Find Your Mama Humpback Whale

Last Sunday when I went to church with some friends, the sermon happened to be about sin. The pastor was introducing a four-week series about how often sin exists in our lives without us being fully aware of it, and he explained how unexpectedly sin can reveal itself and how surprisingly powerful it can be.

He transitioned into an anecdote, and he mentioned that he loves to watch nature/animal documentaries on Netflix. Not knowing where this was going but excited to be thinking about animals, I smiled along. Then he started in on a time he was watching a documentary on humpback whales, and he accompanied what I expected to be a cheerful story with a cute picture of a mama humpback and its baby. However, this is where the story took a surprising turn for the worst.

The pastor continued his tale with how he watched as a pod of killer whales caught sight of the baby humpback and decided to make it their target.  He described in detail how they “rammed their bodies into its side repeatedly then swam above it so that it would be forced away from the air and would therefore suffocate.” By this time, my jaw had taken up permanent residence on the ground, and my eyes were approximately the size of the ocean in which this horrific scene took place.

I sat there in a state of unease for the next half hour as I continued to work to translate the message of the sermon. I nodded my head along to his conclusions that the killer whales represented sin and how sin’s presence can lead you to feel hopeless and scared.

I was sort of surprised by this lesson. I am not a regular member of any church, but I had grown used to the idea of leaving a sermon with a brighter, lighter spirit than I had when I entered. This darker experience of interpreting words from the Bible was new to me, and I was uncomfortable with how to handle it.

With about 15 minutes left until the scheduled time to finish, the pastor returned to his story of the whales. This time, he offered its ending.

When the mama humpback realized her baby was in jeopardy, she swam under him so that her weight kept him from sinking. She waited while the killer whales tired themselves out with their offensive efforts, and then she lifted her baby to the surface to enjoy a breath of the sacred air.

I can’t recall if the pastor explicitly explained the parallels between the whales and religion, but the message was received: the mama humpback was faith, and she was saving the baby from sin.

Although I am not a particularly religious person, I do enjoy attending church services and learning about various spiritual beliefs. Additionally, I love the hope and security that the church emulates, which is why I return to church time and time again, despite having minimal personal history with the text. I don’t have memories of vocation Bible school or of learning to pray, but I am not blind to the powerful role religion plays in our world.

As of now, I cannot promise that I will commit myself fully to God or any other omnipotent power, but I can promise to work as hard as I can to find my mama humpback, my source of strength to push me towards the light during dark times. One of my goals in life is to find something to hold onto so tightly that it becomes a part of me and remains burning brightly within my heart even when I am up against forces aiming to extinguish my flame. Religion is one source of power, but it is not the only source. Of the roughly 7 billion people on the Earth, at least 1 billion consider themselves atheists, yet many of them are capable of persevering though tough times. What is their mama humpback? What is mine? What is yours?




I need to shut up sometimes

Recently I got in a fight with my boyfriend. The argument started because I have a difficult time just dropping things that upset me, and I wanted him to respond with more than just an “I’m sorry.” I wanted him to reaffirm me that my fears and doubts about our relationship were crazy, and I needed to be reminded that he wants me and loves me.

But as you can probably guess, he didn’t offer me the words I craved, so I continued to add fuel to the fire. And in doing so, I hurt us both.

I listed off all the reasons for my doubts, but I did it in such a way that I basically threw accusations at him. That is no way to encourage civil discussion.

What I said, I genuinely do believe most of it, but that doesn’t make it right for me to slap him in the face with the things I feel he is doing “wrong.” And did you catch the word “most” in that last sentence? WHY would I even say things that I don’t entirely believe are true?!

I was hurt, and I was behaving immaturely, and I don’t know how to fix it. I let my fears and emotions push away someone I love, and I’m scared that I’ve gone too far. The rational thing to do would have been to put the phone down and go to sleep, yet I stupidly decided to continue texting in my state of sleep-deprived hysteria.

He hasn’t seen the hurtful message because he ignored me and went to sleep, but I’m scared for when he wakes up and checks his phone. I don’t know what will be worse- receiving a painful text back, or receiving no text at all.

Whatever the outcome, though, I should have just shut up.

March to a better me

With the start of the new month, I’ve come across a lot of posts about how each month can be considered a clean slate- a new chapter. This perspective gives me hope, so I am going to latch onto this idea and declare some intentions that I am going to work towards.

This month I will aim to:

  1. Eat intuitively. no more, no less. I will not let my emotions dictate my calorie consumption. An extra scoop of peanut butter is not going to fill the hole in my chest that exists when I really need a hug. I will not eat mindlessly simply because I am bored. I will not stuff my face because I do not know when or where I will be eating next.
  2. Stretch and roll out more. I am on my feet and moving a lot during each day, and I need to help my body recover better. I cannot ask it to perform efficiently if I do not take care of the little things.
  3. Listen. When others are talking, I will not bite at the bit to jump in with a comment. I will be patient and wait until they have said all that has been weighing on their heart. This is critical. I want everyone I speak with to realize that their existence is important, and that begins with listening.
  4. Run each run with a specific purpose. I will not go through the motions. If I am going to spend hours logging miles, they need to be actively moving me towards improvement. This does not mean push myself during every run. Some days it is okay for the intention to be recovery. But when the goal is to get uncomfortable, don’t half-ass it.
  5. Be patient with myself. There are many goals that seem impossible when I consider where I am at in this single instant, but that does not mean they will seem so unreachable in a few months’ time. I will remind myself that the changes I wish to see will not come overnight, but they will be worth the wait.

I am going to stop myself at 5 main intentions for the month so that I can really focus on them without feeling overwhelmed with an exhausting list. Of course there are other tangents of these goals that I will strive to work on, but I am happy with my present set. I am posting this to hold myself accountable.

Do you have any specific goals for this month? If so, what are they?

Hold on tight

Fireworks. Christmas. A rollercoaster. Vacation. [Some] Friends.

Everything in life is temporary and fleeting. Some of our most cherished experiences and people we meet only star in our lives for less than the time it takes for us to realize how valuable they are. But it’s okay to walk away from Fourth of July with the lights from the sky only a memory of red, white, and blue. It’s okay for Christmas morning to transform into Christmas evening and then slowly into the day after Christmas when you have to take down all the beautiful decorations. It’s alright that the adrenaline rush you felt as the rollercoaster car blasted down the highest peak has faded from your body, and that nostalgia hits hard each time you look back at the pictures from that amazing trip. And, even though it’s difficult to accept, it’s okay that the last time you talked to that one friend was three years ago, even though you will never forget the years you two spent swearing you would be in each other’s weddings.

Some things are meant to be let go.

However, some things are meant to be held tight with every last ounce of strength and love that you can muster.

Temporary experiences and people leave permanent marks on your life, whether you wish that were true or not. Yes, some of those marks will be like painful scars that seem to never fully heal. But there will be infinitely more spots that cause a wave of happiness to wash over you each time you think of them. Grab the joy and hope that the bright spots elicit, and hold on tight.

For every bad day, there will be at least one good one. Newton established the law of equal forces in motion, and I believe that the concept can expand to other realms of life, but with a slight favoritism towards the good. Keep those good days in your pocket for when the bad ones try to come around. Use positivity and the light of your spirit to scare aware the darkening thoughts when they try to rule you. Be patient, but be persistent, for each time you conquer the demons in your mind, you will grow stronger. Hold onto that strength, and let it grow with you.

Let sadness be felt only momentarily. It needs its occasional time in the spotlight, but after it has run its course, shed it like a snake does an old skin. Acknowledging the existence of sadness is one thing, but holding onto its weight is unnecessarily increasing the burden upon your shoulders.

Embrace happiness. Squeeze it the way you squeeze the people you love. Don’t let go. Happiness is meant to be felt, and it is meant to last a long time. Consider positivity and joyful memories as your weapons against the world. With them, you hold the power to change your life for the better, so long as you choose to do so. It will not always be easy to remember that you have such resources available to you- your mind will try to convince you that they have fallen from your grasp. Squeeze tighter; they are there.

Experiences and people are not meant to last forever, but do not let that discourage you from relishing in the time you do have with them. There is a reason for it all. Hug the people you care about as often as possible, but embrace tighter the love that exists in those relationships. When you cannot feel the warmth of arms against your skin, hold tight the feeling in your heart of the appreciation for time you have spent together. Do not lose sight of the joy they have brought to your life. Whether they are present physically or not, their existence in your life has been a gift. When you have a good day, a day where your cheeks and abs begin to hurt from smiling and laughing so much, hold tight to that ecstasy and contentment. It cannot be taken from you. Your hands are strong, and your grip is unbreakable. 

You have the power to make your life beautiful. Hold on tight to it.




TFT Reflection(ish) 4

“Sarcasm is the body’s natural response to stupidity.” -unknown

Haha, so this reflection is a bit more silly than usual, but it seemed like the perfect time to let you all in on a character trait of mine: I am SUPER sarcastic. Like, to a fault.

While I am NOT a fan of calling things or people stupid, I do use sarcasm on almost a daily basis. When I use it though, it’s more for the sake of a joke than anything, and I try to only use it around or towards people who know I am only kidding.

I get my sense of humor from my parents, and over the past few years I have noticed that if anyone were to listen in on our conversations around the table, they would probably think we hated each other. We rarely sit down all four of us together, but when we do, there is rarely a five-minute period of time that passes without at least one of us poking fun at each other. We do it out of love and because we feel so comfortable around one another, but I’ll admit that there are times it goes a weeeeeee bit too far, and someone leaves the room in a mad huff.

I have also come to learn that I unfortunately have a VERY sarcastic-sounding voice. I’ll be saying something that I intend to be genuinely kind, but when I look at the person I am trying to compliment, they appear confused. When I stop talking, their response is, “I can’t tell if you’re being serious or sarcastic.” It’s not something that I’m proud of because I never want to offend anybody unintentionally, and I have worked to be conscious of how my words are possibly being received.

Anyway, I think sarcasm can be funny, but it’s important to know when things are about to cross a line into cruel.

So, I’m sure you have loooooved this rambling post (see what I did there?), but that’s all on the matter…for now at least.

Current Top 5 Fave Songs

I recently read a post where someone listed some of their favorite songs by an artist, and I love the idea of having a list of songs I like so that I can look back on them one day and see how my preferences have changed and/or stayed the same. Note: These aren’t really in a specific order because I love them all.


  1. Forever & Always by Taylor Swift. When this song came out, I think I was probably in like middle school, and I had never been wronged by a guy, or even had a boyfriend in the first place, but for some unknown reason, this song has always made me wanna scream about how betrayed I feel. I still haven’t been broken-up with over the phone, but I’ll probably continue to belt this as if I have til the day I die.
  2. Sweetest Devotion by Adele. Guys. This song is BEAUTIFUL. I am low-key obsessed with it, and I swear my blood pressure drops at least 10 points (levels? degrees? you get the point, though, right?) whenever I listen to it. I am addicted to the story of love it shares, and with Adele’s soothing voice and the sound of a child’s laughter in the beginning, my. heart. MELTS.
  3. Let You Down by NF. This one is pretty recent, and I guess I relate more to it right now because I keep feeling like I’m not enough and that I continually disappoint the ones I love. Fun fact: One night I listened to this song on repeat and spun around so many times while doing so that I gave myself a migraine for about two hours…the lyrics just hit home.
  4. Never Enough from The Greatest Showman. First off, that movie is bomb. Highly recom3527mend it, even if you’re one of those people who are like, “Ew, why do musicals exist? why can’t people just talk instead of randomly breaking into song?That kind of stuff would never happen in real life.” Trust me, just give the movie a chance. But this song is one I can easily relate to. The singer acknowledges that she has an abundance of material wealth and that her life is littered with beautiful things, but yet she is never able to appreciate it all without the love of the one she wants. I agree that life can never be satisfactory without the right people around you. Plus, it plaimagesys on my own sense of sometimes feeling like I am never enough.
  5. Make You Feel My Love as sung by Adele. Ugh, I love Adele and her voice of a freaking ANGEL! This song hits alllll da feels, man. I amopenly a hopeless romantic,  and this song totally caters to that sappy, all-in emotional commitment to someone that I adore. She is beauty, she is grace, she is Adele.



I genuinely did plan on stopping at 5, but it would be criminal to leave out one song that will probably always bring to mind specific very happy memories: Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran. This is the first song that Mitchell and I ever slow-danced to, so whenever this song comes on the radio, my thoughts flash back to Junior Year’s Prom. We also danced to it at Senior Year’s Prom, but Junior Year’s stands out stronger in my memory. I remember being so nervous about it. I mean of course I was comfortable with Mitchell, even then (we had been dating for only like one month officially at that point) so I knew that even if I screwed up horribly, he would still like me, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself or him. In the end, it was great, though. We hesitantly held onto each other at first, looked each other in the eyes, smiled, and laughed at how neither of us really knew what to do besides sway back and forth. I knew my cheeks were blazing with how much I was blushing, but in that moment, everything felt perfect. I 10/10 recommend slow dancing with someone you like. As corny as it may sounds, it’s pretty magical.


Pic citations: Never Enough =

Adele =


Scared of myself

The past four days have been, as a whole, pretty great. There haven’t been any major meltdowns, and I feel like I have some control on my life at the moment.

But I’m scared of feeling the way I did last week. I’m scared that this happiness won’t last.

Since Friday, I have been putting extra effort into reminding myself that change does not happen overnight, and that the best plan is for me to take everything one step at a time. I often make myself focus on the people I know who care about me, and I let the mantra “You are enough” intermingle with my thoughts. I allow myself to look forward to certain events that will happen as encouragement to push through the rough moments.

But I’m scared of how much effort it sometimes takes to be happy.

Even on the good days, the ones that let me pass through without paying the toll price of tears, I am scared. I fear that at any moment the shadows will catch up to me, and the sadness will demand to be felt.

This past week was a good week. My eyes were dry until Thursday night, which means I had roughly four days where I was strong enough to resist the negativity. Four days of ignoring the self-doubts and loneliness, and of actively focusing on remaining calm and positive. And I’m proud of those days…honestly. I just wish I could’ve made the tear-free streak last longer.

Not knowing when the next storm will come is frustrating, but my least favorite part of all this is being able to know- even while in the midst of a meltdown- how illogical my thoughts are. Last night (I guess it was this morning since it was 4:30am), I cried for almost an hour. I was in one of my favorite places, yet I couldn’t shake off the unhappy feelings. So there I was, lying beside one of my favorite people in the world, after a fun day of horse-back riding and other randomly enjoyable activities, and I had tears silently dripping into my hair and the pillow beneath it.

What sparked those tears was a thought so pathetic I am embarrassed to even admit it (but will do so for the sake of personal integrity): I was disgusted with myself for being too heavy to rest on my boyfriend without crushing him….


That sounds even worse typed out than it did in my head.

But anyway, from there, that thought grew into the fear that I had ruined my relationship by gaining weight and that my boyfriend no longer thought I was attractive (Yes, I know. This is EXTREMELY superficial, and makes NO SENSE because he has NEVER once said a single negative thing about my body. I promise. He’s great. See my post about him.). From there it snowballed into all the other parts of my life that I worry I am currently failing at: running, school, friendships. Each new turn of thought elicited a barrage of hateful words directed back at myself. I cried because the only one to blame for my unhappiness is me. I cried because my dramatic emotions and neediness cause others to suffer. I cried for the future that I messed up by the actions of my past and present. And for the finale, I cried because I was crying without being grateful for all that I DO have.

I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to feel like myself again, but I know that I want to. I want to feel strong and capable again, and most of all, I want to feel happy. I’m scared of myself right now, yes, but there is a benefit to fighting the person in the mirror: I know her biggest weaknesses.