Adulthood?

Adulthood?

What does it even mean to be an ‘adult?’ Usually when I hear the word adult used to describe something it means there is alcohol or vegetables involved. I mean there may be alcohol and vegetables in my future but I’m pretty sure that’s not the whole story.

Recently I’ve been going through a lot of big changes/events. In 11 short days I will be moving from small town Iowa to the city of New Orleans, Louisiana! I was offered a job through AmeriCorps but was then tasked with finding a place to live in a city over a thousand miles away. Oh, and right in all of these big changes, I am leaving a job that I absolutely love and getting my tonsils taken out!

If adulthood is making lots of life changing decisions in the matter of three weeks, I think I’m in it!

Although I have been completely overwhelmed with these significant (and even the seemingly insignificant) decisions, I have been trying to take time to process how I feel about taking these steps. I am doing things the right way? Am I really just on the path to Neverland? I am even stepping at all!? This frame of thinking is a terrifying place to be and therefore makes the act of deciding even harder.

What I have come to find, however, is that maybe it’s ok if I don’t know the end of my story.

Maybe I am going the wrong way right now… but maybe I’m not.

Maybe I am on the path to Neverland… a new place to explore!

Maybe I’m not really stepping… what if I’m leaping?

Adulthood may mean making big, scary decisions. It means taking changes that might not have rewards. It means putting yourself out there with a little less cushion than when you were a ‘kid.’

Being an adult is not categorized by a number. It’s not an age, or a height, or the amount of money you make. It’s being able to take those risks and stick through the good and bad. It should not be glamorized nor should it be feared.

I don’t know what will await me in New Orleans, that’s what makes it exciting. What I do know, is that it will change me! I will come out of this situation having learned some important lessons, taken leaps and bounds in my career and personal life, met people and seen places new to me, and so much more!

I could fall flat on my face.
I could soar.
I will step.

I think, I don’t know for sure, but I think, these may be the steps that lead me into adulthood. I guess we’ll find out.

What does your family say about you?

What does your family say about you?

I don’t mean: Do they say you are pretty or smart or an ass-hole?
I mean: What does your family history say about you as a person?

I want to say that the answer is nothing. I want to say that I am my own person and I make my own decisions and none of that has to do with whatever shit has happened in my past. Saying this, I wouldn’t be totally wrong but I would not be right either.

From the psychological and biological perspective, there are many characteristics that are passed down genetically that indicate clear connections in a family line. Mental and physical diseases are part of that package. Socially, the family you know and are surrounded by play a huge role in how you interpret and handle the environment around you. You learn behavior and morals from the people who ‘teach’ you behavior and morals.

So then, yes, your family is quite the talker when it comes to saying stuff about you as a person.

But it doesn’t have to!

Look at me. I am a 22 year old women who has graduated from Luther College, traveled the world, works a full time job (that I’m pretty good at), and volunteers in many groups and organizations in the communities I have been a part of throughout my life. I am by no means perfect, but I am a hard worker who genuinely cares about the world around me.

However, if you were to only look at my family line you would see a depressed mother who committed suicide at age 26 and a biological father who was hardly a part of my life and is a clear case drug addict. There is also my step dad, who I considered a dad because he taught me how to ride a bike, who is now a raging alcoholic. If you were to look at me from my family line you would expect to see a depressed and/or anxious girl who resorts to drugs and alcohol to keep herself together. Even if you don’t expect it, you wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case.

I have lived my whole life refusing to live in the shadow of my family tree. Ashamed may not be the perfect word, but it is not far off. Afraid might be closer.

I sometimes feel depressed. I sometimes feel anxious. I don’t always make the right choices.

I can’t be perfect. I can only be Branna.

That being said, I have made it this far on ‘the path of Branna’ with the help of the people who have supported me and the person I am now. These people are still in my life because they believe in me and who I am as a person, not who all those -ology sciences tell me I should be.

I am not my mother, or my father, or my step-dad, or my neighbor down the road. I am Branna Lace and I will not be defined by what’s behind me. I will be driven by the path a make before me and the journey I’ve made my life become.

 

My reality of settling

I would like to picture settling in the form of sand slowly falling to the bottom on a sea shore after a long summer day of feet wading in and out of its salty waves.

My reality of settling, however, comes in the middle of the night when all is quiet around me leaving room for the racing thoughts in my head to change the stillness from calm to chaos in seconds.

They hide in silence and come out when all seems clear to bring up fears of insecurity, loss of control, and inability to move. They snicker in the silence knowing only I can hear their voices. They grow in the darkness, merely subdued by busying my mind with the toxins of social media.

I used to fear the silence. I feard these monsters and the power they continue to hold over me. I still fear the consequences if they win.

But more resently, I have come to embrace the silence. I confront the demons head on, an expert in these interactions by now. I face them knowing that the dreams of settling sand on the sea shore can never be my reality if the monsters of my mind infest the waters.

My hope is that the waves kick up enough sand to land right on top of those fears and bury them beneath the settling ground. But that wave can only come from me and I can only create such a thing by embracing the silence that I shouldn’t have to fear.

Maybe the settling will never happen; maybe it’s not supposed to. But each day I take another step and create another wave that may just be the one that saves me.

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Goodbye for Now

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On Sunday May 21, 2017. I completed the goal I’ve worked the last four years to reach. On my big bucket list of lifelong dreams, I was finally able to check this one off. It truly was a beautiful and bittersweet moment. It did not go smoothly, as things rarely do, and by the end of the day I was completely whipped, but I did it!

 

And in the midst of all the ‘lasts’ I still haven’t cried. My last day of classes, my last final, my last asian bowl (ok I almost cried at that one), and my last time time walking on campus as a Luther student. I expected that these things would be emotional and painful for me, but they really weren’t.

Then came the goodbyes.

Goodbye to my professors, goodbye to my mentors, my role models, the lovely people that make my asian bowl, goodbye to my friends. I thought that this would be the time that the tears would start to flow, and yet they didn’t. I have spent the last couple of days wondering why I haven’t been emotional about this whole process. And this is the conclusion I have drawn.

The goodbyes are only temporary for me. I have spent the last four years not just going from class to class only waving at the passersby, I have spent that time building relationships that I fully plan to last me for the next four years and beyond.

The professors that have taught me the many wonderful things I’ve learned in and out of my classes are more than just people who happen to be qualified to teach at this college, they are my mentors and role models in life. You don’t just walk away from people like that, you cherish them, you keep in contact, and you continue that relationship you’ve worked so hard to build.

To the real and true friends I have made in the last four years, know that your friendship was not simply a convenience to me. The goodbyes we said on Sunday will not be the last! We have been through too much and shared too many beautiful memories for that to be so. The love I have for you all surpases time and space. It may not be in person; maybe it’s only a phone call now and then, a skype session, or a snapchat, but we will see each other again and there will be many more goodbyes for us to share.

Maybe this wishful thinking of goodbye only being for now is a little too romantic. Maybe it’s just my way of coping with this change in life. Interpret it how you will, I know that graduating Luther is not the end. What will keep me going is knowing that it’s not a goodbye forever, just a goodbye for now.

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Spontaneous night out

The intentions were great: do some reading at a local coffee shop…. Well, very little reading got done but the night continued to be filled with a couple of cocktails and a three course meal at my favorite restaurant (and job) in town, Rubaiyat, with my favorite and only roommate!

There are so many awesome things our small college town has to offer: great coffee shops to study in, wonderful cocktail bars to chat and drink, and great establishments to dine AND drink.

Most of my time the last year has been spent working at the wonderful establishment of rubaiyat but tonight I was the one dining out!

Emily and I started the afternoon at Impact with the plans to drink some coffee and do some homework. Well… not much reading got done by either of us, but we had a very nice life chat, as seniors in college need every once in awhile.

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All of a sudden it was 5:00, just in time for Rubaiyat to open! How convienient!

We told ourselves we were just going to get a cocktail…. And maybe an appetizer! Very quickly, that turned into us sitting at a booth full to the brim with 2 cocktails, salad, bread, an entree and all we could eat of a delicious creme brulee.

Do I regret anything? Absolutely not!

Sometimes this is exactly what a girl needs. A spontaneous night out where we laugh and gossip and probably eat a little too much eat and drink just enough drink. I couldn’t have asked for a better evening with my favorite roommate ever!

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*Warning Sappy college senior moment coming up*

As ready as I am to start life in the world outside Luther, I have moments like these. I have always been told I will look back on my college days and remember the first and last days of class or turning in my senior paper or maybe the whole receiving a diploma thing, but when I look back at Luther I will remember these moments. Moments with some of the most amazing people that I have ever met. The spontaneous dinners, the coffee homework sessions that turn into the best therapy, and the loving friendship two complete strangers were able to bring to life over the last four years.

My goal is that the last six weeks I have at Luther will be filled with all of these beautiful memories.

Butterflies of my Soul

Butterflies of my Soul

The world stops. Everything is without motion except for the beating of your heart and the pulsing of your veins.

A large mesh cage appears and in that cage you place the butterflies of your soul. As you confront a feeling of pain, anxiety, happiness, loss or anything else, a beautiful butterfly materializes, reflecting that emotion. Once placed in the cage they may fight or console each other. But they wont be there for long.

When you feel like your emotions have been processed and materialized, you stand up and walk to the nearest door you can find.

You walk through.

A land of your creation awaits you. It is a warm medow in the middle of a forrest. The sun is welcoming to your newly naked and vulnerable skin. There is a lake near you with the clearest water you have ever seen.

You open the cage and release the butterflies of your soul into this world of serenity.

Your breathing slows. Your pulse settles. And for even a moment, you are at peace.

The lake lures you in with its crystal waters and soft stirrings. You wade in, cleansing yourself of the struggles of life.

You dry off by laying in the grasses of the meadow. Sometimes you are greeted by a rabbit or a deer. Sometimes you are left alone to process and breathe.

Looking up, you see the butterflies of your soul flitter around free, but hesitant to fully leave. Some never do.

When you feel satisfied, you walk back through the door into the motionless world you left. You take your place back into reality and live on where you left off.

Knowing that, soon enough, you will be able to return to this world of your making.

One day, forever.

The Break in Spring Break

Spring break: A time for travel and sunshine and beaches and alcohol, right? That does sound like fun, and I wouldn’t complain about being somewhere like that right now, but what I really need requires very little travel and a lot of love and relaxation. What I need is quite simple. A break.

I’ve discovered that I feel the need to fill every moment of my time off doing what society tells me is fun and ultimately what “I am supposed to do” for this thing called spring break. But when I return, I end up feeling more tired and worn out than before I left. I get so anxious about doing all of these fun, seemingly necessary things, that I never get a chance to really take a break. This year, I decided to put my foot down and take some time for me.

Of course, I had some plans for this week, but they did not end up going… quite as planned. What was meant to be a fun few days with an old friend and lover prematurely ended by crashing back to reality with hurt and heartbreak. Again, not quite what I had in mind for this ‘break.’

In the moment, I knew that I could handle this problem in a few ways. For example, I could cry myself to sleep and stay that way for the rest of the week, or I could pick myself up and make the most of my drive up to Minneapolis. I decided to do a little bit of both. Emotions are hard and suppressing them is not healthy, so I decided to go to stay with my family in the cities. I told them what happened, and yes, I cried… a lot. The next morning, I got up, had some coffee, played with my nephews and later that day, my family treated me to a facial at a spa in town.

I am clearly sad about how the beginning of my ‘spring break’ has been, but I refuse to let that keep me from having the break I know I deserve. Spending time with my family is the healthiest way to follow this situation. Healing loss with love is the best remedy I know and that is exactly what I got from the hand I was dealt. If a life decision like this had to happen, this was the best time for it.

My mentality going into this week was to spend my time catching up and relaxing as well as processing where my life is at and where it was going. Even though the obstacles life has thrown at me, my goal remains the same. In fact, it is even more important. I still have 5 days before classes start to take in all of the ‘break’ I can, and you can bet I will do just that!