You Won't Move On Until You Stop Listening to that Song

By Kayla Zilch

The song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros came out in January 2010. In the seven-and-a-half- years since, I’ve been ‘given’ that song so many times that I’ve almost forgotten which boyfriend’s love it first represented.

 

“Home is wherever I’m with you” is a lyric both powerful and pure, and it’s built houses in my heart on behalf of the boys I’ve associated it with. And yet, many of the houses represented on behalf of Home’s lyrics now sit vacant, empty, some so far off the perimeters of my heart-map that I couldn't return to them even if I wanted to.

It’s funny how we all swear the love we feel will never dull or dim, but how every love but one, will.

Some of us haven’t found the one undimmed love yet - and some of us will continue tending to the candles of the love left behind, believing that ‘some’ love is better than none.

And in reality or dreams, we take comfort in that small flicker of warmth, drawing safety and poignancy from lyrics like “Home” until we finally have a permanent place again to store the contents of our hearts that, for now, sit squatting in the in-between spaces of love-soaked song lyrics and real-life rejection.

It’s why we keep going back to Facebook pages, old texts, driving down certain roads after sundown, or finding an excuse to eat at certain restaurants and work out at certain gyms.

We’re all searching for “home”. Rather than uproot ourselves from a place of nostalgia, we desire to see the past restored. We want to find ways to make the old new again.

But at what point do we just start living in the now - emotionally homeless, without flickering-love candle warmth - but fully, terrifyingly alive, eyes forward and full of hope?

If you’re a feeler, this is hard. It’s harder than hard. We feelers store up memories and sentiments the way hoarders store empty cereal boxes and used Kleenex. We find beauty in everything, and therefore letting go feels like betraying our very nature.

Our greatest strength - identifying beauty, assigning meaning - becomes our enemy when the leaves start dropping from the autumnal trees of our life, and we run around trying to glue them back on.

It’s been years since “Home” first showed up in my world, on a burned CD gifted by my first serious boyfriend. And when he left, the lyrics were still good, still beautiful, still sparkling and full of hope. But I can’t listen to that song anymore without peeling myself off the floor after it’s finished.

So rather than continue listening, hoping the song will dull with repeated plays or trying to force myself to associate the bittersweet memories with a new, present reality, I just turn it off.

There’s a mistaken belief floating around in our culture that all things can be restored, given enough love and hard work. That by returning to something faithfully, we can will it to be what it once was, or become what we want it to be.

It’s just not true.

You are worthy of a mansion, not a decaying room. You were created to live in the springtime of love, not the winter. Your love burns bright like bonfire, and can’t be contained by the flicker of candles. You are worthy to receive the same love you so faithfully give away.

And the moment you stop kneeling at the altar of past loves, you’ll begin to discover that home is indeed a place that’s “wherever I’m with you” - even if the “you” is a tender, compassionate relationship you finally offer to yourself.

Kayla Zilch

Kayla Zilch

Dear New Mom at the Grocery Store

By Nicole DeSantis

Please don’t leave because your baby is screaming.

I know how long it took you to get ready to come here. I know that you fed and changed your baby before coming so they would be content while you try to shop. 

I know how long it took you to get here. I know how strenuous it is to take out and unfold that stroller or how heavy it is to carry the car seat and to maneuver it in that bulky cart.

I know you are not fully focusing on what you need to buy because you are trying so hard to make this motherhood thing look normal and that you want to look like you have it all together.

I know that you are avoiding the cookie aisle because you feel like your new mom body will never look how it used to.

I know that you need some time away from the endless loads of laundry, full sink of bottles, and floors that still have crumbs from the breakfast you attempted to eat with no plate or napkin.

I know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach and the beads of sweat that form when your baby starts to cry when all you want is to enjoy this short moment. I know that you have already done everything you thought you could do to keep your little one from screaming. I know that it is out of your control and there is nothing to stop it.

I know that you think people are staring at you and they are saying to themselves that you are a bad mother.

I know that you want to find the closest emergency exit and run out or somehow just magically disappear. I know you are probably telling yourself that you should have never left the house and this was a bad idea.

New Mom, I am here to tell you please don’t leave the grocery store.

I have been in your situation more times than I can count and it is still not easy for me. There are other mothers here that know what you are going through and have also been in your shoes. You may not see, but you have a whole support system in every aisle of this store and we are rooting for you. We support you and we know you are doing your best at this motherhood thing.

I know you are tired and all you wanted was to go shopping alone like you used to before having your baby.

I know that you love your baby more than anything, but adjusting to this new normal is hard.

If you still choose to leave, I will understand but as long as you come back that is all that matters.

I know that something as simple as a trip to the grocery store can be a big deal to us, so I want you to return knowing that you are fully supported and you are amazing human.

Sincerely,
A fellow mother and friend

Nicole DeSantis and her adorable son

Nicole DeSantis and her adorable son

Love’s Identity

Brittney Stevens // @pineapplefroyo

We have a lot of are’s attached to us. Think about it.

We are humans. We are students. We are siblings. We are parents. We are workers....and I’m certain we can both add more to the list.

One thing, though, that supersedes any title we can give ourselves is loved.

As in: We are loved.

If you think about it - or Google it, like I did - you may realize that the word “are” is a conjugation of our English verb “be” or the infinitive “to be.”

The definition of the word “be” is as follows:  to have identity with [something].

So the sentence “You are loved” means that you have identity in/with love.

Or in other words, Love is a part of your identity.

You know what that means, right?

Along with your name, your personality, your status, and anything else you identify yourself with, Loved is one of them.

Yes, this applies to you, sweet friend.

You are loved.

A label, a title, a birthright that outlasts any thing and any situation that can be thrown at you.  

You are proof that extraordinary things still walk the Earth, because love - the most powerful force in the world - abides within you.

That’s something you live with everyday.

That dwells in the core of your being.

Something that no thing can ever, ever

take away from you.

Brittney Stevens

Brittney Stevens

You are So Much More than Enough

By Ashlyn Harrelson

When did we (including myself) allow someone else to determine our worth?  Why do we allow one person or a group of people to decide that what we have to offer is valuable?  What causes us to base our worthiness on the acceptance of anyone other than ourselves?

It is time that we all start believing in ourselves and our abilities.  We all have something special to offer and just because one person or one group does not see it does not mean that no one else does or will. Self-love, just like finding your life purpose, just like meditation, just like a healthy lifestyle, just like mindfulness, takes practice.

This past week when my alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. I immediately said to myself “today is going to be good” over and over again before I even turn the alarm on my phone off.  Before my feet hit the floor I have set the tone for my day.  Maybe this is overly simple but it’s where I am right now.  It’s been working too.  Everyday last week was a good day.  Sure there were stressful moments or things that did not go how I wanted but those were just moments in my day. My mindset was to have a good day and I refused to let anything change that.

Since my breakup, and even before it, I questioned myself a lot.  Was I pretty enough?  Was I intelligent enough?  Could I keep his attention?  How can I make him show me more love?  What do I need to do to get him to commit to me?

You were enough maybe you were too much maybe he prefers less and you deserve more.

And this is absolutely where the title of this blog comes into play.  Because I am more than enough.  I am more than enough for myself and I am more than enough for the right man.  I should never feel that I am not enough for someone.  I should know that I am a full person who is beyond worthy.

For about a month now I have repeated a few sentences to myself:  I am beautiful.  I am strong.  I am interesting.  I am loving.  I am deserving.  I am worthy.  I have a lot to offer.  I am enough.

No, this is not easy.  No, I do not always feel so certain about what I am telling myself. Especially when the one person who should have appreciated these parts of me did not see me as any of these things or as worthy.

It takes practice and I have promised to practice everyday because deep inside I know I am these and so much more.  My hope is that anyone who has ever felt unworthy or like they are not enough of anything will know that they were simply unappreciated.  And maybe it is going to take a lot of self-love and learning to appreciate yourself before anyone else recognizes it but the relationship you have with yourself is the most important.  How can you truly love another if you do not love yourself?  So work on yourself and the right people will come into your life when you are ready.

When you are broken and he has left you do not question whether you were enough the problem was you were so enough he was not able to carry it.

Ashlyn Harrelson

Ashlyn Harrelson