The Strength of the Sunflowers

To my saddened town, my hurting friends, and those in the shadows,

Losing someone to suicide cuts deep. It’s a jagged knife through a soft heart, undeserving and overwhelming. I know you’re bleeding out.

Everything changes now. You count out too many plates at dinner and then you lose your appetite because who can eat after this? You hear the door handle twist open and you picture their face, tears well up in your eyes when it’s not them. Graduation comes, and all their friends put on their caps, they walk single file towards their future, a future without their friend.

The days turn into weeks the weeks turn into months and you get further and further from the last time you saw them.

But here’s what happens, you never forget them. Their voice will ring in your head in all the right moments. Their laugh will echo in your dreams. Their name will be on a street sign as you drive through a town you’ve never been to. Their life will go on, through yours.

Look for them, they’re always around. Their picture falls in the hall as you pass by. Their dream car pulls up beside you at the stoplight. The song they sang till their lungs filled with laughter comes on the radio as you drive by their little league field.

You’ll feel them when their spirit stops by, keep your eyes open let it hurt, change, and heal you. You won’t want to miss any of it. They’re not gone. They’ll never be gone. Not as long as they have you.

And to you, the one who’s feeling like it’s too hard, like this life isn’t worth the struggle.

It is.

They say it all the time, things won’t always be like this. It’s true. The anxiety you feel about the future is tricking you into thinking you won’t make it, you will. The fear you have about asking for help is tricking you into thinking nobody cares. We do. The hate you have for your life is tricking you into thinking it would be better to just give up. It won’t.

You need to have hope. I hope you find the strength to stay. Not for your parents, not for your friends, for you. The you that will rock someone’s world. The you that will grow up change and build a life. The you that will bring something valuable to the table. The you that will make someone’s heart feel whole. The you that won’t always feel this way.

I know you’ll find love that fills you from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. I know you’ll fall into friendships that will pump your heart with so much love, that it will feel like it’s bursting in your chest. I know you’ll be happy in a life you built from a struggle you survived.

I hope you can be someone for someone.

I hope you can hold steady through the storm.

I hope this life goes easy on you, and I hope when it doesn’t that you can find strength in the sunflowers.

All my love, S

Good Bones

Building a life is hard work. There are missteps, miscalculations, and misunderstandings. Issues will arise for the entirety of your life, but it’s how you build that life that shows if you’ll withstand all the winds that are bound to blow. The key to construction is to have good blue prints, a good crew, and good bones…like a house.

Start with a strong foundation. Self-love is like concrete, sturdy and buildable. It sets the stage for all that comes after and is the deciding factor on whether you build your life for you or make your life a cookie cutter for someone else. Everything you build, with self-love as your backbone, is made to last. It makes room for improvement and if your foundation cracks, you have the tools to fix it. So, before you jump into this life take a moment to reflect on what you want it to look like. Make detailed blueprints and always have a backup plan backed by self-love.

Build yourself up from there, a house is steady when it has good studs. Surround yourself with people who will stand tall and strong when the wind blows. The structure may sway but that’s the leeway you need to bounce back.

The walls are your boundaries, don’t let hate or hurt cross them, and be mindful of the people you let past them. Some will love you deeply, others will scar your heart. And like the holes you make in the drywall when you’re spiraling out of control, scars can be hard to mend. Save yourself the hardship and only let the love in.

Make the guest room a place for your troubles, because they can’t stay forever and decorate with passion. Add rich colors that hold your head when you’ve had a long day. Decorate your life with texture and excitement. I hope you re-paint every once in a while, when you feel you need a change, and you never let your life get boring.

Your house like your life, should be built with room to grow. It can change, and it can adapt, don’t be afraid to make additions and add rooms.

Your life can be big and boisterous, it can take up space like a mansion in the hills. Or, it can be small and quiet, it can make room like a rancher on a dead-end street.

Whatever you want your life to look like, be sure to build it with good bones. A house with good bones won’t fall, and neither will you.

xS

The Friends You Make Here

When I went off to college I was devastated. I had built a life in my hometown where I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. I was safe in my routine. The world told me how great college would be and for the first few weeks I didn’t believe it. Now that I have settled in, I realize why people look back on their own experiences so fondly. They say you meet your best friends here, and I couldn’t agree more.

I got lucky, I found mine early, and this week I had to leave them. Leaving for the summer is so bittersweet. On one hand, I am happy I get to go home and see my family, start working again, and have my dog around all the time. On the other hand, I know I am going to desperately miss the people who have taken up most of the space in my life for the last nine months.

What makes college friendships so wonderful is that you spend your time with people for no other reason than your connection. The friends you make here you make because you have something in common and you completely enjoy their presence. You don’t have to keep up appearances like you did in high school, out of the fear that your parents will invite your friends’ parents to the back yard cook out. You don’t have to play nice with everyone just because you live next door to their grandma.

My home circle is tight, and I adore the kids I spent most of my life with, but there is a certain experience you get when you go away to college alone. The friends I made here were handpicked, by me, and I like to think I did fantastic job. It’s a refreshing change to have friends that I didn’t grow up with. Friends that don’t live next door to my grandma.

The people you meet in college change your perspective on life. My friends here are different from me in many ways. They have different stories. They grew up in different places. They love different music. They do different things. Thanks to all the ways they are different from me, I am able to grow in ways I couldn’t have at home.

I came into college nervous that nobody would ever be able to hold a candle to my childhood friendships. Boy was I wrong. My friends here have warm hearts and kind souls, they have made me a nicer person. They filed down my rigid edges and made me see the world in a brighter light. They love me purely, for who I am, and nothing else. They chose me like I chose them, because they saw something in me they liked.

In a school of fifteen thousand kids it’s easy to decide who is and who isn’t on your level. You can pick out people you connect with pretty easily and distance yourselves from those you don’t. We may all be together on the same campus for a few years, but college gives a lot more room for personal space than high school. We make time for each other here. Here you have to make the effort, you have to call people and tell them you want to see them. You don’t have the option of seeing them in homeroom, you can’t put off plans till eighth period. Everyone here is busy beginning their lives, you’ll know for sure who wants you in theirs.

So, if I have anything important to say it’s this, when you get a chance to run take it. Don’t tie yourself down to old routines and easy friendships. Put yourself out there and be a little uncomfortable for a while. The change you will see in yourself you will pay forward to the world. I hope you find people willing to love you for exactly who you are. I hope you find people you have on spot connections with. I hope you find people that teach you and help you grow. I hope you find people like mine. It may not have been the easiest road to take, but it’s the road I’m most grateful for traveling. I never expected to have friendships that were so pure and so real. I never expected to find my people, but here I am, full of love for my friends and the place that brought us together.

You’ll know when you find your people, because sometimes new acquaintances feel like old friends, hold onto them.

xS

 

 

 

The Protection of Peace

It took me almost 20 years to create a space for myself in this world. I was chained to a bleeding heart and a need to have a tidy little life. I was unable to use the word No and I made sure I reacted to EVERYTHING.

For me, I felt that not reacting to things would leave loose ends in my life. I thought people needed to see and hear how I felt for them to get me. The truth is, they don’t need to get me…or know me. Now, as things get messier and people’s true colors are displayed on the canvas of life, I’ve come to realize not everyone deserves a reaction. Not every situation needs an attached feeling. Sometimes things just are what they are, and they can’t be changed.

I’m a HUGE believer in the concept of karma. The idea that what you put into the world is often what you get out of it is so appealing because, it means that regardless of the turmoil around you, if you create peace you will receive it. You don’t have to make every feeling known and you don’t have to explain yourself to everyone. Some pictures are better left unpainted.

Sometimes, we get stuck in situations that don’t reflect our own karma, and this, is because the universe is testing you. We can’t control the things that happen to us, or the things people say to us, but we can control our reaction to it. Your karma comes from how you react to situations. Do you scream and yell? Or do you create a solution? That solution can be anything from resolving a situation, to just straight up blocking someone from all aspects of your life. When a person finds a way to infiltrate your peace, it’s your job to suppress their influence.

I reacted to situations in ways that made me nasty. So, I stopped reacting. I channeled that energy into laughing with my friends and telling someone I love them. Sometimes in your most negative moments you just have to completely change your focus. Drop the entire situation, text your friend that you appreciate them, take any opportunity you have to erase a bad feeling and fill it with kindness. Maybe not kindness toward a person or situation that bothers you, but kindness toward something. Take that energy that you would have put into the world in bad taste and reverse the whole idea. Drop the black paint and pick up yellow. Start painting your life with love, in bright colors.

You never need to defend your existence to anyone, especially those who aren’t even capable of stabilizing their own. People will do their best to step into your life and make space for themselves. They’ll take up room in your thoughts and will fight to make sure you hear them in the moments where they couldn’t be more wrong. Looking out for your own peace will make it possible for others to understand how they’re disturbing their own, by trying to uproot yours.

My life has tested me in the most extreme ways and because of that, there are so many negative things that can’t reach me. I’ve found that lately my peace is almost untouchable. I know who I am. I am a fierce friend, and an even fiercer opponent. My heart is soft but selective. My circle is small but strong. And thanks to these qualities, my peace is safe and sound.

I made my life my art and painted yellow with a wide brush over everything. I’ve learned not everyone deserves to be a part of your picture, in any form. Not in darkness and not in light. You can exist on your own wavelength while they exist on theirs. Parallel lines that never touch.

Make your peace your prerogative. Take control of your canvas. And paint your life in colors that complement each other.

xS