That feeling of impending doom

Recently I was talking to a friend about anxiety and how we were currently feeling. She was in the process of getting on medication while I carefully weaned myself off* (*I cut it to half dose and then stopped cold turkey after three days). As we sat there comparing our reactions, she told me she was in the ‘impending doom phase,’ and it immediately made sense to me.

My entire life I’ve dealt with feelings of impending doom. As a child, something in me snapped too early and I realized just how fragile human existence is. Literally anything and everything can kill you. It’s horrifying.

One time I was going to take a bath as a child but stopped because I was sure lava was going to come out of the faucet. I’ve set alarms for various points throughout a night because I was sure the strange pain in my chest meant I was going to die. Sometimes I would go into my parent’s room and sleep on the floor because I was too afraid of everything that could happen.

These are just a few of the many ways I let this kind of anxiety get in my way. For a while, I believed this gut feeling of something bad is coming was a sign. Like maybe God was trying to warn me so I could be okay if I just listened.

This thought is reinforced by stories you hear of people who die tragically after telling someone they have a weird feeling. Relatives and friends will say they told someone to not do this or that because they felt it was a bad omen, and then the worst happened. We’re taught to believe in these feelings of impending doom.

What I’ve learned in 28 years of being afraid is that it doesn’t matter what that feeling tells me. I’ve stayed home from outings because I was sure I would die in a car wreck and I’ve fought through the fear and gotten on a plane. I have no control either way and my anxiety isn’t based on anything real. It’s my lack of control sending me spiraling.

As I write this, I’m on a plane from Pittsburgh bound for LAX. After five hours in an airport, I’ll take a quick flight to Vegas to celebrate my brother’s birthday. I picked a bad time to stop taking my Lexapro, let me tell you. I also just moved into my own apartment. Naturally, I was sure my plane would crash and my apartment would burn down. Plus, there was a guy at my gate who kept suspiciously staring outside and I’m still not convinced of his innocence.

Granted, in this moment, all of this could still happen, but I’m being optimistic.

If I listened to all the lies filling my head, I would never have boarded a plane. I wouldn’t leave my apartment because of what could happen in my absence, not to mention what will happen to me in the world.

As my faith has grown, I’m able to recognize that God doesn’t have a special button He pushes to keep me safe through these feelings. Jesus is sneaking a text to my soul while God and the Holy Spirit are talking. God’s plan doesn’t depend on my interpretation of feelings. Can you imagine if that’s what we had to rely on? That living or dying was all a matter of properly discerning a feeling of impending doom.

It’s absolutely nuts.

I believe you can have a feeling about something and that something can happen, good or bad, but it’s probably just a coincidence. I’m not sure statistics for this exist, but I will reasonably assume that the impending doom feeling to actual doom ratio is pretty low.

The feeling of impending doom is like a cloud of dread that fills your body and sends little cloud tentacles into your brain to reinforce the idea that the worst is yet to come. It can and has been paralyzing in my own life. I don’t know if I’ll ever live without it, but I know I won’t let it keep me from actually being alive.

That sounds cheesy, I realize, but it’s true. If I do end up dying and this laptop/story is recovered, please read it aloud at my funeral for inspiration and then play ‘Ironic’ by Alanis Morrisette. Lighters in the air are encouraged.

Anxiety is a real mental illness. I have a real imbalance that causes my emotions to malfunction and send me over the edge. Recognizing this is empowering. Even if I can’t stop the feeling of impending doom, I can remind myself it’s nonsense and get on the plane even with the guy who might be a terrorist.

Why I can’t forget when it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day

It feels like every single day there’s something to celebrate on Instagram with a hashtag

#nationaldogday

#nationalmuttday

#nationalsiblingsday

#nationalsistersday

#nationalbestfriendday

#nationalbffday

#nationaldonutday

#nationalpizzaday

#nationalwallowinselfpityday

You get the idea.

There are a thousand nonsensical holidays that none of us will ever actually remember, but there’s one I’ll never forget. Talk Like a Pirate Day. To understand why, we need to travel together back 11 years ago.

The year was 2007 and I was a junior in high school. It was my second year of braces and just two days after I passed my driving test. Here’s a 17-year-old me to really set the mood.

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Just so you know, I have like 20 other pictures of me and my friend Brittany wearing tubes and being weirdos. Teenagers are weird.

It’s important to note that at this time I was obsessed with High School Musical (2 to be exact). I believed the music was actually quality and spent time trying to convince my mother of its greatness. I remember this because one of the songs was my ringtone.

This one to be exact.

All I want is for Zac Efron to say that I’m the music in him.

So obviously this is embarrassing for several reasons, but it gets worse. It was the morning of September 19 and I was in my first class of the day, AP English. This year we focused on rhetoric. I remember this because I still don’t understand rhetoric. It won’t surprise you to learn I didn’t get a high enough score on the AP Exam to count as college credit.

It’s just a normal morning with my wonderful instructor Mrs. Sherman trying to teach us something. I’m sorry Mrs. Sherman. I even remember some of the summer reading books like The Scarlett Letter and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I didn’t read them, but I remember. Did I mention you’re a great teacher?

All of the sudden, I hear my current favorite song come blasting out of my pocket. Oh no. I didn’t turn my phone down. The literal horror. Quickly I open and close my pink Razr (still my favorite phone) and pray to God my teacher didn’t notice.

She did.

As I’m fumbling to turn it down, it rings again and I realize it’s my mother trying to call me. The chorus to ‘You Are The Music in Me’ fills the classroom and Mrs. Sherman, fortunately amused, tells me to answer.

At this point, I’m nervous. My mom never calls us during school. She didn’t even like texting us during school hours because we should be paying attention. To get a call during class time must mean the apocalypse was upon us or I forgot I needed to catch the Braces Express for an orthodontist appointment.

I answer anxiously and then I hear her enthusiastic response. Okay, so no one’s dead. That’s a plus. I tell her I’m in class and ask why she’s calling. She then asks why I would answer and I let her know my teacher said I could. Finally, after what felt like 20 minutes, she gets to why she called me.

It’s National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Knowing my deep love of Will Turner aka Orlando Bloom from Pirates of the Caribbean, she thought I’d really like to know.

September 19 is a day that will live in the infamy of embarrassing moments that shaped my youth.

Moving away from my embarrassment, I really love this story. Sometimes when I talk about JT (my name for my mom when I’m referencing her stern side) I worry I give people the wrong impression because of how she sounds. My mom is the greatest. I wouldn’t trade her for any mom in the world, even Meryl Streep. Yes, she was strict and expected a lot from us, but she also called just to tell me it was Talk Like a Pirate Day because she knew I liked pirates. My mom has always been the Hannah Montana* of parents, the best of both worlds between fun and strict.

*I had to fit one more 2007 reference in there

A week of being unsocial

One week ago I turned 28, but more importantly I stepped away from social media. Like I didn’t even check my birthday notifications stepped away from social media. Because I’ve been asked a surprising amount of times how my week without these online platforms has been, I decided to write about it. You’re welcome.

  1. It’s really helpful to tell people you’re taking a break

Pretty much as long as people have been taking breaks from social media, I’ve been judging their decision to let everyone know. I thought it was just for attention so people would ask why and say I’ll miss you. Maybe it was for some, but I’m off my judgy train.

Frequently, especially in this past year, I’ve fasted from social media for a time and I never posted about it. Honestly, it’s like being self-righteous in reverse. Maybe the long con of being self-righteous? Instead of looking all high and mighty in a post, I get the privilege of telling people when they asked if I saw something ‘oh, I’m fasting from social media right now.’ Barf.

I decided to tell people to avoid a year of people asking if I saw someone’s post. Because then it’s a million ‘I’m not on social media’ conversations I didn’t want to have. This is one decision I’m so grateful I made. It’s a rare feeling for me.

While people have asked how my week has been and we’ve talked about my time away, no one has assumed I saw something online. No one rolls their eyes when I talk about my break because they already know. It’s actually been kind of magical.

2. You have to work harder to distract yourself

I wish I had a nickel every time I picked up my phone and just stared at it, begging for it to entertain me. In reality, I’ve deleted most gaming and social apps that distract me for this reason. Just because you cut the bad boy from your life doesn’t mean you don’t wish he’d text you now and again.

Sometimes I put the phone down and realize it has nothing for me, or I browse my apps and open something random to entertain myself. I’m really into browsing Amazon and checking for weather pattern changes.

3. Social media sites are all like ‘I just can’t quit you’

Turns out leaving social media isn’t super easy. It took me four days to unravel all of its hooks in my life, like links to other accounts and notifications on my laptop. At one point I thought I had them all and then I still received more.

Instagram has been the worst. Every couple of days it sends me an email with posts I’ve missed since being in my account. How creepy is that? I’ve unsubscribed twice. Hopefully it will stick this time.

This is why we need some time apart, social media.

4. Taking pictures is a different experience

I’m not saying I solely took photos to share online. I just mostly took photos to share online. Going into this, I knew I’d have to find a balance between visually documenting my year and knowing I wouldn’t have a place to showcase my happenings.

I decided to create a Flickr account, which feels very 2003. This way I can track photos throughout the year by date to remember everything (without having 10,000 photos on my phone [I’m already halfway there])

If you’re ever like ‘I wonder what Chelsea’s year looks like, check out my page yo

So there you have it. I haven’t missed it yet, but then again going a week without is nothing new for me. We’ll check back in a month.

 

 

28 Things about me I’ve accepted after 28 years of being me

Five years ago I wrote about the lessons I had learned after 22 years of life. I remember feeling like I had turned a curve of adulthood at 23 and everything seemed to make sense. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn that two months later I quit my job, moved home, and realized 23 is actually the worst year of life.

Now at 28, I know my life is one big disaster in thinking I can do it on my own. There’s a lot I don’t know, but I’m confident in who my Creator designed me to be. It doesn’t mean I’m not still insecure at times. I’m still me, after all. It just means I can take an honest appraisal of myself and accept all the strange and unavoidable facts about me, like:

  • I have a weird hairline

In eighth grade a boy asked me if I had a receding hairline. After this, I took a vow to the gods of old to never show my forehead again. Despite having a luxurious head of hair, what lies beneath my bangs and at the base of my skull is a weird terrain of baby hair and awkward patterns. These days I’m slightly more confident about letting it all hang out, but understand that bangs simply frame my face better.

  • My palette is unrefined

To be clear, I’m not someone who orders chicken tenders at every restaurant. I’m not a barbarian. I can appreciate good and exotic food with the best of them. I’m just not good at discerning between flavors. My favorites are all basic dishes because my mouth can wrap its tasty brain around the classics. Don’t ask me to tell you what flavors are in something, either. Unless I’m eating a strawberry, I won’t be able to tell you it’s strawberry flavored.

  • I can’t really tell if something is good

Similar to my poor palette is my inability to really judge and compare things like food, books and movies. With age, I’ve gotten better at admitting what I liked best and offering my opinion, but I still worry immensely no one will agree with me.

  • I am not good at finding things

Have you ever seen the GIF of John Travolta in his character from Pulp Fiction opening his arms and looking around puzzled? That’s basically me. Whether it’s an Easter basket hidden the house, a file on a computer, or something on a table you’re pointing out to me, I probably won’t find it. I promise I try. I really do.

  • I’m a really poor communicator

As a writer and communications professional, this is a little embarrassing. For most of my life, I would explain or say something and be misunderstood. I’ve often found myself explaining things several times. Until a few years ago, I thought it was everyone else’s problem and I was the superior being. Nope. Turns out I have a lot of words but no clear understanding of how to use them to explain a point properly.

  • I don’t have any exciting hobbies

When people ask what you like to do for fun, I’ve always wanted to say something interesting like climb mountains or learn Mandarin Chinese. Sometimes I say travel because it is something I enjoy, but I don’t view it as a hobby. At the end of the day, I like reading and taking walks. And learning. I love gaining new knowledge and then sharing it when anyone will listen. I’m a huge nerd, but we can’t all be thrill seekers.

  • I will never have a large group of best friends

I remember going to college and assuming I would meet all these people with similar interests and we would all be best friends. Movies and television taught me that you need these large friend groups to get through every phase of life. Sure, I had a lot of friends in high school, but it was different.

Being only two years shy of 30, it seems unlikely that I’ll ever have a monster group, but I left college with something even better. My heterosexual life partner, Samantha. No offense to all my other friends because I like you guys too, but if I was faced with choosing between losing her and having other friends or only having her, she would win without a moment’s hesitation.

  • I am a great aunt

Not like a great aunt like a great grandma. That would be weird. Nothing makes me happier than my nieces wanting to cuddle with me.

  • I am weak when it comes to my mouth

I am the epitome of a big mouth, although mercifully it’s been shrinking as I’ve matured. It seems like my mouth and my heart are always after two different things and even when I know I shouldn’t say something, my mouth barges forward because it knows the reaction it will get.

  • I will always prefer sweatpants

I wish I was someone who changed into jeans after she takes off her work clothes, but that ain’t me. If I’m going somewhere after work, maybe. If I’m just home, heck no. I am in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, no bra. Sometimes I just skip right to pajamas. I have this great balance between looking good and enjoying the reward of looking like a bum at the end of the day.

  • I am responsible

There was a phase in my life where I somehow lost sight of the old woman I truly am and assumed I wasn’t a responsible adult. I let this idea grow until it became how everyone viewed me. But 28-year-old Chelsea is here to set the record straight. I’m responsible AF, y’all.

  • I am opinionated

If you don’t want to know how I feel about something, just don’t speak in my presence. I have feelings about basically everything and usually have zero issues with sharing.

  • I’m not political

There are things in this world I care about (people mostly). My politics come down to loving people no matter where they are or what situation of life they’re in. I don’t care about parties or policies. Nothing else in this world matters to me except for loving people.

  • I’m hairy

Remember when I talked about my weird hairline? Yeah, turns out I’m hairy all over. I used to be super self-conscious and think about shaving my arms but now I’m like nah. It’s cool that my hair grows down my neck. I have a cute little ‘stache that creeps in now and again.

  • I’m not super fashionable

I’m not saying this like I don’t care how I like or I look like a bum. I’m aware that 90% of the time in public I look nice. Usually my look is more classic instead of in style. Sam, for example, is always wearing things that are trendy. I used to pin looks on Pinterest and decide now was the time I would buy more fashionable clothing. Occasionally I stumble into something on the cutting edge, but usually I’m just low key me.

  • I have nice hair

This isn’t one I’m going to go on and on about. It’s just a blessing I’m aware of. So many people complain about their hair not styling or holding, and mine does both. I don’t need to use products and it will look good all day. It’s a nice balance between of thickness and softness and the color isn’t bad either. This has gone on too long.

  • I hate classification labels

Virgo, ENFJ, INFJ, 4, Introvert, Extrovert

These are all ways you can describe me and there are levels of truth in all of them; however, I HATE how people think they can understand you just by asking what your Enneagram is or if you’re an extrovert.

Now that I’m thinking about it, my frustration comes down to our quick intimacy culture. We’re obsessed with knowing how you’re classified because it helps us immediately understand someone. We think it gives us a deeper access into who they are. Just like how we present ourselves on social media. I want someone to learn about me not because they know my Myers Briggs rankings, but because they just know me.

Despite these labels, they can never fully capture the uniqueness of a human. I am Chelsea. A child of God. Lover not a fighter. Hufflepuff. These are the only classifications I like.

  • I’m bad at doors

I just don’t get locks and handles. I never turn, push or pull the right way. In defeat I usually walk away and have someone help me. It’s a major weakness I can’t overcome.

  • I’m a really lazy go-getter

People meet me and listen to me and assume I’m like the crazy proactive person. This is sometimes true. Because I am frequently a ball of energy that is literally bursting with enthusiasm (probably because I’m a Virgo, jk), I go through phases of intense activity and profound laziness. I have yet to find a way to balance the energy with the relaxation, but I’m always optimistic.

  • I’m an unshakeable optimist

If you ever hear me unsure if something will work out (outside of professional work opinions), it’s usually because being an eternal optimist can drive people crazy. I believe in seeing the best in people and believing in what will happen. Sometimes I hide this to commiserate with people so they like me more. I wish I didn’t do this.

  • I’m super obsessive

I literally have to limit myself on Netflix because I can binge like nobody’s business. I become emotionally invested in shows and feel out of sorts in my real life thinking about plot lines in a show. It happens with books sometimes, too. Usually I can walk away and give myself space. Usually.

  • I am not polished

Don’t watch me try to eat or get out of a car in a skirt. Isn’t there a saying about putting lipstick on a pig? I feel like that. I can look carefully assembled, but really I’m just a slob.

  • I am goofy

What can I say? I’m a silly billy. Prone to dance and sing in public, it’s likely I’ll embarrass you at some point when we’re together. I also make a lot of weird jokes that people miss and think I’m serious. As I mentioned, I’m a poor communicator.

  • I am smart

I was raised by a mother who never let me think I was smart so to this day I’m still surprised when sometimes tells me I’m smart. Let’s be clear – I’m not Harvard smart. I stopped at Organic Chemistry because it got too complicated. My main skills are information retention. If you know me and read this and think I’m an idiot, you’re not wrong. Brains can’t help with my lack of common sense or strangeness.

Upon re-reading I want to point out my mom was careful so I didn’t become a precocious know-it-all and drive everyone crazy. Thanks to her diligence, I wasn’t a complete know-it-all.

  • I’m an oversharer

Few things bring me more joy than when people ask about me, especially after clarifying they’re not trying to be too intrusive. I don’t think I have anything in my life I will not freely discuss in any situation. I thrive on sharing too much. Be careful what you ask for.

  • I’m a good arguer

So yes, I hate to fight and will likely end up in tears myself, but usually I’m too stubborn to give up. It used to drive my mom crazy how I could basically win an argument because I could wear the other person down. Twice I won debates in high school with minimal research on my end just because of my passion. Seriously.

  • I’m always trying to do my best

This site is called Seemingly Good Ideas because I make a lot of stupid choices, but at the end of the day it’s because I’m trying to do the best I can. I’m just a human, that’s all.

  • I’m a work in progress

I’m not going to accomplish everything I want overnight and this path has shown that the self improvement and progress is worth it. I hope until the day I die I consider myself a work in progress because there’s always room to grow.

#Dedicate28

This annoying habit of theming my birthdays began three birthdays ago at age 25, after a trip to Ireland woke me up. At the time, I thought I had it all figured out. Now I know that was just the beginning of my transformation.

#QuarterLifeChelsea began with a full month of celebrations and a dedication to living as  God called me. Also just living my life in general instead of hiding from it out of fear. I initially believed 25 would be about stability. I lived in a duplex and had a car payment, steady job, and a dog. It seemed like I had my life in order.

Following God, I’ll remind you, usually means we don’t actually have it figured out. Soon it became apparent I needed to leave my job and the perfect opportunity opened up to take me to Buffalo with my family. Then a month after that my dog was killed and I was living with my parents. #Ridiculous26 began with pink hair, a nose piercing, and a new tattoo. I took the lessons I learned from Ireland and my growing trust in God and just really went for it.

I left my comfortable full-time job to work at Sephora. More than the economic hardships I obviously endured, the bigger struggle was dealing with my family constantly telling me I had made a mistake. I didn’t know where my path was going, but I knew it wasn’t wrong.

It was during this time I had my come to Jesus moment.

Well, maybe not come to Jesus because I’d been saved for almost 15 years at that point. No, it was the moment when I realized I couldn’t keep living with the world and growing my faith. The two parts couldn’t meet up – I was still chained to the person I thought I had to be while lightly grooming the one I had to be. Even though I’d been going to church my entire life, I’d never felt that desire to be different. I didn’t think it was possible.

Fortunately, this changed when I got really drunk at a boat party, someone shared pictures and then I went to church and served hungover.

It was here a dear friend spoke into my life because she saw my duplicity, but more importantly she saw my potential. Suddenly, I knew I could be different. I wanted to change. This began a whirlwind. My first decision was to stop drinking and it’s one I intend to keep for the rest of my life.

By the time 27 rolled around, I went with #27thHeaven because I didn’t really know what else I was going for. My life was still in such an upheaval and I remained directionless. I forced myself to do the usual parade of September activities assuming it would help me feel like me again.

This is where I’m going to fast forward because honestly there’s so much and I don’t want this post to lose focus. This is what happened in nutshell: it’s like suddenly I reached the end of this dark uphill tunnel and I saw a glimpse of what God had for me. All of the work I’d been doing in my life made sense and suddenly I was new.

Everything in between are stories for another day. The end result is #Dedicate28. All of those years were about me, but I want that to change. This September wasn’t filled with endless activities. I want my life to be a reflection of Jesus and everything I do to point to Him. I want His greatness to shine, and I know I can’t do this if I keep putting myself at the center.

It’s not going to be an easy year. I mean, living without social media is challenge enough, not to mention everything else going on. But I’m confident in what God is doing. He’s shown me His faithfulness time and time again and I don’t want to lose sight of that glory for my own.

A year of being unsocial

For almost half of my life, I’ve been active on social media. I remember getting a MySpace at age 15 and carefully taking my profile picture to show off how deep and mature I was. In case you’re wondering, I set a digital camera self-timer and sat across the room with my bangs across my face and the classic look of being misunderstood. Naturally I was wearing a Harry Potter t-shirt.

Considering it was my first journey into social media, I’m not sure how I knew that was the norm. It was before MySpace the Movie exposed the concept of using angles to make yourself look better and I certainly wasn’t a scene kid committed to that lifestyle.

In a time where your parents frequently received CDs in the mail with trials of America Online, I was just beginning my web experience. My dad had Internet before most people, meaning I was on AOL Messenger before it became the sensation of AOL Instant Messenger. ChellyBelly911, hit me up.

What did we do in the early days before social media? It’s hard to remember, honestly. For awhile I played Bingo online and did the A/S/L game with strangers. Thankfully, things weren’t as dangerous back then. GorgeousGeekyGuys.com just *understood* my obsession with the cast of Lord of the Rings and I printed pictures of all my favorite hotties.

Yes, that’s what we did. Printed pictures of hot guys to hang on our walls. What a time.

The social side of the Internet continued to blossom with sites like Xanga and LiveJournal (I had both), but it hit its stride with MySpace. I spent so much dial-up time blocking phone calls so I could pick the perfect background and song for my page. Cultivating your Top 8 was crucial and being able to add more was revolutionary.

At age 17 I made my Facebook account. My sister was in college and guaranteed me it was the site all the cool college kids preferred. Twitter came at 19 with Instagram following shortly after. I guess YouTube happened somewhere too along with a million other sites that tried but couldn’t compete with the big guns (looking at you, Google+). And yeah I know there are more popular sites like Tumblr and Pinterest but I’ve got to get the point of this post soon.

Now as an almost-28-year-old, it’s interesting to look at the evolution of social media use. For some kids, Facebook has always been around. They can get tagged in baby pictures and have their own account. They missed the years where it was cool to poke people and the question wasn’t ‘what’s on your mind?’


It began as a simple way to stay connected and share funny images. Writing on Walls to say you missed someone’s face was the norm. Is it even still called a wall? I wrote that instinctively. No, now it’s a Timeline. I lived through the crises of our generation when the layouts would change and everyone would like pages that served as petitions to bring the old way back. Surprisingly, this never worked.

You posted a status to actually update someone. When I look back and see everything I shared, it’s frankly embarrassing. I would update like five times a day and most of the time no one even liked my statuses. This is when my life with social media starts to take a turn.

At some point, those likes began to mean something to me. Maybe it was learning more about the platforms through my public relations major that made me want to perform better online, but I think it was a cultural shift.

Here social media went from a simple way of staying connected to being unique and heard. Slowly, we began to cultivate our images online. Not everyone, mind you. Some people probably share things today and don’t care about likes. Even writing that I think, then what’s the point of sharing?

And that is my problem.

My family is very smart and funny and fortunately I have received a fraction of both these features. As a result, social media became a good outlet for me. It took time, but eventually I found a way to combine my talents with a way of entertaining people online.

Listen, I don’t write that because I think I’m so amazing and everyone loves me. Then again, Jimmy Fallon did say my name several times on television because I am so creative and funny so you be the judge.

It really started with Twitter. I barely passed 500 followers and didn’t get a lot of retweets, but got told just enough I was funny that I kept tweeting. I began to share less on Facebook and focus my updates on things I could make funny. When Instagram launched the Stories feature, it was over for me.

By this time I was deeply invested, committed and reliant upon social media. It felt like as long as people liked me there, I was good enough. I wanted to keep pleasing people. When a post didn’t perform well, it would make me second guess everything about myself.

If I’m being honest, it felt like my social media persona was a version of myself I could control. My entire life I’ve known that I’m kind of a divisive person. I’m overall likable (she said modestly), but I’m also a lot. I’m intense and not really great at keeping my opinions to myself. In real life, you never know what I’m going to say. I never know what I’m going to say. With social media, I could select the best parts of me and give them to the world. It made me feel liked and good.

Naturally, it also made me feel more insecure.

When you present a controlled version of yourself, you can’t help but worry about all the untamed areas someone might encounter. The way friendship works in this online world only made it worse.


Fasting social media isn’t a new concept for me, but this year it held more weight. As my relationship with Jesus continued to grow, I made decisions focused around following wholeheartedly and several times I knew this meant distance from online communities. It was then I realized so much of my online communities are my real communities.

People told me they missed seeing me online. Others said I seemed like I was disconnected. This online version of me had become a substitute for real relationships. Sure, I saw my friends IRL, but so much more of our communicating was done online. People didn’t miss hanging out with me, they missed seeing what I shared online. I was disconnected because I wasn’t engaging online.

To be clear, I’m not saying this as a slight to my friends. In fact, their words were an eye opener for my relationship with social media. What their words told me was without social media, I didn’t really know how to stay connected.

Even worse, my actions have led social media to be a part of my identity.

Around Easter of this year, I decided to take an extended hiatus. This is where I learned about my problems with community, but I also learned something incredibly valuable. Social media does not have to be a part of my life. Even of people expect it or say it’s sad that I’m going, it doesn’t mean I can’t leave it behind. It doesn’t define me.

Eventually, I came back to it slowly, but as the weeks rolled by, I found myself becoming more and more dependent again. I unfollowed a lot of accounts that brought nothing to my life, but spent more time watching Instagram Stories as a distraction. I’ll scroll Facebook for hours, even if most of my time is just spent unfollowing video and meme accounts that I don’t want to see.

When I was away from social media, I read a lot. Now, I can’t keep my attention long enough and always find myself picking up my phone to distract myself. All I want is to be distracted, to see if my photo received more likes, to see if I’ve received any messages. I’m so tired of it.

I just need to limit myself, you say, and I get the suggestion. For many people who can casually browse and don’t live for the applause, it’s great advice. In my case, it doesn’t matter. I start with a spade and say I’m only going to move the dirt a little and soon enough I’ve dug my own grave where my phone has again become my most important relationship.

Since I turned 25, I’ve themed every year of my life, and 28 will be no different (in a sense). Following the transformation I’ve experienced over the last year, this year is Dedicate 28. It’s about not living for myself, but always pursuing Someone Higher. I quickly realized I needed to use this year to leave social media altogether.*

*so altogether means personally because I’m in digital marketing so obviously I have to use it for my job

In the days leading up to it, it feels like more people have reached out to me saying I’m funny and they love my stories and I’m just like GET BEHIND THEE SATAN! Jk, but really. I keep going back and forth wondering if this is the right choice and then I realize how tightly I’m holding onto something that I only really use to glorify myself. Sure, I share about God, but I know those likes aren’t for Him. I only want them for me.

Then I think about this site and the platform I’d like to have. It seems foolish to abandon social media if you want to grow something in 2018. First, I have social accounts for my blog and never use them. Second, if God wants this to go somewhere, He doesn’t need a Facebook account.

So I’m doing it. September 10, 2018, will be my last day until September 11, 2019. Usually I just quietly take a break, but I wanted to give people a warning in case they try to reach me. If you want to be my friend and continue our relationship, we have to do it the old fashioned way, meaning we’ll text each other about hanging out but never actually have time to do it. If you tag me in things, I won’t see it. If you send me a message on social media, I won’t see it.

You can text me screenshots, though. I do love some of the funny things that can be found online.

With this, though, I’m also challenging myself to be a better friend. Instead of relying on seeing your updates, I want to actually engage with you.

This is going to be a challenging year and prayers are obviously appreciated. I know God is going to use this time to help me refocus and continuing pursuing Him more without the distractions of glorifying myself.

See you next year, friends.

Except not if you read my blog. I’m going to keep doing this.

Lean not on your own understanding, you goof

Before I even get into the post, I should address the elephant on the blog. The last time I published a blog post was in FEBRUARY. In my defense, I didn’t remember writing anything this year so it feels like a small victory.

The worst part is I haven’t really wanted to write. I have excuses about being busy or being riddled with doubt, but I know. It was easier to not push myself and make those excuses. Recently, though, I’ve felt a welcome pull.

Like most millennials, I’m constantly questioning every aspect of my life and searching for purpose. I know what I like to do and what I’m good at, but I worry about all the other details. While I haven’t fulfilled my resolution of writing something every month, I’ve been great with growing my faith and reading more. Seriously, I’ve read 40 out of the 50 books in my goal. But it’s the combination that got me back here. Some of those books had some serious wisdom for my soul.

God has given me gifts and I want to use them to glorify Him. If I only reach a few of my Facebook friends with this blog, that is enough. I’m always so preoccupied with how far this can go I don’t notice what I can do here. So I need to write more and be comfortable with where I am. That’s one piece.

The second piece is I want my writing to be for Him. It’s not like I’m writing anything satanic, but I do make it about myself too much. See the previous paragraph. I’m too busy thinking about how many people will like a certain post and trying to write in a way that gets attention that I forget why I’m doing it in the first place.

Hindsight > Insight is the whole idea behind this, but I wanted to add a biblical element as well to take the spiritual meter up a notch. Like any good Christian fluent in her Bible, I started searching words like ‘mistake’ and ‘obedience’ in the Bible app. When it was zero help, I turned to the master researcher, Google. A simple search of “Bible verse about wrong decisions” immediately led me to the obvious answer.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding. Look to Him in all of your ways and He will make your path straight, oh he will make your path straight.”

Okay, so maybe that’s the song version of Proverbs 3:5-6, but you get the point. This is one of the first verses I ever unintentionally learned through song. Maybe you knew it, too. At the ‘paths straight’ part you lock your fingers together and do this wave motion, right? Right? Anyway. While the NIV version is pretty much the same, it’s the CEV that really hits it home.

“With all your heart you must trust in the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road.” 

My blog is called Seemingly Good Ideas because of how often I use that as a rationale for my really stupid decisions. I feel like I came out the womb fast and early apologizing to my frantic parents that it seemed like a good idea at the time.

When I look back on everything that seemed like a smart choice, the common factor is clear. I was relying on my own judgment and not trusting God to make the path for me. I lived with this fear that maybe He didn’t have my back so I had to make my way myself. Sure, not all of my decisions were this weighty, but a good chunk. Heck, if I had trusted God and not my friend I wouldn’t have tried to dye my hair blonde the month before my sister’s wedding. Her wrath was almost enough to send me to meet my Maker.

I even like how verse 7 begins in the CEV – Don’t ever think that you are wise enough.

In all of these decisions, I thought I was wise. I didn’t think I needed guidance and worse I didn’t have the patience to delay. One of my greatest strengths/weaknesses is my ability to act once I have a feeling. Without prayer, I’m a loose cannon with looser ties to my life.  I can up and leave anything without a glance back.

I want what I want now and the grass is always greener wherever my next decision takes me.

Thankfully, this is an area I’m learning to recognize and pause with. This whole year has been a test in patience, particularly in my finances. The more I trust and go to Him, the more I have a sense of right and wrong decisions. Now, I’m not an expert and not wise on my own. I still have to go to Him every single time, but I find myself less likely to run and more inclined to ask why and listen to His guidance and not my feelings.

So from now, Proverbs 3:5-6 will stand as an important part of this blog. It’s a reminder to me that while my seemingly good ideas might be laughable, they typically represent a lack of trust and confidence in my Creator.

In a way, it serves as the moral to all of my stories. Picture it’s the end of an episode on television and Jesus and I are enjoying a cup of tea. I just got done recounting my most recent disaster and he chuckles and says lovingly, “lean not on your own understanding, you goof.”

To the friends who teach us how to love

Sometimes my parents make jokes about my relationship with my best friend, usually of the lesbihonest variety. I laugh with them, because it’s understandable. The way I talk about Sam is often more loving than the way I hear people discuss their significant others. Don’t even get me started on the frequency – I’ve blogged about my deep love for her several times, excluding today, and will probably do many more in the future.

The reason is simple: She is the love of my life. We are just two heterosexuals who found our soulmate in each other, and it’s a beautiful thing. I know that this sounds strange, but if you’ve experienced it, you understand.

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Yeah I know we’re the cutest best friends on the planet DEAL WITH IT

I’ve talked at length about how we met, how our relationship grew, why she’s the greatest human, but in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m going to focus on something else. Sam is the one who taught me what it really means to love another person.

Naturally, I have a family that I’m close with, but that kind of love is different. I was born to love those people. Most of them didn’t give me a reason to doubt their love so mine was inherently returned. To love someone you have no obligation to is another, more challenging issue.

I wish I could remember every detail of how we went from last-minute roommates to the pair we are today. Living with her was a strange experience from day one; when I arrived and she told me she thought someone was going to break in and murder her, but it was only a can of Diet Coke exploding in the fridge (instead of investigating she simply stayed still in bed).

Maybe it was our sheer proximity that caused us to become so close (and the fact that we deliberately created the same class schedules), or maybe it was our recognition of needing each other. Or maybe just the fact that I needed her. She is one of the few people in this world I actually need in my life.

It’s been almost a decade since we first meant, and almost nine years since our first hangout. This is mind-blowing to me. It feels as if we’ve known each other forever because of our closeness, but mentally I still think it’s only been a few years.

Over the years, being her friend allowed me to have a relationship worth fighting for. When I think about what it means to be loved completely, I think of Jesus and Sam. She knows everything about me. There is so much trust between us that I know I can tell her my truly awful thoughts and there will never be judgment. I can tell her my ever changing dreams and she will offer all of her support.

She has shown me what it feels like to be secure in a relationship. I never have to question where I stand with her. If she’s tagged in a photo with another friend, I’m not worried about being replaced.

The example she set taught me how to love. Granted, I’m not nearly as good at it as she is. I’ve learned that being so close to someone is challenging, especially when they can interpret your true motivations. There will be fights and tears and thoughts of is this worth it? But it always is. That’s the best gift she’s given me. I’ve learned that to experience something real and rare, you have to understand that it takes work. As comfortable as we are with each other, it still takes work. Her refusal to give up or let our relationship stay the same taught me how to love.

Sometimes we date people and they teach us what it means to be with someone else, but sometimes the best relationships we learn from are our friends, the ones who never leave. The ones who enter our lives right on time and become so important you can’t imagine a time without them. The ones who see us at our worst and best and love us at every single stage in between. Unconditional love is a powerful gift.

I think sometimes we can forget that this is what love should feel like, and compromise that pureness for something broken. Perhaps we are desperately trying to find a best friend and attempt to fit people into molds where they don’t belong. Sometimes we meet someone and it feels so good to be dating that we let it slide when their love feels forced, or maybe even conditional.

As humans, I don’t believe we deserve anything in life, but I do know we need to remember what real love feels like, and get rid of anyone who makes that feeling a little more broken. Love may break your heart, but it shouldn’t before you’ve even started.

Waiting for something is challenging, believe me I know, but remember what you do have. The people who love you and our God who loves you so much He created you just as you are. Don’t compromise for what you know isn’t right.

Personally, I’ve wanted some big, romantic relationship. I’ve hoped every guy I’ve met would turn into this dreamboat, but so far I’m still here and single. Maybe someday I’ll get it, maybe I won’t. Or maybe God only has one epic love story for me, and if that’s my Sam, I can’t imagine anything better.

Fighting for something real

Up until recently, I had a regular pattern I followed in dating: meeting someone > being cautiously excited > losing my dang mind with feelings > it ultimately not working > trying to orchestrate any possible scenario to make it work > losing my dang mind with feelings > moving on > backsliding > meeting someone.

I met good guys and ones you can just smell the bad on, but it never made a difference. Even if it seemed like a good thing, it never worked out. I’ve told God countless times that I was ready, now was the time. I could practically feel the excitement as I waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually someone would come along and I’d start my cycle again.

There are a million reasons I never tried to break the cycle, but the biggest one was moving on for real would mean that option would be gone and I’d be left with nothing. Give me ill treatment, but please don’t leave me without prospects.

I needed to hold onto these small teddy bears because it was something to hold onto. Because I have yet to see His plan play out, I don’t fully trust God with what’s next. Instead of believing in His big plans, I cling to what feels good now.

At 27, it’s actually not hard to understand why I feel like I need something tangible to put my hope in. While the average age for woman to get married in America is 27, there’s so much societal pressure, especially in the church to accomplish this sooner. And yes, accomplish, as if it’s another point you can use on your spiritual resume to sell yourself. Most of the people who attended the same Christian college as me are married, and I haven’t had a real boyfriend since I was 18. Needing something makes sense.

The idea of someone is better than the reality of having no one.

But these ideas only hurt me. They consume me. They distract me. Even worse, they show these guys I’m here whenever they might want me again and I’m way too eager to let things go and try again. Although let’s be real, ‘try again’ is usually just some texts that give me hope and then he’s gone again. But I’m always ready to reply, ready to charm, ready to be wanted.

Occasionally I justified this behavior. I’m just having fun, right? It doesn’t mean anything. I’m young and want to enjoy myself. I’m not doing anything that bad, comparatively speaking. That’s what the world told me, and I listened.

Except it did mean something. It always means something.

Even now I try to act all breezy and cool, but I want a husband (even typing that makes me feel as if I’m betraying some ancient decree that a woman should never appear too desperate). I’m not looking for a four-year boyfriend. I’m in my late-20s. I know what I want. I want a man who loves God and is going to lead our home and be my partner. I’m not trying to rush into kids or anything, but at this stage I’m not looking to date a few people. I want something passionate and magical and hard and challenging and real.

And yet it only recently occurred to me I wasn’t fighting what I wanted.

Our message series at church for January was ‘Fight For It,’ and it’s also the driving theme for our year. It was really inspiring and I took notes about how I was going to fight for my own victories, but never once considered fighting for my romantic life.

Then we talked about fighting for your family, and slowly it all began to click.

Nehemiah 4 discusses the dangers of rebuilding the temple and how they had to be ready to fight. He tells the people “Don’ be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” (4:14).

While God was obviously on their side, Nehemiah didn’t say it like “no big, guys. God will deliver us so be chill.” Even with the promise of God, it was still a battle they had to fight. They had to trust in His delivery, but they were responsible too.

Too often I rely on the delivery, but refuse to do the work. I expect God will give me this great man I’m waiting for solely because I’m checking all the right boxes. Maybe I even thought my dedication to growing my faith was fighting for it, but now I see differently.

I tell God this is what I’m waiting for, but every time an easier option strolls my way, I give in. I give up any fight I had for what feels good now.

Not anymore.

Recently I said no. I won’t give details, but I had the opportunity to satisfy what I wanted now and backslide into old habits, but I didn’t. I walked to my car, closed the door and screamed. Yep, that actually happened. Partially out of excitement, but also partially because I couldn’t believe I had something and let it go. Do I not know who I am?

And then I realized something incredible.

For the first time, I was actually fighting for it. I knew what I wanted and I refused to let a moment deter me. I’m actually ready to wait. I mean sure, I’ve been waiting, but my waiting wasn’t full of trust. There wasn’t a battle to trust God. It was just waiting for something to satisfy me now and telling God I believed His plan.

If I want something different for my life, I need to pursue something different. It’s so simple, and so important. No matter how hard I tried, clinging to guys who didn’t want was never going to give me the story I wanted.

I know myself well enough to realize it won’t always be this easy, and the devil won’t let me go without a fight. There will be bigger temptations I’ll fight on this journey as I wait, but instead of accepting defeat, I know I have another option.

I’m going to remember my God, who is great, and I’m going to fight for something real.

Why actually meeting someone terrifies me

This morning I slept in, checked social media and made myself frozen waffles for breakfast. I read my Bible, finished a book and started a new one. Then I made myself an egg sandwich for lunch and decided to do some writing.

This is my life and schedule. For my entire adult life, everything has been on my terms. I’ve never had to consult with anyone about anything. I simply decide what I want to do and then do that thing.

It’s one of the reasons I’m actually terrified to meet someone.

When I’m home alone watching a movie, I think it would be nice to have a snuggle buddy. Or when it’s snowing a lot, I wish I had someone to get snowed in with. Some nights I want to go out and be young and have fun with a man I love.

Those are all fleeting, superficial desires that mask the real fears. I’ve been single for so long and I cannot imagine adding another person into my routine.

If I think about it too long, I spiral down to a place where all the fears from a beginning of a relationship (like is it okay to hold hands or kiss in public or do you even want to spend time with me) to the more serious (like what happens if we get married and then have to live together – how do two people get used to living with one another??). When I’ve reached the bottom, and my anxiety tells me there is no solution except singleness, I thank God I’m here. It’s here that I’m like maybe being called to singleness wouldn’t be so bad.

I don’t think God feels the same way, though.

As much as my anxiety wishes it were true, I don’t feel as though this is God’s complete plan for my life (although that could be denial, who knows?).  It’s more my insecurities because I’ve been so single for so long. My last real boyfriend was during my senior year in high school, and it lasted three whole months. It’s also my longest relationship to date, nbd.

When I see the ease at which other people date and show affection, immediately there’s a voice that says I’m behind. Something is wrong with me. It’s so easy for everyone else, why can’t I meet someone? That evil voice is quickly refuted by my anxiety into convincing me being single is a good thing. We can control that. Why bring someone else’s emotions into the mix?

If I meet someone, and invite him in, I’m losing control and letting someone else affect my emotions. My time is no longer my own. I will make sacrifices. After all of that, he may change his mind and leave. The hurt doesn’t always seem like the risk is worth it.

I’ve seen people stay in bad relationships forever, and I’ve seen people settle for what they thought would be the best. I’ve seen the best relationships crumble in a moment, and I’ve seen even the most solid relationships struggle.

I’ve been told pain is part of letting someone in, and maybe that’s why I’m really so afraid. I pursue situations occasionally and am practically always looking, but how sincere are my efforts? Am I just pretending so it feels like action when deep down I’m too afraid to really start? Have I already made up my mind he’ll leave like everyone else?

One of my biggest character points is being prepared. I am at my best when I feel I have put in the work and I understand what I am getting myself into. A change in variables can send me into a tailspin. With dating, I am so out of my element that the whole process becomes frightening.

Texting guys can be painful. My best friend tells me to just be a human and not be weird, and it’s cute that she thinks I’m capable of either. Usually my banter becomes harmless taunting to mask what I really want to say. Not that I’m not sarcastic by nature, but it’s definitely a bad crutch I use in romantic conversations. I’m too afraid of being honest in what I want.

It’s not like honesty has screwed me over in the past. Typically, it’s probably my lack of honesty. I had a crush on a guy for a couple of years in college and finally, FINALLY, we were hanging out. One night, after he left, he asked me what I thought about what was going on between us. I knew on several occasions he expressed not wanting a girlfriend, and despite wanting to be his girlfriend more than anything else in the world, I panicked. Sam was sleeping and not responding to my texts, and I needed her bravery and advice. Instead, I told him I’m not interested in dating but if I were I’d be interested in him, which sounded okay at the time and he agreed but then nothing ever happened again.

I’m not sorry this didn’t work between us because ultimately I don’t think it would’ve, but it’s just an example of my complete inability to feel secure enough to be honest. People always ask what’s the worst that could happen, and I HATE THAT. The worst that could happen is I face reality and leave this world of maybe and learn how he really feels and I’m alone and embarrassed for even asking.

People who think that’s not too soul crushing to risk clearly don’t live inside my brain.

I have issues, I know, and I’m hoping counseling will help me work through some of them. I want to meet someone and trust that all of my fears will work themselves out, as these things tend to do. Perhaps I need to stop putting the burden of making me feel secure on him, and recognize I need to be secure in myself. If it doesn’t work, it won’t actually wreck me. It will just hurt, but I can’t keep a running list of everyone who’s left me because it makes me lose sight of the people who stayed.

I am not here because of all the guys who hurt me. I am here because I let them and refused to grow. I entered the same cycle over and over again and knew I wouldn’t get good results, but tried anyway.

Sometimes I worry that in writing something like this, someone will read it and think I’m some freak. I’m almost 30 and I’m this afraid of dating? And then the voices tell me because of these fears, no one will want to start anything with me. Who would? My lack of experience is laughable. I’m just faking my way through everything now. I’m insecure. I don’t know how to act or what to say. I wouldn’t be a good girlfriend anyway. I’m too weird and awkward.

I’m all bravado and now I’m showing that to the world. Beneath my confidence, I am afraid of the reality of meeting someone who actually wants to be with me. Because I think all these things about myself, I immediately distrust his interest, and therefore distrust him without reason.

I suppose, at the core, I don’t see why someone would want to be with me, and everything else is just an excuse to keep the possibility of it happening away.