Dorm Life: An Introvert’s Perspective

Okay, living in dorms is…interesting.

(So is college, actually. I really want to publish on the days I say I will, but sometimes I’m busy and just forget! Sorry!)

I mean, I didn’t realize how much of an introvert I was until I moved in with two other girls and met a whole group of people called the Freshmen Class of 2018. There are just people everywhere, an endless list of humans you have to meet and chat with because you’re desperate for friends but also people are annoying and…

Well, I was wiped by the end of the weekend.

2 weeks in, I was pretty sure I was one of the most introverted people on my floor and that I’d never have any real friends.

4 weeks in, I realized that I was being a little…dramatic.

But I’m sure I’m not the only introverted (okay, technically I’m an ambivert, but my introvert side came out hard moving into college!) college student. So here’s to all the brave quiet college freshmen who like silence and solitude and can’t find enough of either (especially when the sport team is having a pep rally right under your window). Here’s some tips to make it through, and hopefully encourage you.

1. Welcome week is exhausting, but try to meet as many friends as you can. For those of you who don’t know, Welcome Weekend is the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before college starts. It’s a bunch of lectures and activities that are supposed to help the freshmen “integrate.” It’s really long. And you have to talk to so. Many. People. But push through it. Seriously. Not everyone you talk to will be your friend, but try to talk to people. Even having people that you just nod at in between classes helps you feel less like just another face in the crowd.

2. Don’t stay in your dorm. This is soooooo tempting. After wildly running to different classes, sometimes you just want to go to your dorm, shut the door, and hope your roommates don’t come back. And there’s a time and place for that. But don’t let yourself stay there. Seriously, you’ll feel really lonely if you don’t really invest in other people.

3. Follow your gut and be honest. Know when you are all done. Don’t be afraid to tell people “No,” even if they’re telling you to come. Definitely don’t stay in your dorm, but don’t expend so much energy just to have what other people call “fun.”

4. Don’t judge anyone, especially your roommates, by first impressions. Both of my roommates are super extroverted. They flutter through rooms and conversations and people in a way that I just can’t. I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of them: they were just so much! But now I’ve grown used to them. And honestly, they make me laugh so much. They introduce me to people all the time, and I love how easily they can lighten the tension. I may have never chosen them as friends, but now that we all live together, I’m so glad we do.

5. Invest in your friends. Say you’ve met a couple of people that you connect to. Set aside time to invest in them. You don’t have to have a lot of friends, but just have a couple close ones and put a lot of time into them. It’s less energy spent and will be more fulfilling anyway, because those friends will be closer and know you better.

6. It does get better. The first month, especially if you aren’t crazy social, is hard. You have some people you sit with at lunch or you wave at in the hallways, but they don’t know you well and you feel like nobody really gets you. But give it a month. Find out where people are having game nights or weekends out (and I’m not talking parties, I’m talking small groups of people just hanging out). Eventually you start to gel with other people. And then you have the rest of your time there to have fellowship.

And with that, back to homework! 🙂



Midnight Musings: Boys

Dear God,

I don’t know what to do about college boys.

Mostly because I’ve never known what to do with boys in general.

I genuinely don’t understand them. And I’m very intimidated by them. Because they are the opposite gender. And there’s romance and there’s weird stuff that boys do and their ridiculous obsession with sports and one-upping each other and I just don’t know how to relate to them. And any time I see another male, I think of all my friends and their “guyfriends.” There were totally, never ever crushes involved, ever (are you reading the sarcasm?).

Plus, there’s my friends with boyfriends, and Lord they argue about the stupidest things. About how often they respond to posts on Instagram and whether they walked home with them and the tone in one word in an otherwise neutral sentence. And the inevitable breakup that follows is just so painful. Girls get so torn up about it.

So when people talk about boys, all I see is drama. Dear God, is all that really worth it? What’s the point of having someone who you praise and support one day and then decry the moment you two stop being together?

And then, the day after, you’re eating ice cream and crying over a movie because it reminds you of your ex-boyfriend.

The truth is, I can’t imagine caring for someone that much. To let myself fall for someone so deeply that I’m willing to give up everything for them, to fall under their spell, to become so emotionally attached to someone that I change my choices to fit them into my life–I can’t think of anyone that I’d do that for. Not even my own family; if I’d cared that much I’d have stayed in the tiny town I came from.

The truth is, I don’t like thinking about anyone having that much power over me. The idea of crying because of a turn of phrase or a poorly-chosen word turns my stomach. Or, indeed, of some praise absolutely making my day because it came from this random human that I’ve chosen to give me validation in life.

The truth is, my relationship with my dad is like that. Anyone else can say something mean and I can brush it off, but if it’s my dad I’m questioning my identity and life choices and wondering if I’m doing the right thing. And I hate that he has so much power over me. And the worst part is that he’s a good guy, a really good guy. He’s never told me I’m worthless or beaten me or cheated on Mom or done anything that should make me feel the way I do about him. But it still is the same: he has power over my emotions, even if I try to pull away.

And one person in my life with that power is enough.

Maybe that’s why I’m timid around guys. Maybe that’s why I push guys away and stay close to girls. Maybe that’s why I try to be confident and happy about being single. Because I’m afraid of romance. I’m afraid of being that emotionally and mentally attached to someone. I’m afraid of opening myself up and then getting sliced apart; of taking a chance and then never being the same.

I don’t know what to do with boys, because I know what happens next, and I don’t want that to happen to me.

And I’m scared that I won’t have a choice. That I’ll fall for someone so badly that I won’t care. Or that a guy will ask me out and I won’t know whether to give him a chance or to tell him no.

I’m just plain scared. Even though there hasn’t even been a rumor of people crushing on me.

I’m an open book around girls, but around boys I’m completely closed off. And I don’t think I want to be, but I don’t how to not be scared.

I don’t know what to do.



Midnight Musings: University

I live!


I kept meaning to go back and start this blog up, but I guess that didn’t happen until now. I wouldn’t even say I was busy: I was just occupied. After all, I’m leaving tomorrow to go to university.


It still doesn’t feel real. That I could be so lucky. It’s everything I wanted so badly: freedom, opportunity, choice. Most of me wants to jump up-and-down and scream with joy.

And yet I’ve never felt so selfish.

My family is going to miss me, much more than I will miss them. I’m going to fulfill dreams years in the making, and they’re losing me. And it’s not like my family is controlling or manipulating me. It’s just the way it is; it’s separation, and the ones that are losing feel it more in the ones that are gaining. I’m gaining a whole new world; they are losing someone they love.

I don’t know how to manage that, being happy and guilty. Not sad. Happy because this is something I’ve been wanting for so long, and guilty because everyone else seems to be sad about it. And I can’t tell people I’m not sad, because that will hurt them. But I’m not sad.

Maybe I’ll feel sad when the car drops me off and I’m standing alone at the doors of the University. Maybe I’ll feel sad when it’s been a week without any of my siblings bothering me. Maybe I’ll feel sad when my birthday comes up and nobody knows. But I’m not the homesick type, and I don’t know if it’s going to happen.

To be honest, I think all I’m going to feel when the car drives away is a sense of relief. A feeling of finally being able to say what I want to say, act how I want to act, stand on my own two feet without anyone looking over my shoulder. How could anyone not be happy about that?

Love is a choice, and I haven’t been allowed to choose all of my life. Maybe my love for my family will deepen, because I will choose them. Choose to speak to them, choose to spend time with them over FaceTime or Skype. Maybe in the end, it will be better for everyone that I go. Because it puts agency back into both parties’ hands. It allows us to choose who we will love and spend time with. And I’m glad for that.

In other news, my blog will be updating every two weeks on Sundays as usual! I expect I’m going to have a lot of things to say because so much of my life is going to be brand new.

I’m so ready. I hope you will enjoy it too.

Temporary Hiatus

So… I hate when people do this, but I think I’m going to have to. I’m finishing up my last term at my school, and it’s hard to put in time to write and still keep my schoolwork up. So, I am going on hiatus. I will return to you sometime in late June. Hope everyone who reads my blog has a lovely day!


Blank Slate

I made it through finals! Hallelujah!

The scary thing is that I have only one term left before I transfer. I’m so excited, but also really nervous.

It’s so weird when I think of myself before college. The girl I used to be was definitely naive, innocent, and less worried than she should have been about life.

But that girl was also more rigid, more black-and-white, more afraid of differences and of “being wrong”. That girl was more insecure, though she didn’t know it at the time. She was more afraid, and she had no idea of how to live in the real world.

That girl beat herself up when people told her she was wrong. When the rules she had accepted failed to keep her safe.

Whether I inherited them from my parents or absorbed them from my environment, I put limits on myself. Don’t swear, don’t wear those clothes, don’t read anything except classic books, don’t be out late, don’t talk to people who aren’t Christians, don’t watch things your parents wouldn’t enjoy, don’t disappoint them, don’t make them angry.

Don’t do anything wrong.

But then I found out crossing my limits wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought.

I crossed the borders, and nobody cared. Not even my parents. And I actually felt happier. Less conformed. More like myself.

Now I’ve outgrown the limits, changed them, formed new ones that fit me better and push me to be the person God is creating to be. Swear, but try to not provoke people with the words you say. Watch/read/listen to whatever you want, but be aware of what you are consuming and how you behave after you are done. Everyone is made in the image of God, so everyone has something valuable to offer you. And don’t depend on your parents for your worth. Your worth comes from God, not from what your parents think of you.

Which is great, until I think about the people I met who knew me before I changed. I’m nervous to admit who I’ve become when I’ve been violently opinionated about the very things I’ve changed sides.

I was so black-and-white as a child that anyone who knew me then will look at me weird when they meet me. I lived with a perfectly divided slate, with categories for everything…until life decided to mess with my categories.

So from now on, I will live with a white slate. I will not pick a side, I will not limit myself. I will be careful before I say always and never, I hate and I love. I will be careful with my preferences. I will not seek to put myself in a label, because I am more than a label and labels change.

Even on Tumblr (which may be the most label-free, “be yourself and screw everyone else” place on the Internet and the planet), you see people putting labels on themselves: sexuality, personality, politics, preferences. Why? Just live your life, and acknowledge that you will probably change.

Celebrities rebrand all the time because they change. You are allowed to rebrand yourself—or better yet, not ever brand yourself in the first place. You are constantly evolving, and you may change any and all of the above because of new life experiences. You are not a Republican, a Democrat, introvert, extrovert, gay, straight, any other label out there! You are just you. And you change. And that’s okay! Don’t put that pressure on yourself.

I’m allowing myself the freedom to draw my own lines. You can do that too.

Stay strong and keep smiling. Smiling’s good for your health.


Midnight Musings: P E A C E

So, here’s a midnight musing for you: what do you do when you have peace, but no money?

First of all, the title of my post is the title of a song that I’ll reference in the article. I didn’t come up with it. Second of all, this post is really short, because I’m tired. But it’s something I’ve been noticing, thinking about a lot for the past few days.

For the record, college is terrifying. I want to go, but there is this thing called money, and it’s simply not coming in. Why are there supposedly billions of dollars in scholarships available—billions that apparently go untouched—and yet I haven’t earned a single coin of it?

And yet, I feel at peace. It’s weird, unsettling, but I suddenly am not worried about it. I know God will work it out, and I’ll be all right. And I know he will put me in the university I need to be in. I don’t know which one it is, but he’ll make it work. I asked him to, a while back. And the peace I asked God for is finally here.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to “P E A C E” by Hillsong Young & Free on loop the last few days. That song is full of scriptures talking about God giving peace to anxious hearts. Not talking about us getting peace, but that God is the giver of peace. And that’s so important. Because we can try to self-help ourselves into a positive attitude, but the real peace of God isn’t something you work for. It’s a peace you believe in, you speak into your life, you know is real even if you can’t always feel it.

I wish this road was over, and that I knew what was before me. But for now I’ll take this oasis, this peace God has given me. What do you do when God has given you peace and no money? Rest in what he has given you, and keep believing for what he has promised. Calms come and go, but God’s peace passes all understanding.

Stay strong, and keep smiling. Smiling’s good for your health.


Dear Christians: Admit it, We’re All Terrible

I wrote up this blog specifically so I could be honest. Because I’m actually not very good at being honest, and I wanted to practice. I wanted to write what I wanted to write, not what I believe would be acceptable.

As a pastor’s kid, I like to think I know a bit about the inner workings of the church. And I’ve made a lot of observations: about people, Christ, grace, truth, law, right and wrong.  And I’ve wanted to write several versions of this post for months now. I’ve just never been able to figure out exactly how to say it.

But now I’m just gonna go ahead and say it.

We’re not fooled, Christians. Nobody is.

We’re not fooled by your pretty services and your platitudes and your “I’ll be praying for you” when we know for a fact you won’t. We’re not fooled by your nuclear families at the end of your cul-de-sacs that you post on Instagram. We’re not fooled when you come into church and say “Good,” when we ask, “How are you?”

You seem to be afraid to admit that you’re human. That your children are angry and rebellious and your finances are tight and you hate your job and your spouse cheated on you. The list is endless. You seem to be on a constant cover-up mission.


Anyone who’s been a parent knows that children need to be trained to be good. They don’t need to be trained to be bad. That’s because people are naturally bent toward being jerks. The thing is, Christians or not, we’re all terrible people. I’m a terrible person. You’re a terrible person. We all are a bunch of jerks in our own ways. That’s how we are born: we all have a monster growing inside us from the moment we take our first breath. One that tells us to do the wrong thing, even when we know it’s wrong.

And nobody is saying it.

Not at church. Not at work. Not at school. Everyone is hiding their mistakes, their situations, their problems. Because what will people think of me when they realize who I am on the inside?

What if they hear about my past? What if they realize what I do in my free time? What if they hear about my situation? What will people say if they hear how badly I’ve screwed up?

And Christians, you are not helping. You put people, especially cultural leaders, on this pedestal, and then judge them when they fall. The sheer lambasting of people on social media just because they happen to be famous is ridiculous. But it’s not just famous people: you do it to your friends and the people in your church. I believe the scripture in the Bible says, “Love your neighbor,” not “viciously judge your neighbor when he’s not in the room.”

Why are you so shocked when people make mistakes or act “worldly”? Wake up! This is the world we live in. It’s broken, it doesn’t make sense, and people screw up themselves, their lives, and each other all the time.

Why do you expect anything else from people?

Actually, why do we expect people to be anything more than human? Why do we think that people won’t let us down, fail at something we ask them to do, keep secrets from us, be a jerk? If anyone isn’t that way around us, we ought to be honored that they have chosen to strive against the monsters inside of them and be kind to us.

We all have monsters inside of us. That’s literally why Jesus came to die: as a substitute, so we wouldn’t have to take the punishment for our sins and so we could have a relationship with a perfect God. So, if we needed somebody to die for us so we could be with perfection, maybe we should stop trying to fool people?

There ought to be no need to pretend that life isn’t a mess, that you’re perfectly fine, that you don’t have worries and that all of life’s problems can be solved with perfect optimism and a song-and-dance number. Life isn’t perfect because we aren’t perfect. Stop pretending. Stop lying to yourself and others. You’re a mess.

Scared to admit it? Here’s a list of all my monsters: I’ve run away from home. I cheated on a college exam and got caught. I sometimes think girls are pretty and want to kiss them, and I’m scared to say so because saying it solidifies it into an issue instead of something I can just ignore. Especially since I know it only happens when I’m lonely and want a boyfriend.

If you say “You’re stupid and naïve,” I think you’re missing out on the awesomeness that is me. But if one of my parents says, “You’re stupid and naïve,” I crumble under their opinions of me, overanalyzing every word they say into ways that they hate me. Wondering if they’re right and I’m wrong.

I delete my Internet history because if my parents saw they’d be disappointed in me. I chronically lie to them, and they keep trusting me (I don’t know why). I curse, daily and often. I read fan fiction, and sometimes it’s got sex scenes in it. I’m rebellious and stubborn and have no idea when I’ve pushed too far until it’s way too late.

And I honestly couldn’t care less.

I really couldn’t.

Because Jesus loves this broken, stupid, lying sinner. Loves me on the days I lead worship and people get saved. And loves me on the days I delete my Internet history and tell my parents that no, I’ve never watched Stranger Things or Harry Potter. He loves me when I tell my friends that I’m here for them and he loves me when I tell my friend that I’m struggling with homosexuality again.

So, guess what? Jesus loves you too.

He loves you, warts and all. To quote Tim Hawkins, “He didn’t come to make bad people good; he came to make dead people alive.” He doesn’t care where you’ve come from or what you’ve done. He just wants to talk to you, to have a relationship with you. You don’t have to be perfect.

You know who started the first church and is considered the first Pope by Catholics? A foul-mouthed fisherman named Peter who denied that he even knew Jesus three times in front of witnesses. You know who spread the gospel throughout the Roman empire and wrote half the New Testament scriptures? A murderer named Paul who was convinced that all Christians were wicked and evil until he had an encounter with God. You know who wrote passionate worship songs to God and who God called “a man after his own heart” because he loved God so much? A man named David who had sex with a married woman, got her pregnant, and then killed her husband to cover it up.

Christians, God wants people with monsters. He doesn’t want people attempting to be perfect. He just wants his people to want him. He wants his people to chase after him and listen to him. He doesn’t want your actions. He wants something more valuable.

He wants your heart.

You can give him your mask. Your perfection. Your actions. But can you give him your heart? Because that’s what he really wants.

Stay strong, and keep smiling. Smiling’s good for your health.


Dear Younger Me…

Hoo boy, Younger Me, are you in for a ride.

A few important things happen to you as a child.

You will always be a bit “special”. When you’re young it’ll be because you’re smart in school and always seem to know all the answers. You sing on the stage when you’re six and can quote Shakespeare when you’re 10. You will say funny things that don’t make any sense and dance in front of a mirror and invent fantasy worlds in your mind and people will shake their heads over you. You will love being the smart one, you’ll try to boss people around, and you’ll always try to be the responsible one who speaks for the adults. You won’t read the books until you’re in college, but you’re basically a cross of Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood without magic. (By the way, you get more and more like Luna Lovegood as you get older, but you actually like it.)

You will also sing on stage. A lot. You will be in plays and choirs and the occasional solo and you will fall in love with music. It will be the thing that keeps you going when times are tough. It will be the thing that sparks you and defines you. Don’t let go of it. Fight for your ability to use it. Because it’s so important to you, and so much good can be done through it.

Right as you become a teenager, you will have the rug pulled out from under you. Your parents will announce that Dad is changing jobs and your family will be moving away.

Then, just when everything in your life is becoming uncertain, you will get hurt. Someone important to you will say words to you that hurt so much. It will be idle words that he will forget about, but you will never forget them. Even when you have forgotten the content, the feelings will ring in your ears for all of your teenage years: that feeling of rejection, “You did something wrong so I don’t want you to talk to me,” that feeling of being a screw-up.

So you’ll draw away from your family. You’ll bury yourself in the Internet, go to websites and watch shows without telling your parents, and you will try to run away from home. Which was utterly stupid of you, but you will be so hurt and sad and angry and hopeless and scared to share your feelings that you’ll run rather than tell people how you really feel. You will accept the identity of a screw-up, even though you’re a good kid through high school.

And, with your identity in shambles and your emotional state a complete mess, you’ll move the first time.

In your new church, you won’t be “special”; you’ll be “odd.” You’ll act silly and like pop culture (which is frowned upon in your family). You’ll have a photographic memory but won’t know where you put your glasses and so people will call you “odd.” Your brothers will make fun of you and your sisters will ask you why you don’t want to play with them and your friends will wonder why you just want to stay inside and read a book. You will feel isolated, like you don’t fit in anywhere. And you will convince yourself that it’s your fault. If you could only be more godly, more kind, more friendly, more tolerant. More normal. This only convinces you further that you’re a screw-up. Because you try and fail, over and over again, to fit into everyone’s expectations. So, you must be the failure. The mistake-maker in the family. The one who does everything wrong. The one everyone’s secretly ashamed of.

But, during this time, you will actually meet Jesus. Not hear about him in a sermon like you have for most of your life. Actually hear his voice, have him speak to you for the very first time, feel the healing of redemption. You will reach out to him in an act of desperation, and he will reach out to you. And a new voice, a small voice, will be introduced into your life. A voice that says I love you. I forgive you. You are my daughter, and I still have great plans for you. You haven’t messed them up. You’re going to be okay. You don’t need to carry the guilt anymore.

You are beautiful just the way you are.

You won’t believe it for a long while. But God will talk to you: in answered prayers, in words that couldn’t have come from you, in the truth of his Bible, in prophecies over you. He will start to lead you, to help you grow and become a better person. And he will help you grow your fragile confidence.

It will be at this church that you’ll realize that people’s opinions don’t matter. That it’s so important to be able to say no. That just because you have no idea what the future holds doesn’t mean that God doesn’t know. That to measure people, you should look at their present, not their past.

Yet, even with all this, you still carry the identity of I’m the black sheep, the odd one, the one people are ashamed of. And you’re convinced that, because you don’t fit into standards other people have made for you—unfit, naive, rebellious, too loud, not assertive—that you must be destined to always be wrong.

And it won’t be until you go to another church and start going to college that you realize how wrong that is.

You’ll meet new friends who love everything about you: your goofiness, your weird quirks, your passions, your aspirations. And you’ll actually realize that you aren’t as odd as you thought, because a lot of people are similar to you.

As you get to know your friends and fellow students at school, you’ll realize that all these people—people who lead very different lives from you, people who make decisions you think foolish—are still great people. Funny, sweet people who are trying to figure out life. Just like you.

And that’s when you wake up. And realize that what God told you so long ago—you’re beautiful just the way you are, you have nothing to be ashamed of—is true. You realize that you’re not a bad person just because you make mistakes. You’re not a screw-up just because you can’t conform. God picks people who seek after him, not people who have their lives together.

So, summoning all your courage, you will start to dream. You will really examine your heart and your desires. Those old hopes that you squashed down because they’re “wrong”—dyeing your hair, starting a YouTube channel, living in the city, singing on stage, writing albums, being totally free to be yourself without guilt—will start to grow again. And you’ll realize that they’re actually beautiful, not the weeds that you thought they were because nobody else you knew had them.

So don’t lose them.

Never forget that you are a child of God. You are just beginning your life, so of course you can’t see it all right now. You will make mistakes, because everyone of all ages does it. You will fall and get back up and fall again.

But God’s children are just like you. God’s used adulterers, murderers, thieves, and prostitutes. He even used people in his plans when they weren’t serving God.

So walk through your life knowing that you have nothing to be ashamed of. You are a child of God, and you are specifically made to follow after him.

What are you waiting for?



I Never (Always) Worry

Dear God,

So, I’m worried.

Really worried.

Constantly worried, actually.

See, college is looming on the horizon, and it’s stirring up so many things. I want to transfer. My parents are telling me I should go to my local college, which would cost considerably less but makes me shudder even thinking about actually going. Living here in the middle of Nowheresville is bad enough, but going to college permanently here? No. No, no, no, no.

I just don’t want to. I don’t want to live here. I don’t want to stay in a tiny town where nothing ever happens. How can I stay in the rolling hills when all I dreams of is skyscrapers? How can I be content to crawl on the ground when my heart longs for the stars? How can I settle for just being quiet me, living under my parents’ roof and eating my parents’ food and screaming under my parents’ rules, when I just want to be free?

God, my heart longs for worlds I’ve never known. My heart longs for freedom, for new experiences, for a life I dictate instead of my parents, a world where I can dye my hair and swear and watch whatever I want and jump on couches and be utterly transparent and actually not care at all what people think of me. Because I know that in the real world, none of these things really matter. I step out my door and do all of these things and nobody flinches. But if I do them in the hearing of certain people, I’ll be emotionally “punished”. And I know I can’t convince my parents to change their ways, or at least let me change. I’ve been trying to dye my hair for YEARS! And they never listen.

So I want to run. I want to go far away, so I can be really free.

I want to escape.

And do you know the worst part? I know all of this is rebellious talk. I certainly know that it’s rather silly to make a big deal about things that ultimately don’t matter. There’s a part of me that wonders if all of this is wrong. If all of this offends you, if it’s “sinning.” But we have a relationship. One that’s built on communication and love, not how badly I’ve been doing. Not on if I conform to a standard or not. So I can say all this to you, even if I can’t say it to anyone else.

God, I don’t want to go to a place where you aren’t leading me. I don’t want to be in a place where you aren’t. And if you want me to stay here, in this quiet town, then I know I’ll be happy here. Because you’ve called me here. You have a plan for me, so I know everything will work out. After all, Jeremiah 29:11 does say, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you; to give you a hope and a future.'” Your thoughts toward me are good. You know what’s best for me, even if I don’t. So, if you want me to stay here, I know one day I’ll look back and be grateful that you did.

But it’ll be so hard for me, if that’s your plan.

And I dare to hope that you put this longing in me for a reason. That it’s not a sin, but something you want me to want. That my love of cities is design, not disaster; dyeing my hair is taste, not travesty; wanting to live life on my own terms is responsibility, not rebellion. There are days when I wonder, “What if I’ve had this in my heart since I was in high school because this is who I’m supposed to be?”

But there are also days when my father rants on the evils of pop culture and my mother tells me to moderate my language when I say “Oh my god,” and my brothers tell me that I’m strange and my sisters wrinkle their noses when I tell them about my interests and I wonder if I’ve got it all wrong. Even though great things are happening in the city and pop culture helped widen my perspective and connect with people and swearing is kind of normal now and what’s the standard for “normal” anyway and why should I want to apply it to myself?

I’m tormented, constantly, by these worries.

Because I live in a world where I don’t fit in, and I want to get out, even though everyone I know tells me I shouldn’t.

God, help. Because I don’t know who’s right, and honestly I don’t care. I want to hear what you want to say. Let God be true and every man (including me) be a liar, let your word be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, let your presence change me from the inside out. I will rebel against the whole world if you ask me to, and I will embrace the world and all its madness if you ask me to.

You’ve guided me this far. And I’ve looked back and thanked you for what you’ve done in my life. You have molded me into the person I am. And you are proud of what you have made.

Please don’t leave me now.

Love you,