layers and masks and twists and turns to that title. There is certainly no one size fits all for anxiety. But here is what it looks like for me. Anxiety is a really loud room where everyone is screaming, and you are the only one without a voice. You see the chaos, you hear the noise, but you can’t find the door to leave. I get anxiety about most things. About car rides and 3pm, about food and people and opinions. It has never really felt like something I’m able to set down, more so something I must learn to carry.

I think a common misconception about anxiety is that it’s only an emotion - that it’s just the same thing as being happy or being sad - that it’s something you can switch on and off. While feeling general anxiety is definitely a normal human thing, anxiety disorder looks a little bit different. The best way I know to describe it is like running a race without ever leaving your seat. A race you never feel like you can find the finish line to. Something that comes along with anxiety for me is panic disorder aka panic attacks. These are always a fun little surprise in the day. For me, they are brought on most commonly by triggers associated with painful things from my past. In those moments, I seemingly lose the ability to breathe, my hands go numb and my entire body feels paralyzed. It's crazy what our minds can do. I don't say any of these things to be depressing or weird, just to be real! These are bits and pieces of my reality, of my story. And I think, probably, they're parts of yours too. And that's all that they are, parts. There is more to you than this.

And so here I am, typing all of these disjointed words and dragging them out into the light.

This all might seem like pretty basic information to you, but my hope in writing it, is that to one person it won’t just be basic information, but it will be a welcome mat. That it will be a safe place. That they will read these words and say; me too, me too, me too, me too. That they will feel less alone. That they will see my heart on a page in a different way than before. That we can all strive to know each other deeper and louder. Because I am going to be okay, and you are too. You are too.

 

 

 

WE MUST AT LEAST - DANCE.

For a long time I believed that in order to deal with sadness, you had to sit in it.

I have spent many years sitting on cold floors, in dark rooms, holding together my own bones with my small hands wrapped around my shaky knees. I have spent many years observing and feeling and asking. My whole life, I have opened the door when sadness knocks, I have invited it in, set a place for it at dinner. And sat.

The thing I have come to know the most about sadness is that it MUST be normalized, it just must be. Otherwise we end up feeling alien and alone, sensitive and overdramatic. When we just really truly, are not. We are doing the one thing we know, being human.

But, here in the tiny moments of a seemingly long human life, I shiver at the the holy irony that our time here is but a blink of an eye in comparison to the eternity extended to us. The eternity where sadness will never knock again. It won’t even know where we live.

There is a certain strange beauty to me about knowing sadness while I’m on earth. As if I’ve been entrusted with the weight. As if i am understood so deeply by the one who understands best, that I can hold it with some purpose. I know with unwavering certainty that the Man who hand stitched the very fabric of my heart, is not allowing me to be in pain for no reason. He does not close His eyes on my ache. Does not pull back when I am hysterical. Does not turn His back on my isolation.

I do not understand much about the purpose for sadness, but I think that maybe before I can understand, I have to walk a long long way with it - maybe all the way to eternity.

But in the meantime, whenever sadness shows up, I’ll open the door, go outside and take it dancing with me in the streets. I know that God doesn’t want me to hurt, but the most He can ask of a human soaked life, is that if we must hurt, at least dance. We create the beginnings of eternity now, by dancing.

 

 

 

 

 

4TH OF JULY GIRL

I've always felt a bit like the 4th of July. 

An obnoxious combination of noise and color living inside of a girl so afraid, she only explodes one night a year. 

I have always felt the weight of being a lot. Of being a girl with a firework heart. Holding sparks beneath my skin, unpredictable and loud. And so I sit still. I breathe softly. And I cross my fingers that I will not be too loud for someone. 

But it feels like 3 days ago I was 8 years old. I was barefoot and outside, running like I had no idea anything was chasing me. I was heading towards the stars, trying to catch them with my longest finger, reaching into the sky as if it were an arms length away. I was loud then, thumping and tapping and moving my feet, the ground, my stage, the street lamps on my tiny cul-de-sac, my spotlight. And I was simply performing, in the only way I knew how, by showing up, by being myself, by opening my mouth, speaking up, telling bad jokes. 

These days I don't tell as many bad jokes. These days I rarely speak up. I do not open my mouth as much as i used to. These days, it seems, there are are far more critics, far more people in the audience of my streetlamp show holding red pens, writing bad reviews about my reaching. And I shiver under the weight of their opinions. Hide behind the curtains of my imagination so they can't critique my visions. 

But frankly, I am tired of being a firework girl. I have too much loud to only put on a show for one night. 

And I hope the critics show up, I hope they bring their red pens. And I hope that my thumping and dancing and strangeness make them want to take that red pen and doodle on the back of their hand because they too remember what it was like to be 8 years old and reaching for the stars.