A Mean Case of “The Grays”

Last night I was laying in bed, curled up with my cat and on the phone with my fiancé, exhausted from working the closing shift at work. I heaved a fantastic sigh and I said, “I don’t know what it is babe, I’ve just had the blues lately.” And then it dawned on me, “No, I take that back. I don’t have the blues at all; I have the grays.”

You see, to have the blues to have a sadness. Having the grays is so much more complex than that.

Having the grays is like living in a fog. It’s that dormant feeling of being a bystander in your own life. It’s living without really living. It’s simply watching the days go by instead of feeling present in them. It’s a lack of motivation, joy, energy, and power. It is complacency and listlessness.

I can feel the grays sinking in like a predatory fog waiting for me to let it take over. That fog lurks at the edges of the mind, just waiting for its opportunity to come in.

During the past few months, life has dealt me a series of heavy blows. The first couple times I got knocked down, I stood right back up with a smile. That’s what I do, I’m an eternal optimist with a gentle spirit.

The blows kept coming, and I kept standing back up. Only this time, getting on my feet was more of a struggle, and I came up with anger in my heart. I was very angry for a long time– an unfamiliar feeling for me.

When I got tired of being angry I decided to just stop caring. I thought that was the best option. But it turns out that not caring is the first step to letting the grays grab a foothold in your heart.

When you don’t care about anything, you can’t get hurt. That’s the lie I told myself.

The hurt lingers underneath the gray, and it will be there waiting for you when the gray leaves. You have to deal with it eventually.

I was outside with my dog last month and saw the first signs of green outside. I started to feel alive again as the tiniest bit of green pierced through the gray in my heart. That day I wrote in my journal:

Watching the grass turn from brown to green has been helping. I can smell, see, and hear life all around out there. There’s this unique scent that Spring has as everything starts coming back to life. It smells like earth.

The birds are bringing back their songs, and squirrels are climbing in the trees.Snow has melted into water, and the water gives life– it slowly makes everything green again.

Green is starting to become my favorite color. It symbolizes life, hope, and nature. I feel myself yearning for the natural. I crave openness, fresh air, vibrant life, and green.

It turns out that green is the cure for the grays. All we have to do is see the beauty and the hope in this life, and then cling to it with all of our might. Be present in the beautiful and the broken moments of your life; it’s worth it. Every moment, every devastating blow, the anger, the hope, the resilience, the joy– every moment becomes a part of the story of our lives. And we all have important stories inside of us. Stories that are worth telling, and that are certainly worth living.

It’s a little silly, but when I drive through the country on my way to work I see trees without leaves on them, and my mind whispers, “It’s time for you to wake up soon. Just wait- you’re coming back to life!

It’s time for me to wake up. I’m coming back to life.

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What It’s Like to Adopt a Rescue Cat

Anybody who knows me knows that I absolutely love cats. When I’m old, I’ll probably be that crazy cat lady down the street, and my poor husband will just have to deal with it. Well, last year I lost my sweet little furry companion, Leo, after twelve years. I wasn’t ready to get another cat until about a year later when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and something caught my eye. An old friend posted that she was looking for homes for a bunch of kittens she’d rescued. I asked my fiancé for his blessing, and a few days later I came home with Belle.

 

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I was expecting a perfect little angel who would instantly love me, but reality turned out to be quite different. Here are a few things I learned during my first couple months with Little Belle.

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Why My Social Media Fast Did More Harm Than Good

Over the last couple months, I found myself taking an unplanned hiatus from social media. It just kind of happened. I stopped blogging, posting on Instagram, and updating Facebook. In fact, I barely even hung out my friends during that time. I basically hibernated and “focused on life.”

I hadn’t even realized my  lack of digital presence until yesterday. I opened up Instagram to look for some inspirational edits I’d made a long time ago. As I was scrolling, I noticed that I’ve barely posted anything lately, and then something clicked in my head: Maybe this is why I’ve been feeling so off lately.

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Processing Paris: Where is God in an Age of Terror?

A handful of extremists were able to shake the world on November 13th. They attacked without warning and without regard for human life. They turned a peaceful, happy night out on the town into a night of horror for thousands of people.

So much life. So many hopes and dreams. So much vibrance stolen from the world in one night.

So what do we do? We watch the news. We light candles. We reflect on the value of life and how thankful we are to be alive. We worry. We wait for them to catch the bad guys. We get angry. We wonder how this could have happened. And, eventually, we get numb.

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Peace for Paris | artwork by Jean Jullien

Some of us immediately point the finger of blame at God. How could God have let this happen? What kind of god would allow this? If this is your God, I want nothing to do with him. So many people, even Christians, find themselves asking these sort of questions. Why, God?

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What It’s Like for a Former Anorexic to Join the Gym

Not too many people know this about me, but I struggled with an eating disorder through much of high school. I wanted to be thin and perfect, and I never felt I was good enough. I suffered in silence, starving myself until my fat melted away and my skin clung to my bones. I felt my heart getting weaker both metaphorically and physically. I was an athlete and nearly collapsed at swim practices because my body was so weak. I hated myself, I hated my body, and I hated who I had become. Things didn’t get better until one night I sat in my bathroom crying, and I realized that if I didn’t change, I was probably going to die soon.

I recovered in relative silence, too. I slowly stopped skipping meals and started eating more. I learned to find my identity in Christ rather than in my body size. My new boyfriend showed me that I was worthy of being loved. It’s simple really; It’s all about love. Love from God and from people washed over me, and I learned to love myself. Love was all I really needed, and now I’m healthy.

I’ve gained 45 pounds since high school. I’m a curvy Puerto Rican young woman, and I’ve learned to embrace that.

That being said, I decided to join a gym in August. Not to “lose weight” necessarily, but to be healthier. I want my body to reach it’s potential. I want to be able to do those crazy yoga poses you see on Pinterest, run a mile without feeling like I’m going to die, keep up with my future energetic kids, and whatever else I feel like doing. I want to love my body so much that I enable it to do amazing things. (And I’m very proud of that last sentence, because it shows me how far I’ve come since the days of hating my body so much that I forced it to wither away to nothingness).

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The Strangeness of Not Being in School

Fall has been my favorite season for as long as I can remember. Summer can never end soon enough, and I love watching it slowly bow to Autumn. I love falling red and orange leaves, crisp air, scarves, oversized sweaters, cozying up with hot chocolate or chai, and the feeling that comes when a new season is here; Something about it makes my soul stir with the contentedness of a fluffy cat napping in front of a fireplace.
As I’ve been waiting for Summer to end over the last few weeks, a weird, unsettled feeling has been creeping its way into my heart. I tried to shake it, but it keeps hanging around. A few days ago I suddenly got the urge to rearrange my closet, and then that turned into a weekend-long project of rearranging and reorganizing my entire bedroom. The unsettled feeling had gone away while I was working and progressing. When I finished, I sat in my favorite chair and basked in the outcome of a weekend’s worth of work. But as I looked over at my newly organized desk, that unsettled feeling rushed back in and it dawned on me:
Fall is coming and I’m not going back to school.
I’ve graduated. I’m done with school for now.
I knew this time would come, I guess I just wasn’t ready for it.

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Simple DIY Bridesmaid Proposal

Browse the Pinterest wedding boards for a little while and you’ll pick up on a new trend: the bridesmaid proposal. Some people think the notion of a bridesmaid proposal is ridiculous, but I think it’s really sweet. All this proposal entails is coming up with a special way to ask your girls to be your bridesmaids. For once it’s our turn to “pop the question,” and its actually a pretty cute idea.

When I looked for examples of these proposals on the internet, I quickly became overwhelmed by the massive amount of stuff being thrown at me. It seemed like everything was either way too complicated, expensive, or cheesy (yes, I’m talking about you, Ring Pop proposal). Then, when I was walking through the craft store by my work one day, inspiration struck. I grabbed a few items off the shelves, went home, and put it all together. Here’s what I came up with:

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These little boxes are so simple that even non-crafty brides (like me) can make them.

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Berry and Green Tea Smoothie

This is one of those smoothie recipes that came about as the result of grabbing random items from the fridge. Luckily for us, it came out tasting delicious.

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Ingredients:

  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of raspberries
  • 8 oz. of vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup of Pomegranate Green Tea (we used Trader Joe’s)
  • 2-3 tbsp of raw shelled hemp seed
  • 1 cup of ice

This recipe makes two servings and is best enjoyed with a friend 🙂

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Finding the perfect wedding dress

For many young girls who dream about their future wedding, finding their dress is supposed to be the most magical thing in the whole world. In reality, the experience is a little more complex. There are so many emotions and thoughts that get piled in and heightened during an appointment at a bridal salon: excitement, anticipation, nervousness, budgetary concerns, and high expectations. Shopping for a wedding dress can be overwhelming, so I’ll walk you through it and offer advice based on my own experience.

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