The Power of Loneliness

I recently started reading “The Lonely City” by Olivia Laing, and it got me thinking about the concept of loneliness. I am no stranger to loneliness. There have been moments and seasons in my life where I’ve felt loneliness as an overwhelming force, and others where I’ve sensed it simply as a dull, constant ache. The word has taken on a negative connotation in our culture and is often stigmatized– if you’re lonely, there must be something wrong with you or what you’re doing. People are slow to empathize with you because they view it as a self-inflicted pain, as if it’s your fault for choosing not to be social.

But that description never fit me. I have plenty of lovely friends, I am ambitious, I pour into the activities and people around me. I have a caring family. Essentially, I’m not some sort of social pariah or outcast. I have never chosen to be lonely. I am utterly normal. Still, I get lonely.

Of course there is a marked difference between being lonely and being alone. People often say defensively, “I’m alone but I’m not lonely!” as if being lonely were the worst thing in the world. As an introvert, I love being alone. Sometimes I’m alone and could not be more happy! Who doesn’t love a nice coffee date with yourself once in a while? But other times I am alone and feel the deep, pervasive melancholy of loneliness.

Laing says, “A long time back, I used to listen to a song by Dennis Wilson. It was from Pacific Ocean Blue, the album he made after The Beach Boys fell apart. There was a line in it I loved: Loneliness is a very special place…It isn’t always easy to see the truth of Wilson’s statement, but over the course of my travels I’ve come to believe that he was right, that loneliness is by no means a wholly worthless experience, but rather one that cuts right to the heart of what we value and what we need. Many marvelous things have emerged from the lonely city: things forged in loneliness, but also things that function to redeem it.”

I agree that loneliness can indeed be a very special place. In fact, some of my best writing was produced in a state of loneliness. It is often when I think most deeply, observe most thoroughly and feel most creative. Of course, it is a writer’s job to make sure they can produce work in all emotional states, but loneliness should not be discounted as one of them! On the other hand, I’ve also made some of the worst decisions while lonely, whether it be an impulsive purchase, an ill-advised romance or an over commitment to something. That’s the thing about loneliness: it’s a double edged sword.

Laing goes on to say that there is a certain flavor of urban loneliness, when you are surrounded by countless people yet lack intimate human connection. I see this all the time at my university. Pepperdine actually ranks above the national average for loneliness on college campuses. It is one of the main issues here and can easily be sensed among the student body, particularly Freshmen and Sophomores. Pepperdine is an acquaintance culture, fraught with ‘we should hang out sometime’ but lacking real substance.

I remember Sunday nights were particularly lonely my freshman year. Back home, Sundays were always been a family day. My dad and brothers would play basketball after church while my mom and I enjoyed an afternoon ‘just us girls.’ Then we’d eat a meal together followed by an episode of “60 Minutes” while eating ice cream. Now I sat in the empty college cafeteria trying to remember if I’d finished all my homework and feeling that I was somehow missing out on this ‘quintessential college experience’ everyone else was privy to.

Another lonely time was when I first arrived in Frankfurt, Germany last summer. I didn’t know anyone and the city was large and unfamiliar. I would walk the streets quietly, trying to familiarize myself with the place, stopping in a café for lunch, trying my best to order in broken German. My book was my best friend those first few weeks, a barrier between myself and the scary unknown.

But honestly, I would not trade those experiences for the world. Those times built character, perseverance and competency. I wouldn’t so proud of how far I’ve come if I’d never had anything large to overcome. Times when I feel most loved and connected with others are made infinitely more sweet because I know what it’s like to feel the exact opposite. Now that I am familiar with loneliness, it is that much easier to identify, accept and deal with.

If you are lonely right now, let me encourage you. It is not your fault, there is nothing wrong with you. Your only fault is being human. Everyone feels lonely at some point or another, whether they admit it or not. I don’t care if you’re married with children or the most popular kid in school, no one feels satisfied and fulfilled 100% of the time. If you are lonely, hang in there. Push through and recognize the positive sides of this emotion. There will come a time when your loneliness will depart as swiftly as it came.

P.s. Photo from here


img_0407I have the pleasure to babysit a little girl named Winnie on Wednesday mornings. She is bright, bubbly and always happy! She LOVES books and is constantly asking me to read to her. Plus, she speaks only German with her mother who went to art school in Dresden, Germany. I speak a mix of German and English with her, and honestly I think her’s is much better than mine! Below are a few Winnie-isms, or cute things she said to me throughout our time together. Enjoy!img_0370^”Look Micah, I’m a shark! I’m gonna get you”img_0350img_0353^She didn’t want to take out her pigtails last night, so she woke up with “Cindy-Lou Who” hair as I like to call it ;p img_0354img_0377img_0378img_0379img_0386
^”Winnie can you cook me something to eat?”
“Yes, I will cook you watermelon.”img_0388img_0389img_0391^”Where’s my dolly? She misses me”img_0393^”There’s an alligator down there! He’s gonna eat me!”img_0398^Winnie took this photo of me…never mind that I look like a psycho! img_0401^I couldn’t resist braiding her hair in these teeny tiny baby braids! I don’t have any sisters but I always wanted to practice hair styles on others, so I used to braid my dolls hair.img_0405img_0406^These “Little Golden Book” from Disney are classics!img_0408img_0414^”The mommy and daddy live in this house together”img_0419^When the braids came undone, I settled on a little pony tail!img_0422img_0423I forget how hilarious kids are! Do you remember funny things a child has said to you? I’d love to hear.

Little Letter


Dear Legs,
Do I have to shave you so often? Can we all just agree that women’s legs are perfectly natural and beautiful with hair on them? That would be great, thanks.

Dear “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”,
Although you are a classic, I am just now watching you. Audrey Hepburn is as lovely as everyone makes her out to be, especially where fashion sense is concerned.


Dear “Still”,
You are a great song. I discovered you during the finale of New Girl and can’t stop listening to you on repeat. My house mate probably thinks I’ve finally lost it.

Dear school,
We’ve been together a long time. Seventeen years to be exact. Our relationship is complicated to say the least. Love-hate doesn’t even come close to describing it! Maybe I’ll like you more after my english exam is over.


Dear candles,
Thanks for existing, you really add a little something-something to my room this time of year when the sun sets so early.

Dear Short Story,
I am surprisingly proud of you. You turned out quite well. Some stories never take off, but I couldn’t stop writing you until you were complete.


Dear Jessica,
Thanks for being my friend soul mate.

Dear Halloween,
You will be here before we know it. Personally I find college kind of an awkward time to celebrate because I’m not a kid anymore but I also don’t have kids of my own yet to enjoy you with. I also have class that night…


An Afternoon at the Pumpkin Patch

img_0167Happy Fall friends! Yesterday two of my dearest, oldest friends and I headed to the nearby pumpkin patch– actually, it was more like a pumpkin patch on steroid. Festival is a more accurate word as there were booths, food, music and plenty of festivities. Below are a few photos from our afternoon if you’d like to see!img_0330img_0278img_0198img_0220^Asada fries did not disappoint. They reminded me of Döner, a similar turkish meal I always used to order in Germany.img_0229img_0236img_0238Pumpkin hat anyone? Anyone?img_0243^What a beauty, this oneimg_0249img_0254img_0262img_0267img_0275img_0281^Wow, is she stunning or what?! img_0284img_0290img_0295^Green pumpkins are just as cool as orange if you ask meimg_0297img_0301img_0306^True loveimg_0308img_0310^I was very attached to this gourd…img_0317img_0324^These mini, misshapen gourds were adorableimg_0327img_0333img_0340img_0341img_0347^The happy coupleimg_0154Hope you are able to celebrate fall this week! What are you planning to be for Halloween? My top contender currently is White Trash (i.e. wearing a white trash bag over my clothes…). Pretty lame, I know :p

Little Letter

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Dear Fall,
Can’t you visit SoCal, even just for a little? Summer doesn’t seem to want to leave but I’m eagerly awaiting your arrival. My scarves are bored just hanging limp in my closet!


Dear Polaroid,
Why do you take such over-exposed pictures sometimes? I’m always disappointed when I wait and wait but you never develop properly. Your film is much too expensive for these games!

Dear Blog,
I love you. I never thought I could grow so attached to a non-existent ‘place’ in cyber space. It’s so fun to look back in time and reflect on all the places I’ve seen and things I’ve experienced over the last three years.


Dear Graduation,
I simultaneously can’t wait for you to come and am dreading your arrival. Lots of weird, mixed emotions over here…

Dear Parents,
Thanks for visiting me this week and taking me out to breakfast! I can’t wait to spend the first weekend in November with you in Texas.


Dear Coffee,
You sustain me. I don’t know what I’d do with out you sweet, dark one.

Dear “New Girl,”
Season 5 on Netflix is cracking me up. You are hilarious.


Dear Money,
Somehow you always disappear. One moment you’re in my wallet and the next you’re gone! It blows my mind to think that soon I will (hopefully) have a steady income.

Dear Sleep,
I value you more and more each passing day. How do people function with less than eight hours?

Dear Sunsets,
Thanks for being particularly beautiful lately. I appreciate it.

P.s. I got the idea for this post from one of my favorite blogs Love Taza. And these photos are from a few weeks ago when we went out for a friend’s 21st birthday!

25 Things I’m Grateful For


  1. Sunshine streaming through my window in the morning
  2. Cappuccinos
  3. Photography
  4. Intentional friends
  5. Birthday parties
  6. The ability and means to travel
  7. My university education
  8. Music
  9. My guitar
  10. The German language
  11. My little brother’s kind heart
  12. Hospitable people
  13. Netflix
  14. Little kid’s joy and curiosity
  15. Long, slow walks
  16. The beach
  17. Good books
  18. Religion
  19. My polaroid camera
  20. My car
  21. A soft bed
  22. California
  23. Siblings
  24. Cousins
  25. Holiday traditions

P.s. This photo is absolutely random and unrelated. But gosh do I love Bob Dylan.

Nine Things


  1. I recently started watching the show “Portlandia.” It’s a series of skits about two main characters living in Portland and makes fun of hipster culture. As a self identified hipster of sorts, I find the show hilariously accurate and entertaining. It’s on Netflix– check it out if you need a good laugh!
  2. I finally washed my sheets. It had been way too long. It’s amazing how clean, warm sheets can really cheer a person up!
  3. Today I took a long walk on the beach with no destination in mind. I got sunburnt (in October!) but it worked wonders for clearing my head. There’s way too many thoughts floating around in there at any given moment.
  4. This weekend is a three day weekend for my university. Enough said.
  5. Halloween decorations are in full swing around here. Is anyone else still in shock that it is already October 5th?! Christmas is practically next week…
  6. I started babysitting at the crack of dawn this morning. But it was all worth it when the little girl woke up and said without hesitation, “Micah!” It feels so good to be recognized ;p
  7. I had coffee with an old friend the other day. She was telling me about her masters degree in linguistics, and how much she enjoyed studying the specifics of language. This sounded right up my alley, so now I’m researching linguistics programs! We shall see what happens.
  8. On the way to drop my friend off at the airport last Friday we stopped by Venice Beach. It is such a funky, colorful, lively place. We walked around Abbot-Kinney and then along the beach. If you’re in the area and haven’t been, I would definitely recommend a visit!
  9. Cafecito Organico is a coffee shop in Malibu with great coffee. It’s nice to branch out from Starbucks every once in a while, don’t you agree?img_9809

Five of My Favorite Polaroids

img_0142Last Christmas I received a Polaroid camera from my parents. At first, I hesitated to ask for one for fear of coming off as just too millennial or too hipster. But then I thought hey, I genuinely love photography, and it would be great to have a tangible, physical way to capture life’s most precious moments. Don’t get me wrong, I am very attached to my DSLR camera, but uploading photos off of a memory card is just not that same as printing them out on the spot. Plus, they make great little souvenirs/gifts for any occasion. The film is admittedly pricey, but if you order it in bulk on Amazon it’s totally doable and worth it. I thought I’d pick five of my favorite photos (out of so many) to share with you today, and explain a bit about exactly why I love them so much. Enjoy!img_0139img_0143I like the goofiness of this photo. I went to a Coffee House one Friday night put on by an organization at my university, and they had a free polaroid station. When they asked if I wanted one I was like, Um, heck yes I do! You people sure know your audience. As you can see I’ve got my coffee in one hand, a cupcake in the other, and I’m about to hear an hours worth of live music. What’s not to love?! No wonder the smile on my face is so wide.img_0145This was taken on my last Sunday at church in Frankfurt this past August. I always chuckle when I look at this photo because I don’t know if I’ve ever been surrounded by that many guys before in my life haha! I’m usually the girl with only female friends. They are all so sweet, and I miss that community terribly. I’m glad I captured it in memoriam before hoping on a plane a few days later.img_0147I got my polaroid camera last Christmas, and this was the first one I ever took! I wasn’t really sure how it worked, but this picture of my brothers and I in front of our family fire place on Christmas morning turned out pretty well. It remains one of my all time favorites. I like the way our clothes (pajamas, really) are so color coordinated haha! And now that we’ve all moved out of that house, it feels extra special to have documented our traditions there.img_0148Michaela and Jenna are two of the sweetest, dearest friends a girl could ask for. This photo was taken the night before the second semester of my junior year started. I remember I had just gotten home from a retreat when they called me up and invited me over. I was so tired and considered staying home, but I’m glad I rallied! It was a fun night with these ladies, and I’m happy I captured it on film🙂img_0149In past years I’ve always dreaded New Years Eve because I’ve never had cool enough plans. I usually just sit at home, watch the ball drop and fall asleep early on the couch. But last New Years Eve I had a sleepover with four of my closest girl friends and it was a blast! This photo was taken right before Jessica kissed me on the cheek at 12 midnight. It captures our friendship accurately :)img_0151^My night stand. I told you I had a lot…img_0152img_0153Would you ever consider investing in a polaroid camera? I hear all the cool kids are doing it…;p

Seven Things

img_98301. My friend Alena flies back to Germany tomorrow– can I go in her suitcase? It’s been nice to have a friend by my side these past couple of days. I will miss her!
2. My Fulbright interview went really well last week. The national deadline is October 11th and then it’s out of my hands until I hear back in March. Fingers crossed!
3. I went to a small group Bible study through my church RealityLA for the first time on Wednesday night and LOVED IT. The people were so genuine and refreshing. I will definitely go back next week.
4. I miss Germany more and more each day.
5. I’m currently reading “Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store” by Robin Sloan. It is an easy, light-hearted read, which is exactly what I needed to break up all the required reading for school. I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for some good ol’ fiction!
6. I’m listening to the podcast “How I Built This” right now. It’s all about people who built a company from the ground up, and it’s so fascinating. It makes me want to go out and scheme up some big idea to be the next Steve Jobs haha!
7. I’m getting new tires on Saturday as my early Christmas present. Being an adult sure is fun sometimes…img_9828img_9829img_9832img_9833

A Weekend in Texas!

img_9791I just got home last night from a long weekend in Texas! My brother, his fiancé and I flew out to visit my parent’s new home just outside Fort Worth. We also made a trip down to Waco on Friday to see my little brother, who is a freshman at Baylor University. I had a great time, and took an obscene amount of pictures. Below are quite a few if you care to take a gander!img_9530img_9534img_9537img_9539^The guest bedroom. It has all my grandmother’s old furniture, but it looks so nice in this space! My parents even had her bed frame refurbished.img_9543^I played so much piano during my stay! I miss it. img_9549img_9560^My parents haven’t bought much new furniture because they’re not sure how long they will stay in this house after their lease it up. It was kind of strange to see everything from my old house in a new place, but it looked great.img_9568img_9575^The patio with a lake viewimg_9593^On our way to downtown Fort Worth. It’s a really neat city– very laid back with cool shops and a central square to gather for events and such.img_9624^At the Kimball art museumimg_9651img_9660img_9662img_9677img_9699img_9706img_9710img_9734img_9740img_9760img_9786^Watching the sunset from my parent’s dock. I never thought I’d be able to say my parents have a ‘lake house.’ I was in photographer’s heaven!img_9787img_9788img_9800img_9805img_9816img_9838img_9839img_9857^We drove an hour and a half to Waco, and made sure to stop at Magnolia Farms, the design store made famous by Chip and Joanna Gains from the HGTV show “Fixer Upper.” I bought some cute ceramic birds that I don’t need…img_9865img_9876img_9880img_9898img_9919^We met up with Isaac at the coffee shop Common Grounds right across from campus. It had some serious hipster vibesimg_9923img_9932img_9934img_9944img_9948img_9951img_9985^Baylor is so beautiful! Very different aesthetics from Pepperdine, but equally collegiate and striking. I am so happy he loves it there🙂img_9996img_0002img_0013^This has to be my favorite photo from the trip– Isaac is photo bombing the happy couple hardimg_0032img_0037img_0047img_0059img_0061^For some reason the image quality gets significantly reduced when I upload them to WordPress. Any ideas on how to remedy that?img_0089^I have a feeling this photo might show up in your mailbox come December. It has Christmas Card written all over it!

Well, I had a great time Texas! You sure welcomed us with open arms. In fact, I think I brought the heat back with me to California. It is 95 degrees here in Malibu today, and my house doesn’t have air conditioning! Oh well, I’ll survive🙂