The People You Never Knew You Needed

How lucky am I, to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. -Winnie the Pooh

Had you told me 3 months ago that some of my best friends would have included a Brit, a New Yorker, a Bulgarian and a Georgian, I would have laughed in your face. But I guess God has a funny way of throwing the most interesting, funny, incredible people in your life when you need them most.

IMG_0639I found my way up to a little town on Cape Cod called Wellfleet in late April of 2017. I had no idea what to expect except for the fact that I was going to learn way more about seafood than any Tennesseean girl ever would have dreamed. My life consisted of waking up, going to work at one of THE most popular seafood dives on the Cape so I've learned first hand, then coming home to the same people I worked with. That alone was a totally new concept to me. Over time you start to realize that those people are your backbone. They are the only things that get you through the day. They deal with the same customers good and bad, they go through the same struggles with you, and at the end of the day they are the ones who know exactly what you mean when you go through a 20 minute rant about the term 'vacation brain.' Half way through my season, I realized that I saw them way more than I even saw my family back at home. And that shapes your relationships and friendships in a way thats almost too specific to put into words.

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These people see you cry over the smallest things and comfort you like you just had a life altering event take place. These people willingly drive over an hour for good Mexican food. These people make you laugh so hard that you choke on ice cream and literally almost die. These people get way to into the idea of turning your employee housing into the best Frat House on the Cape or in the country but who can really decide that…rush Grammas Apple Pi. These people give you in site into different cultures and customs that you never knew existed. These people make you see the world in a different and much more beautiful perspective.

And I wasn't prepared.

I wasn't prepared for how much you can love and need someone over 4 months. I wasn't prepared for the new type of love I was shown. I wasn't prepared for the way they taught me how to love myself. And I sure as heck wasn't prepared to tell them goodbye. I wasn't prepared to not hear Pearre's laugh in the morning or Violina belt 'You raise me up' every other night before bed. I wasn't prepared to not have Casey there when I go to bed and when I wake up in the bed right next to mine. I wasn't prepared to not hug Megan every day. I wasn't ready for Paige to not come walking in our door every night. I wasn't prepared to let these people go.

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So some words of wisdom to those who are thinking about doing seasonal work… It's hard. It's stressful. It's so painful to leave your family. But do it. Find somewhere with employee housing and invest a season of your life to the unknown. The people you meet and the places you'll get to see shape you way more than you'd ever imagine. You'll laugh till you cry and you'll cry till you laugh. You'll learn so much about the world and yourself and it's beautiful. Get out of your comfort zone and just go. It'll be one of the greatest adventures of your life.

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2016: The year that was beautifully painful

If you are wondering why this post was dropped almost 2 and a half weeks into the New Year, it’s because I’ve been sick for just about all of 2017 and didn’t have any creative motivation to do anything but it’s 1 a.m. on a Thursday night (Friday morning technically) and I of course have words jammed in my head that I feel need to be written so here it goes.

When I think about 2016, I think of a year that was just as easily about gain as it was loss. In many aspects. And it kinda overwhelms me. It’s as if 18 emotions all happen at once and its good and bad and breathtaking and heartbreaking. One thing I love doing is going back through my pictures at the end of every year because moments frozen in time are my favorite thing. I love it because when a look at a picture I’ve taken, I’m taken back to that exact second. Wherever I was, whoever I was with, whatever I was doing, and how I was feeling in that very moment all comes back to me. That’s why I have fallen in love with the art of capturing moments. It’s beautiful to me. Each memory brought back a lesson I learned.

I learned that no matter how bad you want something, even if it’s with every fiber in your being, some things just aren’t meant to happen. Maybe just for now. Maybe not ever. Sometimes you try and you try and you put in everything you know how to put it in and it still doesn’t turn out the way you want it. It’s heartbreaking.

I learned having two wrecks can make your car insurance sky rocket.

I learned going to Disney more than twice a year is highly encouraged.

I learned that the thought “oh mom was right” is becoming uncomfortably relevant

I learned getting out of your comfort zone is one of the most freeing things. If whatever you are doing doesn’t make your heart skip a beat or your palms all clammy or your stomach have butterflies then what’s the point. Those are the moments that make life worth living. Taking chances and risks and deep breaths.

I learned watching people jam out alone in the car next to you is the best thing ever.

I learned my bobble head obsession doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. I’m at 30.

I learned that being transparent is the scariest thing you’ll ever do. It’s easy to live with wall’s up not letting people get close. I’ve always had the fear that if I let someone know how I feel or see who I am then the only thing I’ll get it rejection. Living like that is a life half lived. I was upfront with people on how their actions affected me. I was vulnerable and got to share fears and ambitions and dreams. I got over my swallowed my fear of being rejected and was honest and open about how I felt about a guy. And honestly every singled one of these things was showed me how liberating it is to get outside of your worries and fears.

I learned forgiveness is more for you than it is them.

I learned that its perfectly okay to spend rainy Saturdays in bed it’s now actually preferred

I learned that I’m that geeky cheesy hopeless romantic…wait no I already knew that.

I learned southwest has a low fare calendar and it is AMAZING.

I learned that your girl friends can break your heart way more than any guy can. This year I was smacked in the face with the reality that you should never linger on the people you wish were around and that you should bask in the people that decide to show up. It showed me that when it comes to a friendship, time and quality don’t always come hand in hand. Don’t make excuses for people who don’t put forth any effort. Friendships like that only lead to insecurities and they drain you.

I learned to laugh at my highly awkward moments.

I learned I can make a website.

I learned that taking picture’s is the only thing that I will never get tired of doing.

I learned words can make you feel to the depths of your soul.

I learned that you can’t compare the plan picked out for you and the plan picked out for someone else. I realized that there are only things I can do. There are only words I can speak to people who need to hear them. There are only paths I can cross with the things I’ve learned. There are only doors I can walk through, but when the time is right. Everyone has a unique purpose and place to be.

I was reassured that school has never been a passion…ugh.

I learned even more that Jesus was, and is, and will always be. Through the highs and the lows. Through the laughter and the tears. Through the harvest and through the drought. Through the yes and the no. Through the “I love you”s and the “you’re not enough”s.

I learned that I am a hotmess. And I am loving it. 

 

The Good Kind Of Lonely

It’s funny to look back at where I was a year ago today, or even who I was. If you could peek inside the brain and thoughts of the Abby from a year ago, you would see a chick who was scared out of her mind. The majority of my friends had left and started school all across the state and I was here, in the same place I had been for practically nineteen years. Except, it wasn’t the same place anymore. Yes, the lights at shackle island stadium still came on every Friday night and the traffic lights would still blink once it got to the unholy hours of the night and steak and shake would still have the perfect late night treat. But I realized it wasn’t the same without the people I had spent the past 8 years with at those places. My hometown just felt like a ghost town. So naturally, I was scared that there would be no need for me anymore from those people; that they would go off and replace me with some “big girl college” me. For weeks and months this thought, this insecurity, ate away every bit of happiness I could conjure up. I would do nothing but work and go to school and come home. There were so many nights I just cried until I thought I literally had no more water left in my body. It took me awhile to realize that it wasn’t just the fear of everyone forgetting me, it was the terrifying thought of being alone. Not only that but, being alone with myself. It took everyone leaving for me to see that instead of dealing with the insecurities I had with myself, I just let my friends drown them out. And when there were no more people to help drown them out, all I was left with were them screaming in my head louder than I had ever heard them. I can honestly say that the first semester of college was the hardest thing emotionally I’ve ever gone threw.

But what I didn’t know was how important those five months were.

After I finally got done sulking and throwing myself a little pity party, I picked myself up off the ground, wiped away the tears, and told myself I was going to be okay this semester. About a month or two in, started making friends but I didn’t let them engulf me. I didn’t fill every non-busy second with them. Instead, I took some time to be by myself. I took a second to learn about who I was, which was hard because I realized there were many different versions of me. I was still me, but pending on who I was with, there was always something different. Some friends I could be my normal loud goofy self and some I had to tone it down. Some friends I wouldn’t bother touching the aux cord because I had no clue how to find the music they liked to listen to and others I had the perfect playlists. My tastes would change pending on who I was with. And being by myself for the first time in a long time, I got to figure out what the ‘default’ Abby was like. Instead of running from her, I embraced her. Instead of being afraid to look in the mirror, I learned to love who I was, every zit and pore and curve and all. I learned to laugh at the dumb things that actually make me really happy. I learned that even in this place I’ve been for 19 years, there were areas that I had never seen and some of them were absolutely breath taking. I learned I love talking to strangers. I learned that 90% of the time the radio would fit all of my music needs. I learned I love driving with no destination in mind and taking backroads. I learned that I loved movie previews. I learned that I absolutely loved hockey. I learned a ton about myself. I was reassured about a lot too. I was reassured that no matter who I was, that the Lord is sufficient through any of my struggles. I was reassured that I still hated school. I was reassured that chick-fil-a was (and is) still one my go to’s.

 

It took the Lord taking my everyday mundane away to show me how extraordinary my life can be. So, if your struggling with letting go of something or someone because of the fear of being lonely, don’t be. It could be one of the best things to happen to you in a while.

To the almost 20 year olds who don’t know what they want in life…

As a 19 year old, people will tell you that they don’t expect you to have it all together but tend to continue to ask you questions about what you want to do and always have an opinion on your answer.
This is what family does but sometimes you just have to twitch a little, take a deep breath to keep you from screaming something rude (probably with not nice words) that your mother would give you “the look” for or bust out in tears because you have absolutely no clue. So you pull out the fake smile and nod like you have it all together and the words that they are saying haven’t already gone through your mind
But please hear me on this.

Someone else’s contentness on the decisions you are making about your life, should never be the equivalent to your happiness. 

In other words, don’t make decisions about your life based on how others are going to react to it.

The pressure of continuing your education when you were lucky to get through the first 13 can be the most suffocating thing. Trust me. I know. Because trust me, if that’s you, there will come a point in time where you are so burnt out with school you can’t see straight. You’ll look at the past semester, ask yourself what in the world happened, and truly contemplate if this is for you.
School is NOT for everyone. No matter what your parents or grandparents or uncles and aunts push you to think. Sometimes it’s not going to be for you. Please don’t spend four years spending every bit of yourself barley getting by because you can’t dread the questions at the holiday dinner table.
We’ve been taught there’s a certain way to live. You’re born. You go to school. Get the diploma. Go back to school get the degree. Get the job. Get married. Have kids. Raise kids. Encourage kids to do same thing.
What if I don’t want to do that? What if I want to pack up my car and travel the country with no plan and see how far that gets me? What if I want to go work on the beach somewhere? What if I want to go work in the most freaking magical place on earth? What if instead of crippling to the opinions of everyone around me, I lived without a plan. Lived in the moment. Lived to see what happens next with out knowing. Taking risks. Making mistakes and memories and friends. There’s a whole world out there. You were meant to explore it. You were meant to see what it has to offer.
Maybe you do want that degree. Maybe you fell and you need a second to catch your breath. Sometimes it’s not about how hard you got hit but about how hard you come back fighting. So you failed a lot of classes. It’s not the end of the world. You can take em again. If a degree is something you really truly want, fight for it with everything in you. Don’t forget to take in the moments though. Don’t get so caught up in the next five years you don’t do anything with the year your in right now. Life’s not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. (yes I just quoted hitch and yes I would do it again)
Girls. Don’t feel like you have to have someone. Don’t feel like you have to have a plan. Don’t fret about the thought of your egg count going down as you speak or the gray hairs appearing more frequently. Find the guy that you know without a doubt is the one you want to smell his farts on a long road trip or have to shave his back during the summer. Find the guy who kisses you when your gross and your hair needs to be washed because dry shampoo isn’t gonna cut it at this point. Find the guy who makes you feel comfortable all the way to your soul while making you absolutely crazy. Find the guy who will be okay with never knowing what we are gonna have for dinner. The one who listens to you sing awfully in the car on road trips and still holds your hand. You don’t have to settle to the guy you have to debate if he likes you. You don’t have to settle for the guy who can’t seem to settle down. And until then. You dance, you sing, you work out, you binge Netflix, and take risks and love you. Life doesn’t stop when you find love it just becomes an adventure that you can only conquer together.
Just hear me on this if you don’t read anything else… One day years from now you’re probably going to wake up next to the person you love more than anything in the world and have to make breakfast for the absolute product of yalls love and just try to keep those little guys to keep their clothes on before thinking “eh do they really need pants today” and you are going to smile and think about what got you here. It’s not gonna be the choices someone made for you. It’s your choices. So go out do something crazy. Dance in a parking lot at 2 am. Drive with no destination in mind. Kiss the guy you’ve been dying to kiss. Chase your dream even if your parents and grandparents and uncles and friends think you’re absolutely crazy. If you wait for moments to be perfect or the times to be right your going to live your whole life wondering where the time went. You’re young. Make it magical.

Back To Home

If you know me, you probably know that I love to travel. I love anything that comes remotely close to traveling. I get excited when I get to go anywhere that’s not in my daily routine, whether that’s 40 minutes to Murfreesboro or even 20 minutes to Nashville. I love it. So, you can bet that when plans are made where I get to leave the state, or even the region, I get super pumped. It normally doesn’t even have to be somewhere cool, as long as it’s somewhere I’ve never been. This time, I landed in the middle of the western heat and the neon lights *cue the Elvis songs and the feather hats.* Vegas baby! Hopped on a plane at BNA, (yes, I’m singing Miley Cyrus in my head as I’m typing) and, four hours later, my family and I are on the famous strip. Over the last four days, we have done every touristy thing imaginable, which I LOVE. We’ve seen the Hoover Dam and all of its glory. We’ve watched the dancing lights at the Bellagio. I became an official Avengers Agent at the Avengers Station (which I highly recommend if you or anyone you know love’s the avengers–SUPER family friendly). We even ziplined over the Old Vegas strip, which was by far one of THE coolest things I’ve ever done in my entire life. But in the middle of all the touristy things, Ally and I had to have our movie fix, so we found ourselves a movie theater (a little sketchy one I might add) and found what any Disney lover stuck in Sin City would watch, Finding Dory.

If you haven’t seen Finding Dory yet, one: WHY NOT?! WE’VE WAITED SO LONG FOR THE SEQUEL! two: it’s seriously one of the cutest things you’ll watch all summer. The short in the beginning is enough to put you in your feelings before you even get a chance to see baby Dory who I’m pretty sure is the most adorable thing to come out of Pixar since…like ever. Seeing it in Vegas was the second time I saw it, because you know I was an opening day viewer, lets be honest, so seeing it in a place that’s not home was kinda weird because that’s what the movie is kinda all about, finding your home. Finding where you came from or where you belong. BTW I’m going to talk a little bit about the movie. Not anything huge but if you haven’t seen it yet and you want no information about the movie whatsoever then stop reading because I would hate to upset you but I did warn you so anything you read after this point is your choice 🙂 

Dory has short-term memory loss. So it’s hard for her to remember things. Throughout the movie, she has flashbacks of her old family of where she came from. The whole movie is her trying to find that place, but it’s hard because it’s been so long, and she’s traveled so far. She meets people along the way that she used to know that are determined to get her back to where she belongs. I was sitting there in the theater looking too deep into Disney movies like I always do and I kinda saw myself in Dory. I tend to forget where I came from. I tend to forget whose I am, and I’m left wandering trying to find something, anything, that will bring me a sense of belonging or purpose, normally, things that won’t cut it. There was a part in the movie where seashells were laid out for Dory to help her find her way back. They said, “If you ever get lost, just follow the shells.” And I absolutely loved that not just because of my love for seashells, but, because that’s what Jesus does, isn’t it? He puts people in our lives to point us back to Him. He puts situations in our lives that lead us back to Him. Jesus puts out those seashells for us to find our way back. There’s something thats so freeing about that, that someone loves us so much to wait their patiently for us to remember where we belong.
Vegas 2016