Moving

Mark the Wall

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Look closely. I know this photo is hard to see. If you squint and focus on the textured wall, shaky lines of pencil graphite mark the height of three boys from the year 1994 – 2000. I took this shot of charted growth in the closet in our new second bedroom. Tic marks on the wall capture not only little guys’ height, but imagined stories of lives well lived. I’m not sure who Todd, or Bryan, or Kegan are, but they lived where I now live and created their stories before we lived here. This sweet indicator of presence and progress is too much to paint over. We can’t. I won’t erase the truth that other people have grown where I am about to experience significant personal growth.

Dylan and I have been on a whirlwind ride these last few months, and have chosen to buy a house. It was one of those experiences in life where you pray to the universe for guidance, and all the sudden your prayers are answered at a pace much more quickly than imagined. After tears in the rented kitchen, blubbering through snot and confusion saying, “I don’t know what escrow means and how the hell am I supposed to understand this mortgage paperwork” to reassuring calls with my dad who happens to sell insurance and general contractor father in law, we made it. We’ve been guided to this point, and for the most part homeownership feels good. It also feels very adult, surreal, exciting and a bit risky. I suppose it is a complicated, beautiful mess of all of the above. I was shocked, however, how easy it is once you’ve proven your income and your stability, and your birth certificate, that you just sign a stack of papers and then wham, you own a home.  “Millions of people all over the world own homes Kate. You can too.” At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. I’m happy the boxes are emptied, and our organization has begun, and my husband enjoys fixing things.

IMG_2954There has been immense beauty in this process, as doors I thought would never open have swung gracefully, accepting my presence. Through prayer I’ve experienced a beautiful peace to know that we continue to make changes that are beneficial to confidence building, and generate a comfort in place, and creative potential in projects. So many projects. I think picking colors for our new living room will be a bigger test on our marriage than choosing to co-sign on a mortgage. Side note – I was listed as “co-buyer” on our new purchase. Patriarchy be damned.

When I think back to those lines on the wall left behind in our closet, I wonder where those kids are now. I wonder if they have been experiencing the same growing pains that I have. I’m reminded to be proud of the little me that continues to get bigger. That growth is not something you ever really “achieve” and say “Ok enough of that, I’m done growing now.” I’m reminded too, to be introspective and spend time thinking about how I’ve grown in less obvious ways. On the outside our choices reflect many of the values of success that America strives for. In that, I am proud. This journey holds more truth than those standards. I am also proud of the beautiful process that lies in the self-examination through all of these big changes. The incremental leaps and bounds taken in the same amount of time that it takes a child to grow just a few inches at a time. I hope we can be in this place for awhile, continuing to stretch and assess who we want to be in this world.

If you are good at picking color samples, I need your help. If you want a coat rack, we have one for sale. I also need some sort of book – homeownership for women – that can teach me about pipes and washer/dryer hook ups, and how to make my house look like a picture from Real Simple Magazine. The pressure is beginning. All tips and tricks are welcome.

Biscotti – umm locate where the flour jar is and you got it girl

Essie Nail Polish – Material Girl – manicured hands do make you feel so much better

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Self Care for the See Ya Laters

Happy Labor Day! I for one am enjoying the opportunity to stay in my pajamas until eleven am. I have plans for coffee, and reading a book, and having dinner with friends. That is what days off should be about. I am procrastinating some fairly large tasks for the week ahead, and saying “Today, I choose self care.” The anxiety of what I should be accomplishing to manage my life can begin tomorrow.

This weekend I bought a Real Simple Magazine. One of the articles was talking about how hard it can be to make friends as an adult. I was shocked by a stat that said that on average, people change groups of friends every seven years. While I love my friends dearly, I thought to myself, hmm, its almost time for a new batch of friends. I simply mean that life choices and changes, especially in the second half of your twenties, draw you away from your tribe created in college and perhaps the terrifying years of when you are all moving home and floating a little bit. When you pass over twenty five, we all start to seem a little bit more ‘legit’ – whatever that means – and these legitimate choices of career, and partners, and lifestyle preferences push friendships into the great unknown. As a loyal person, this makes me sad. As a realist, this makes me understand, ‘heck, these changes have nothing to do with me as a person, it just happens.’

This past month I said “see ya later” (not good-bye – that is too final) to three friends going off to grad school – Boston, California, Scotland. I had friends start new teaching jobs, new outdoor adventure jobs, and I chose to leave behind a tribe when I started a new job – even if the location is literally across the street.  Through all of these swinging doors I’m learning how to take care of myself. I’m trying to ignore comparison, sending light and love across the country, and gaining new pen pals. Also choking back a sob, a healthy sob, that we are entering into the next new chapter of life with threads still connecting us.

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It is easy for me, in times of change, to beat myself up. I feel I should have a better handle on the unknown outcomes of my choices. My therapist gently reminded me that it is ok to be anxious about some of these changes – I’ve never done them before. My need to be perfectly predicting is preposterous. So this week, I’ve adopted this beautiful mantra above and allow myself to cultivate new thoughts as I change and grow at rates un-measureable. I didn’t create the image above, just took it from Pinterest, so to whomever did – I love it.

Also this week was my first wedding anniversary! Hard to believe 365 days have already gone by as a wife. It is so fun to celebrate and reminisce about one of the best days of my life. I know there are many more good days to come. We spent the day at the farmers market, bopping around town with a latte in hand, and looking in shops, admiring beautiful things. We went to our favor restaurant for dinner and exchanged small gifts. My favorite part, though, was coming home and watching a movie, sharing a whole bottle of prosecco and nibbling on Cheez-Its. Word to the wise – don’t get the reduced fat.

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There is a lot of pressure to make a first anniversary astounding. I’d say we had a great day, but it was the little snack of crackers and bubbles with my man that made my beautiful heart oh, so happy.

Hopes & Healing in Boxes

This time two years ago I moved out of my parents’ home for the first time. I was in a city with people I didn’t know, and spent many evenings during the week home alone, or with Dylan, reading books and wallowing in anxiety of how to even get this thing called life started. In December of 2012 I moved with anticipation and anxiety of what being an adult actually looks like – away from home, away from my friends. Towards what I wasn’t quite sure. All of my belongings could fit in the back of my SUV. One load.

In December 2013 I moved back to my hometown with a hope of a return to normal, to community, to a proper sense of grounding. This time, the move took three trips in a truck and I brought a man back with me. I was disappointed and shocked to find that while my hometown hadn’t changed too much, perhaps I had. I wasn’t the same Katie that walked those streets and halls and through the nostalgic memories. The realization that perhaps the job, or the location was not the problem, but rather was something within me took quite a bit of therapy to admit. This move gave me the opportunity to say yes to new opportunities in relationship and fully walk towards the promise and commitment of marriage. I had to come home to move forward.

Here we are in December of 2014, once again moving, with wedding gifts, and hopes, and compromises that come with having a life partner. This move required a U-haul. I’m not quite sure what will be next, but know that it is so wonderful to be moving towards things with another person at my side. Excuse the self promotion here, but I am thrilled by the healing that I have carried with me this year. Usually, the moving of my physical belongings, and the disruption of my connection to place throws me completely off my center. I know I probably wasn’t the most fun to be with over the last week – moving makes me really crabby. This time, though, the past few years experiences have made me realize I’m going to be ok. I already am ok. Perhaps I’m even grand. I’m not waking up with stomach gripping fear that literally makes me gag. I’m not losing weight from stress. I’m breathing and trusting, and healing. I’m healing. And I’m thankful.

Remember, that return to community that was so important to me in December of 2013? God has answered that prayer tenfold and I’ve found wonderful opportunities to reconnect with old friends. Friends who were traveling, friends who are in school, friends who have also found their way home, back to their roots. Friends who seek out groundedness and peace and giving and look at the world through a critical lens. Friends who come over to help move, or bring dinner to share, or tell me to wipe a tear from my eye. I am not sure where we will go as a group, as dreams take all individuals in a multitude of directions. For now, though, there is so much beauty in connection with others. Look at this motley crew of people who showed up to help us move, because they care about me and they care about Dylan and they invest in friendship. They breathe fresh hope for human connection into my heart. For all those friends not pictured here, you, too, know who you are.

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I’m ecstatic about the beauty of healing, of progress, and the opportunity to reflect about growth. You don’t know what blossoms in that painful experience of sprouting new shoots until the flower has bloomed. Have I bloomed? I’m not quite sure.

What gives you anxiety? How about affirmations of healing?