Thursday, May 30, 2013

What Moves Me

I have mentioned this a couple of times, but recently I started dancing again! I've been taking classes at an awesome studio here in Tucson, Breakout, and it has been incredible. It has been the most perfect way to relieve all of the stress I've been under lately, of getting out all of the emotional stuff I'm dealing with that week, and of doing something fun and beautiful just for myself

Dancing was such a huge part of my life for so long. It was what I did, what I loved - and then I didn't do it for four years. I didn't do anything for myself, really, for four years - just school, work, and Chi Alpha (which I also love, but that's another story!). 

But this season of my life has been the perfect time to start again. And it's different, now - I'm not very good at it anymore, being out of training for so long, which is hard. But I almost like it better now than before. When I danced in high school and for the company I was in, it was fun and I loved it to be sure. But I think I was always so performance-focused, really; I think I just did it to be good at it. 

But now, I'm just doing it for me. For fun, for the joy of moving, for the freedom of expressing whatever it is that I'm feeling. 

It's beautiful.

Not really my dancing itself (I really am so out of shape!), but how it feels. It's dancing for the sake of dancing. There's no pressure to perform (I  mean, aside from the part where I'm dancing, haha), or to have great technique, or to nail the timing. When I'm in the studio now, I'm just enjoying myself

And that is a wonderful feeling :). 

Not to mention that it's a killer workout! Seriously - if you ever want to spend an hour and a half sweating profusely and then wake up the next morning with muscles that you didn't even know you could use so sore that you have a hard time walking, take a dance class at Breakout. It's awesome. 

I also owe so much credit to my dance teacher. Her name is Davonna, and she is nothing short of amazing. She is such a beautiful dancer, and she has helped me have the courage to do what I love again for the simple joy of doing it. She is encouraging and challenging, and it inspires me to keep moving!

She sent me this video from our class last night, so I thought I would share it here (video credit is all hers). It's humble, but it's a peek into something that has given me so much joy in the past weeks, and I am so excited to be part of something beautiful and to have the opportunity to keep getting better at it. 

Enjoy! I leave you with these beautiful words that Davonna said to me today, that I think apply to life in general, not just dancing:

"Keep enjoying yourself and finding yourself in whatever movement is thrown at you." 

Monday, May 27, 2013

I'm Still Here!

The past two weeks have been so full! It's been a lot of busy, busy, busyness, 
but it's been great. 

I celebrated my 21st birthday this week, and through amazing friends, wonderful family, and a lot of love,
God has reminded me that I am cherished and worth being celebrated to so many people.

And that has lifted me up in a time that I really, really needed it!

I couldn't have asked for a better start to 21, and I have this expectant feeling that this year is going to be full of so much more growth and change and adventure than I ever could have imagined.
I mean, look at how the first five months have gone...

But I am excited to see where God leads me in this new season.
And I'm so thankful that you choose to walk my journey with me.

So, from the bottom of my heart - if you come here, if you read these words I write so sincerely,

thank you.
thank you so very much.

On another note, I would just like to say...

Life is really, really hard.
So many things are a struggle. And I have a hard time reconciling to that sometimes...

But I am so thankful for the wonderful friends I have that help me remember
that life is so, so sweet
and that I am so incredibly blessed.

As always, keep checking back- so much more to come. 
And if you're one of the people who is responsible for those numbers that keep climbing under "Page Views" in my blog stats, 
leave me a comment!! I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Crossroads, Turning Points, and the Things that Make Moving On Easier

It’s hard to believe even as I’m writing this, but the semester is over. School is finished (until summer school starts, that is!), and as I leave behind my last physiology classes and gen eds and start looking towards nursing school, I’m leaving behind a lot more than just lectures and papers and binders full of notes. Even though I’m not quite done yet (I’ll graduate in December), there is such a feeling of finality, of resolution, about the semester ending and summer beginning.

That person that I loved was everywhere – we studied in the libraries together, we rode the CatTran to school together, we had lunch dates in the union together; the memories that I have from our relationship completely saturate my campus. I invested so much into this relationship, poured 100% of my heart into something that I never imagined wouldn’t actually happen. But oh, do plans change!

So as I close the door on my senior year of college (here’s a woot woot for all the fifth-year seniors!), I’m closing the door on a lot of things. Memories, hopes, dreams, plans, possibilities – beautiful things that I will never forget, but dead things that I am SO ready to move on from. And I’m so thankful for this new crossroad, this new opportunity to keep moving away from all of the hurt and heartache and disappointment. I want so much to keep walking away from everything that has happened this semester – not to forget it all, because I don’t think you ever forget your first love, and because I have loved and learned so much. But to just keep moving forward. This was seriously the most difficult semester of my entire undergraduate career (for many more reasons than just this). But knowing that I am at this tangible turning point in my life gives me such hope for the future.

And I am so thankful for the grace that God has given me to get here. There is no way I could have reached this place of peace and acceptance and general “okay-ness” without some significant help, and in giving this all to the Lord like I have, He has continually blessed me with grace and dignity to handle this well. It’s still hard, to be sure – every day I have to intentionally lay down the anger and hurt and expectations. I didn’t want things to end up this way, of course, and no amount of time will change that, but God is also blessing me with new perspective – daily! – on my situation. In my quiet times and through my amazing friends, I am beginning to see how God is using this to bless me, to make me a better person, and to bring fullness into my life. It’s so weird to say those things, since I have lost so much, but God’s character is really being shown to me in the way that He’s returning me with more abundant blessings than the things I’ve had to give up. Yes, so much has been taken away (such beautiful dreams!) but I am starting to see beauty where I’m at right now, too.

And, anyway, isn’t that what summertime is all about? New adventures, discovering new things, starting over, beauty, excitement? I am certainly ready for all of those things. And I’ve already started to see it – I’m doing things I didn’t do before, like dancing and going on long drives by myself. I’m spending so much time with and making so many great memories with my excellent friends. I’m becoming more independent. I'm learning more about who my God is and who He says that I am.

And I couldn’t ask for anything better from this time.

Here’s to starting over.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. – Proverbs 31:25

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Road to Somewhere

Right now, I'm taking a break from studying for my second final tomorrow, and I am overwhelmed by this feeling of disbelief.

That's the best word I can think of to describe it, really. Others that I thought of were shock, awe, incredulousness (is that even a word? incredulity?), amazement. 

I can't believe that in two days, my semester will be over. I will have successfully completed four years of college. 
Thank goodness I'm not graduating until December - I'm not mentally prepared yet!!

I also can't believe that I'm in the place that I'm at in my life. In my relationships with my friends, with my family, with my ex-boyfriend, with God, with myself. 
It is so astounding to me- everything is completely different. Some things are different in amazing ways, and some things are different in awful ways, but nothing is the same as it was even at the beginning of the semester. I feel like a completely different person, and that just blows my mind. 

It is crazy how God can use one situation to redefine everything about you. To rearrange your priorities, to rearrange your values, to rearrange your time and your money and your relationships.
I had thought that I had everything planned out; I thought I knew how my life was going to look, at least for the foreseeable future. And now, I don't really know anything. I honestly couldn't even tell you what I'm expecting from the next month of my life, let alone the next five years. 
And it's scary, not to know. Not to know what will happen or where you will be or who you will be with or what to expect from it all. 

But I know that God knows. I know that He has an adventure planned for me - even for my summer, which will be full of working and calculus, I know that God has something extraordinary. One of the biggest things that I have learned from this season of my life is that, a lot of times, God ends up doing things in a way that looks completely different than how you thought it would look. And even though that means I have no control over it (if I want to follow His plan, that is), even though it's scary to just walk forward into something unknown, I feel okay. I know God's got it under control. I know that the adventure He has planned for me is grander than the one I planned for myself. 

I feel like, before, while I was still with my ex-boyfriend, things were pretty constant. Not boring, by any means - he was such a fun person to be with. But nothing major really happened. Nothing that made me do a double-take and go, "whoa." It was comfortable. Routine. Familiar. And don't get me wrong- I loved it.
But I have this feeling, this tingly feeling that starts in my toes and creeps all the way up to the tip-top of my head, that God is going to start doing things that rock me. I mean, He's already started. So many things are changing and improving and bursting forth, and I just have this feeling that that's what this new season of my life is going to be like. 

So as much as I have always disliked change
and challenges 
and not having control

I say bring it on. 

For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lessons from Some "Me Time"

In the past couple of weeks, I've really been focusing on me. For four years, my time has revolved around school, work, and Chi Alpha, and then for a year and a half I devoted the majority of my [limited] free time to a boyfriend.
Don't get me wrong - I loved it. I loved the way I spent my time, loved who I spent it with. I have no regrets.

But that season is over now, and oh my lanta - it was a rough transition. In the beginning of this new phase of my life, I did everything I did because I had to - it was a struggle to simply get to the next thing. 

But now I'm moving forward, moving on with my life, and I've been doing a lot of just-for-me things. 
Which feels good.
It feels like I'm taking a stand for something - for my independence, for my confidence, for myself.
Capitalizing on this new bit of free time I have and doing productive things with it. Enjoyable things. 

It's a weird feeling, really. I feel like a pretty independent person - I moved out when I was 17 and I was, for the most part, happily single until my junior year of college. But in this new part of my life, I don't have anyone to answer to. I never have to consider someone else's schedule when I make plans, no one is ever really wondering where I am or what I'm doing, and it's been an interesting adjustment. However, I have determined to view this new kind of individuality as freedom, as a great thing and as an opportunity to take care of myself! 
Not to say that I couldn't have done that when I was in a relationship. I never felt tied down or obligated by spending time with my boyfriend - he was my favorite and I loved it. Just keepin' it real.

But now I am by myself. A lot. Which is never something that I have enjoyed before - I have always preferred the company of other people to being alone. I've been going through a lot of adjustment, though, about what independence is to me now and what it entails- I live by myself, and that in and of itself affords me a lot of just me time. 

At first, it was rough. I didn't like it at all, and so my amazing friends welcomed me into their homes so that I never had to spend time alone if I didn't want to. [If you're one of those lovely people - you know who you are - know that I appreciate you so much!!] And I'm still quite enjoying a lot of quality time with people who are very dear to me. But I've also started to embrace my newly-defined independence. 

I've been paying more attention to my apartment - which has been sorely necessary, but something that I always put on the back burner because, for a long time, spending time with and doing fun things with my boyfriend and his family was more important to me than making sure my laundry was put away and that my dishes were always clean. Sue me. 
I've been having people over (I have found that I actually really love hosting!) and spending more time at my friends' homes as well. Which has been an immense joy, and something I'll write about soon!
This past weekend, I went to the mall - by myself - and spent a few hours shopping and spending some of my hard-earned money. And I didn't feel a shred of guilt afterwards. 
I got contacts, which is something I've wanted to do for a long time but just never did. My face feels naked, but I can see! 
I've been putting off a piercing that I wanted for a long time because my ex didn't like it, and I'm going to get it soon. There is also a new tattoo in the works, which I am very excited about!
I also started taking a dance class at a really awesome studio in town, and finally having a physical outlet for my emotions and stresses and thoughts has been one of the best things I could have possibly done for myself in this time.
And, most importantly of all, I've been spending a lot of quality time with Jesus. Just me and Him, walking through everything that's going on in my heart and in my head as I navigate this crazy, tumultuous, somehow exciting new season. 

Really, I feel like a completely different person than I was two months ago. After a breakup, a lot of girls do drastic things like some of the stuff I mentioned - they chop off their hair, dye it a different color, buy a completely new wardrobe, move away to a different state (or even a different country!). And I totally understand why.
I'm redefining myself. Not my identity - more than ever before, I feel firmly rooted in my foundation as a follower of Christ. But just my person, if you will. I'm not the same girl that I was even a few months ago - from the inside out, I feel completely different. I'm doing things that maybe I haven't done before, things I've been saying that I wanted to do, things that are making me feel really great about myself.

I'm breaking free from who I was and forging ahead into who I'm becoming. And that is a great feeling. 

Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! - 2 Corinthians 5:17