Monday, December 19, 2016

15for17: Annalisa Palmer

Another addition in the 15for_ series, a beautiful post by Annalisa Palmer.
Annalisa was in my British Literature class a few semesters ago and unlike most English majors, her brilliance is subtle and never boastful. She is one of those people that genuinely listens. Her responses in class always strike me as thoughtful and refreshing. She shares with a vulnerability and honesty that I wish more people would jump into. And among a dozen other nice things I could say about her, I am just really grateful she is sharing a list of 15 statements she would tell her 17-year-old self.

Her list is bellow (and it's really freaking good):

15 statements for my 17-year-old self by Annalisa Palmer

1. 5, 15, 2013,17: 4. Those moments of imperfection in your subjective bildungsroman narrative cripple your ego. Do not dwell on them.

2. You regret your choice to graduate early. Sometimes.

3. Stop looking for something or someone that never shows up.

4. Ensconcing yourself in your room doing homework is not the only answer. Do not turn your friends away.

5. I cannot convince your narrow mind to halt your long attempt to achieve societal standards of beauty. But, happiness flitters away as soon as you say no to yourself.

6. You get lower than you ever got before.

7. I see your bones. When you play your ribcage, you think it is beautiful—to a certain extent, I still think it is.

8. Another moment like this returns. You crave those once sharp collarbones and protruding spine. Your index finger glides up your back and the struggle between a full stomach and a caffeine induced high wages on. She haunts you.

9. As much as you try and defer your progression into adulthood, the blood comes.

10. You do not care about love right now. Value your time alone.

11. Time and fear etch scars onto your body. You ache, feel, and grow more than you ever thought possible.

12. Forget about him and what you said. 

13. Keep running. Move and do. Despite its sadomasochistic bent, exercise reminds you to breathe. You are enough.

14. When you press your nose against the backseat window, watching your brother leave for his mission, do not expect tears. Your faith soon falters. Start questioning now before the flood swallows you whole.

15. Do not silence your call to explore and risk. Fear tarries in your heart; ignore it.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

postcards to myself

When I studied abroad, I would send myself a postcard every week or so. I would write it with the thought that when I returned home to the States, I would have a big pile of notes I wrote while I was free, wandering, and learning.

I really can't explain how incredible it was to come home after nearly five months of being away and seeing a stack of postcards I wrote with my greatest memories, revelations, and hopes.

I often take the postcards out of the wooden box I keep them in and read over them. I trace the ink with my finger and think about what I was doing when I wrote them. I remember the urgency I felt to tell my future self to hang on to this. I wanted so desperately for those moments of my life to be forever remembered and revisited.

So today, I'm sharing some of the things I wrote myself. Because you don't have to go far to realize that your life is undeniably beautiful, sacred, and trying. You don't have to go to a country that doesn't speak your language to realize radical empathy is a universal way to communicate. You do have to go to France if you want to eat the most delicious bread, cheese, and drink wine that makes you wonder why you ever drink anything else, but that's not really the point of this post.

Here's what French Katie said to American Katie. Forever thanking my overly emotional self for writing each week, for sending it across the ocean so that I could sit here, quietly, this morning and pour over the most sacred season of my life this far.

This process hasn't always been easy. You sat in an empty church this morning, looked up towards the ceiling, and asked what to do.
Allow yourself to be present. Allow yourself to feel deeply with your bones the truths that have built them.
Surrender to your stories. Follow your truth."

Mom says nothing here is defining you- and she's right. Your life is your own. Private and sacred. Shared with those worthy of hearing. Always let yourself wander. Bits of your stories have been scattered everywhere here in the south of France."

You stood here and let it all go. The bad, the old, the worn-out, the stuff that was taking up room. I am so proud of you for forgiving without apologies, and living again without borders. 'Listen- are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?' -Mary Oliver"

For years to come you'll remember what it felt like to walk alone on empty and crowded streets. You'll remember friends from all over the world. You'll remember what it feels like to abandon the things that only weigh you down and what it's like to live in a state of constant gratitude. Remember who you are, who you are working to become. Love yourself always."

You were reminded today how fragile and exquisite life is. How yours has carried you long after you stopped moving. How you must pay attention to the goodness and delight shared with you. Live inside those blessings spoken to you. I worry about you forgetting but how could you not remember today? Maybe that's why you are here. Collecting experiences and writing it all down. To be reminded of how small and necessary you are. How much your life is only yours. To carry, nourish, treasure."

My sweetest memories. Hope you all have a wonderful day xo.

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