our job

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I express myself best through writing. And as a writer, this quote from Toni Morrison stood out to me in particular:

This is precisely the time when artists go to work—not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!

She hit the nail on the head. So, partly as catharsis and partly as responsibility, I will try to write about my feelings after the election.

I am mourning the loss of Hilary Clinton today largely because of its deep held symbolism for me. Yes, I believe she was the most qualified candidate and possibly female politician alive today. No, I didn’t agree with all of her policies and choices. Yes, it did matter to me that Clinton was a female. When she left the stage after her concession speech, it was as if she symbolically left the public stage forever. And that is a huge setback for the groups and causes she has fought for her entire adult life. As this article put it,

“To many of us, Mrs. Clinton was representative of every woman who’d been talked over or overlooked for a job, had her qualifications questioned, or been called a “bitch.” She was those times I was told I needed to be ‘nice’ and she stood for those women who were told they didn’t look like engineers (or in her case, presidential).”

It meant the world to me that our current president campaigned so hard for her, as he wants his two young daughters to have a female role model who doesn’t apologize for how hard she has worked but instead is admired and lauded for it.

This was my first election, and it taught me a lot. Perhaps most of all, it taught me discernment about when to speak and when to stay silent. For the past year and a half or so of this election cycle, it seems everyone has been determined to have their voice heard. But my resolution moving forward is to speak less and truly listen more. So yes I am still sad, but ultimately grateful to live in a country that allows its citizens to freely and peaceably choose their leader. Every time I look at Trump, I will be reminded of that truth. I will strive to be reminded of the power of democracy and the people’s voice. They have spoken, now it’s my turn to listen.

Tomorrow I pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back to work because, after all, “that’s our job!”

 

Reflections of a Late Bloomer

IMG_4804When it comes to the concept of ‘blooming,’ I have always been firmly in the late bloomer camp. I certainly did not peak physically or emotionally in high school– heck, I didn’t even get boobs until college (I’m looking at you, freshman fifteen)! I was crazy insecure all throughout puberty and had to give myself pep talks before talking to any boy. I wasn’t asked to homecoming, never made it in the ‘best of’ section of the year book and didn’t even attend my senior prom because I was too self-conscious to go alone.

I don’t say all this to make you feel sorry for me, but rather to reflect on how far I’ve come since then. There was a time when I was plagued (plagued I tell you!) but the thought that I’d never kiss a boy or have my own car or be able to hold an intelligent conversation with adults. But over time and with various experiences, those fears have begun to subside and been replaced by growing confidence.

Looking back, I’m incredibly grateful to have been the late bloomer type. Being a late bloomer builds stamina. It has taught me to keep my head down, power through and overcome. It has fostered patience and the belief that my dreams are worth the wait. It showed me that you don’t always have to be in the spotlight to make an impact.

Though I didn’t know it at the time, my late bloomerness laid the foundation for many of my current and future successes and pursuits in this life. A famous comedy writer was once asked the question how did you learn to write so humorously?  to which he replied, “I silently observed the class clowns growing up, and then wrote down exactly what they did.”Being a late bloomer forced me to be a silent observer as well, an invaluable skill for a writer to cultivate.  And surely I’m not done blooming yet! When you think about it, are any of us ever really done blooming? I like to think it takes an entire life to create a full, fragrant blossom.

So to all you late bloomers out there, I’d like to say don’t worry, your spring time is coming and it will be all the more beautiful for the wait!

Now Is The Best Stage.

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When I tell people I’m in college, they often respond with something like, “Enjoy it, because it’s the best four years of your life.” They talk about the drudgery of work or the burden of adult responsibilities, as if it’s all down hill from here. And honestly, I used to believe them. The future no longer seemed like an exciting adventure, but a gloomy fate. I was terrified of wasting my time in college and put pressure on myself to be happy all the time.

Then one day someone said something that changed my outlook entirely. They said, “I didn’t get married in college. I didn’t hold my new born children in college. I didn’t achieve professional success or buy my first house in college. I didn’t achieve the sweetness of financial independence and stability in college. I didn’t garner a deep understanding of my self in college, and I certainly didn’t learn how to love other people well in college.”

This answer made so much sense to me. There’s no such thing as the best time of your life. Every season has it’s ups and downs and it’s naive to think otherwise. Every season of life has pros and cons, challenges and rewards. I’m often tempted to look back on my year in abroad in Heidelberg as the pinnacle of my existence, but I realize now how absurd that is! It’s okay to look back on a particular season with nostalgia and fondness, but try not to over romanticize it either.

College is great, no ones arguing that! But it’s also incredibly stressful and uncertain and full of huge decisions. It’s not perfect. There is so much still to look forward to in life. I can’t wait to experience every single stage of life: young professional, girlfriend, fiancé, newly wed, new mom, established writer, grandmother– the list goes on and on. How lucky are we to get to play so many roles?

Let’s all try to see whatever stage we’re in as a gift, fleeting but precious.

P.s. Photo via here

Reflections on 2015

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2015 has been a year of transitions. I feel as though I lived two different lives this year– one in Germany and one in America. Sometimes I can’t even believe my experiences in Heidelberg and Hildesheim happened this year. Everything about my life there was so drastically different than my life now, it’s hard to integrate the two. Change and transitions are good, but hard. It’s been a long readjustment process, with more than a few road bumps along the way. I am still processing my time abroad. Somedays I miss Germany more than I can bear, and other days I can’t imagine being anywhere else in the world but Pepperdine. That’s the thing about change: it’s unpredictable. I’m not sure how my heart will feel in the future. But in the midst of all this transition, I’ve learned some valuable lessons about life and myself that will stick with me forever. Here are a few if you’d like to read:

1. It’s okay to be sad. I used to tell myself, “Don’t be sad because there are people in this world who have it so much worse!” I thought I was being bratty for feeling sad. But sadness is sadness, so matter the reason. There is no gradient, it can’t be compared. It is perfectly normal to miss Germany (or whatever) and mourn the loss of something you once had. It will pass.

2. It only takes a few close friends. For some reason, I grew up thinking I had to a have a large group of friends to feel genuinely happy and loved. I tried to please everyone and get to know a million people. But then I realized that is just not realistic. It only takes a few close friends to feel valued and loved. I would rather invest deeply in a few select people than spread myself too thin and not reap the rewards.

3. You’re not supposed to know the future. Why do I so easily fall into the trap of thinking I have to have the future figured out? It’s supposed to be unknown. Otherwise it wouldn’t be the future! Duh Micah. This year I am trying to embrace the uncertainty and let it excite me instead of terrify or frustrate me!

4. Patience is hard. Waiting is hard. Patience doesn’t come easily to me. I wish my desires were granted right now. But I know everything happens in its time, not a moment before. I am trying to accept that truth!

5. I am enough. No one expects me to be more than I am. Sometimes I think I’m lacking something, but that is not true. I was created perfectly. Earlier this year, I designated the word Gentle as my “Word of the Year.” I have not always been gentle with myself or others this year, but I am trying!

Question of the Day
What are a few lessons you’ve learned or reflections you’ve had about 2015?