Mending the Sky

Well, this is the first time that I’ve taken pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) for this type of expression in a while. It also marks nearly a month since I flew home after being abroad for nearly two months. This summer was the UD Chorale World Tour 2017 We Can Mend the Sky. And we did just that. It was hard to keep up with my writing while so distracted by not only the music, but friends, adventures, nights out, days rehearsing, performances, shwarma pizza, lavender fields, and taking in each and every experience possible in that short time.

Now I did say that the tour was called We Can Mend the Sky. Sounds cheesy, right. Especially since it was the name of a song that we had been singing all year, a song that this group of people (that I honestly could never replace) knew inside and out and internalized well before this experience, or so I thought. But, I can truly say that I didn’t really know the weight of the song until one of our performances in Israel. And with each performance after, there was more meaning attached to the text and melody alike. Without conversations with both strangers and those that I thought I knew, eye opening experiences to cultures other than my own, and even the simple interactions that transpired, I would never have truly understood the song’s power. I mean it was capable of bringing nearly all of us to tears after we had sung it one hundred over – that has to mean something, right?

…mending the sky…

Personally, I remember sitting around in our hostel in Israel while so many people were gushing about how life changing everything was so far after being abroad for only a week and thinking to myself,

“How am I supposed to ‘mend the sky’ if I can’t even mend myself?”

I sit around trying to promote positivity and healthy self-talk and self-love, but the truth is, I’m just as cracked as anyone else. I was doubting my abilities to help anyone or be a liaison to the world around me as I was told I was because I couldn’t even fix my imperfections or the things that I have so much anxiety about in my own life. I couldn’t  make myself happy at the snap of my fingers. I couldn’t isolate what was making me upset. I couldn’t understand why the past year had been so taxing for me,  so hard to talk to anyone about – even those closest. How in God’s name was I going to mend the sky? Fix the problems? Make any form of a difference – even the smallest difference – on strangers or people i knew?

…mending the sky…

In the world as a whole and on a personal level, it sounds like a crazy task. Sounds like something only the exceptional can do. Sounds like something that I definitely am not capable of.

The secret though, is that it really isn’t that crazy. Mending the entire sky, yeah, that’s going to take a lot of work. A lot of people. A lot of kindness. A lot of love. But when people come together to do something that they love, create something beautiful, talk to strangers, experience the world, display happiness – it doesn’t seem so hard. The positivity and impact are almost…simple.

I’m not going to sit here and say that the two months away were easy by any means. I can’t do that truthfully. Tour was overwhelming in both positive and challenging ways as was just being abroad in general. There were times when I wanted to just sit down at home with my family for an early dinner at 5 pm followed by a Rita’s run with my sister or wake up in the morning to find a note from my mom saying that she went to a tennis drill and would be home in an hour or come downstairs at night to see my dad sitting on the couch watching Antiques Roadshow or American Pickers. There were times when I struggled to learn music, felt that my efforts weren’t really helping anything, prayed that I wasn’t being too irritating to my friends – looking back pretty typical stuff. And at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have traded this experience or any aspect of it for anything else. I grew to know the people that I had been singing with and sitting in classes with and saying hi to for the past year so much better. I felt comfortable talking to anyone in the room around me. I learned so much about myself and can recognize the ways that I have changed. I can see how positivity from others influenced me and impacted me so strongly. I understand how each person has an impact in the world around them and how each action has a reaction. And how we all have a purpose. It sounds cheesy, I know, but it’s the truth.

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure where this is going nor was I when I started writing. I know I’m going to question where my train of thought was when I was writing this and why my thoughts were so scattered from one thing to the next. But I do know that these are all things that need to be said.

Because the thing is ‘if we come together, we can mend a crack in the sky’.

I’m glad you’re alive.

xoxo leigh

 

 

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Uniquely Perfect Human

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I haven’t written here in a while. It’s been a pretty busy time for everyone these days, but for me I needed a personal hiatus from sharing my thoughts. And then today happened. Honestly, it’s been a great day. But as I was sitting drinking my coffee and being productive (so proud that I wasn’t just scrolling through instagram), a wave of anxiety ran over me. I got up from where I was sitting, walked around campus, and called my mom (the best medicine, obviously). It made me realize how closed off I’ve been with the people around me and myself lately.

It’s easy to be closed off. It’s easy to pretend like all is okay and that your life is swell and that things come easily. It’s harder to admit your weaknesses and, not only to recognize them in yourself, but to accept them.

In the past few months, accepting my weaknesses has been a goal. I literally have a checklist in my bullet journal (OCD, I know) that includes things I need to do every morning and one of them is just that: self-love. Like many people these days, acknowledging the things that you love about yourself can be difficult, especially with there being so many things that we are supposed to be doing all the time. Life can get in the way of focusing on the most important things, sometimes. For me, it’s accepting myself for who I am, including the body that I have, the emotions that can make my head spin (both in good and not so good ways), and recognizing that I’m not going to be good at everything — and all of that is okay. Granted, I haven’t mastered this self-love thing just yet and I don’t think I fully will for a while. It takes time and effort. I get annoyed with myself when my mind fills with anxiety and it compromises my abilities. I am not super accepting of those moments when I can’t put forth 110% of my efforts. I don’t like when I make mistakes. I don’t always love what I see when I look in the mirror. Yes, these are all things that I’m not good at, but I’m trying to work on them. Honestly, just accepting where I am in the process is good enough. Accepting that this will take time is good enough.

There are some things that you just can’t bear to muster out to anyone else. I get that. There are some things that some people, no matter how much you want to tell them, will just never know about you. Some things you keep to yourself. I know I have my things. There are a few things that I barely admit to myself, but it’s those things that help me build a stronger relationship with myself. Once you can accept the things about you that you don’t want to tell others — that only you know — you grow stronger with your self relationship.

People don’t know everything about my story. That isn’t because I don’t trust them, have faith in them, or love them. But because it’s so difficult for me to tell someone everything. I struggle telling myself. For God’s sake I took a break from writing to take a break from my own thoughts. Instead of believing in the voices of shame, love yourself for those things that you make you feel a little lesser than.

Accept yourself for all of your flaws and try to love yourself as much as you can. As soon as you accept that you aren’t perfect, that your flaws are actually what make you lovely, you will feel more at peace and ease with the uniquely perfect human that you are.

xoxo leigh

 

 

A Night

I’m not one to want to discuss my story. I have made that very clear with the purpose of this blog. In my opinion, I should be able to write out the solutions and lessons that I learn and that should be enough to make myself feel more confident and better about whatever situation is happening.

Tonight is different. I am not exactly sure why, but it is. Something about it has come over me, and I don’t know how to make a lesson of it. I don’t know what the moral of the story is. So instead, I’m going to just say what’s on my mind.

I’m having a night. All of a sudden a huge wave of anxiety ran over me when I was sitting at work. Nothing in particular happened to spark it, but all of a sudden, I felt like I was crashing. I felt like my mind was racing from story to story but not understanding any of the plots along the way. I felt like I couldn’t understand what I was thinking. I felt anxious, uncomfortable, agitated, and more alone than I have felt in a long time. My stomach was turning in knots until I started to feel sick. These waves of uncertainty don’t happen too often, but when they do, the most agitating part is that I don’t know what brings them on. I don’t know the solution. I don’t know the answers.

I don’t like not knowing what to do. I don’t like not feeling in control of my situations. Yet I let those feelings affect me today.

I know I’m not alone. There is comfort in that. And you should know that no matter what you are going through, you are not alone either. No matter what your journey is, there is someone walking along side you, whether you know them or not. Take comfort in that. There is comfort in being able to admit to someone, even if I’m only typing it out onto the vast internet, that I’m not always okay. You don’t have to be okay for every second. But believe me, somehow you will be. You are not alone.

The Difference

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I want to make a difference.

That’s really all that I want. It seems easy to say that. I wrote it, didn’t I? It can happen.

I decided what I want to do with my life because I want to make this difference. When deciding what I want to study and what I want to do with my life, the most important thing to me was that I would impact other people. That I would have a positive impact on others, no matter how small. That I would be able to go home at the end of every day and know that I have done something that eventually will lead to good in the world.

But I’m finding that making a difference in someone else’s life isn’t really what I want. It’s the people that I think I will eventually help that are making a difference in my life. I’m not really making a difference in anyone’s life, but instead they are making a difference in mine. They are helping me grow and understand my purpose. It’s almost as if I’m being validated that my life has a purpose of some kind or has meaning beyond what I can imagine.

By helping someone, that person really helps me. This seems sappy, yes, but it’s true. We all want to lead the best lives we can. And to do that, I encourage you to take time to see how other people help you and to help the people around you. Don’t take one interaction for granted, but realize how every conversation, every text message, and every acknowledging smile, makes a difference in your life, no matter how small. By trying to make someone else smile, it may help you do the same.

Be someone that you would want to look up to and turn to. Be someone who wants to make a difference. By doing this, you’ll make a difference in yourself and that’s the most important thing.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Gandhi

Faith In You

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Faith is “complete confidence or trust in someone or something”.

Believing in something can be rewarding and powerful. Just knowing that you are not alone can help you through. Someone else or some other existential being is in charge of your path. Your journey is not dictated by what you want at any given time, but instead is planned out for you in advance.

But searching for that faith can be more challenging. Believe me, I know. There are days when you don’t think you can find that strength or realize the hope that is there. But on those days, find the faith to be ok. Find the faith to hold on to yourself. Find the faith to push through the surface. Find the faith to remember your strength and the person that you are. That ok day will become better.

I have faith in you. I have faith in me. I have faith in our abilities to make it through. You are a strong individual and if you look toward your personal faith: whether it be in yourself, in a higher power, in your love for friends and family, or anywhere else, you will find that strength to be closer to the surface than you expected.

Have faith in you because I do.

 

Home

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There is something comforting about being home. Maybe it’s the fact that I know when the traffic is going to be at its worst. Or maybe how I know when downtown is going to be insanely clustered with tourists. Or how it’s second nature driving down one winding road to the next. Or how I know when Starbucks is going to be empty and have room for my thoughts and me.

Or maybe it’s just how I know this place influenced me.

It influenced the person that is writing this.

It reminds me of where it started and where I grew up. It reminds me of the good and the bad and how i got through. It helps me remember the people that I love and the amazing friends that I made.It helped me mold myself into someone that one day I want to be proud of.

Look at your home. Maybe you love it. Maybe that home, that town, and those people make up your favorite place. But maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you don’t love it. Maybe you want to leave as so many people in my high school did. Maybe it isn’t everything like is written in a fairytale about how your home is supposed to be. But keep in mind that it shaped you. You’re strong and that is because of where you came from. It’s because of that street that you grew up biking up and down, that room that you cluttered with posters, that school that, at times, felt like torture, and that road that you drove down endlessly blasting music with the windows down. It’s because of all of that.

Never forget where you came from. Don’t forget the place or places that made you who you are and helped you get where you are now. The little things and the small places may seem like nuances, but they do add up to something. They add up to where you end up.

Go Forth and Love

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To love and be loved. That’s all anyone really wants, right? To be able to fully give everything that you have to someone else and feel an amazing amount of that same energy returned to you in only the way one person can. I know it’s what society has always told me to want.

But what if that love isn’t a person? What if it’s your job? Or your dog? Or the hobby that you are so passionate about? Well that’s okay, right?

Yes. 100% yes. Even though being in love with someone sounds like the end all be all of life, it is the energy that you put in and what you get in return that makes love worth it. It is how you feel about yourself when that passion and love is a part of you.

So play that sport. Practice that instrument. Travel the world. And do what you love just because you love it. The people you love – your friends, family, and even strangers who appreciate you in some capacity – will recognize how happy what you love makes you and be happy in response.

The most important part of love, though, is loving yourself. You have to have faith in you. Everything will fall into place as soon as you realize the immense amount of love that you should shower yourself with. You are a strong individual worth more than you even recognize. I love you and so do many others. As soon as you recognize that, your world will be filled with love of all kinds.

“The greatest thing that you will ever learn is to love and be loved in return.” – Moulin Rouge

That all comes after you love yourself first. Be passionate, go forth, and love.