What to do when you feel lost (or, how Parks and Rec always helps)

I was talking with my therapist yesterday, and I was describing how off-kilter I had felt recently (as if that wasn’t clear enough with my latest post). I said that it felt like if “normal” me is at True North, my inner compass is somewhere…off of that. I haven’t felt like myself, I’m not sure what direction I’m going in, and so on.

And she said “So, you’re saying that you feel lost?”

Oh. Well…yeah, I guess that is what I’m saying and I just hadn’t realized it before then. No wonder I feel so weird recently – I am lost. And confused. And maybe a little bit scared (or maybe a lot scared). I’m trying to sort stuff out for my future but there are some things that I really truly have no control over at the moment. I know I’m going to Seattle in September but beyond that? No idea (and I hate that).

So me being me, I’ve been researching and talking to people and becoming more and more discouraged because damn, grad school and career stuff is hard and everyone kind of points in a different direction and I’ve been more confused than when I started. Mm, perfectionism (eye roll).

Once I realized this, I realized how I felt mirrored a Parks and Rec episode where Leslie wants to come up with her next “big idea” after the Harvest Fair. She’s scared that the Harvest Fair will be the only thing that she’s known for, so she takes everyone camping so they can help her think of something. She pushes them and pushes them and also pushes herself, and when they finally relocate to a B&B down the road, Ron locks her in a bedroom and eventually she falls asleep for double the amount of hours that she usually gets. When she wakes up in the morning, she feels refreshed and full of ideas – because she rested. 

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I’m going to take some time this summer to rest. My job ends in July so I’ll have all of August to sleep, decompress, and try to do fun free things in Boston. But because I’m me, here are some bullet points of stuff I want to do for the rest of the summer:

-Read tons of non-fiction: I love non-fiction. I love books about religion and feminism and society too, but sometimes I just want to read fluff and I’m okay with that.

-Re-read the Harry Potter series: I’m starting this now actually, and I’ve been listening along with the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast while I do it. I’ll be done reading before they finish the podcast (it goes for 199 weeks – one for each chapter of the books), but it’ll be done for my next re-read. It’s been so fun reading as an older person now, because I can see so many of the themes and the foreshadowing I missed when I was younger.

-Spend no money in August: I’m going to try really, really hard with this one. Come September, I’ll be getting a very small monthly stipend, and the money I have now is hopefully going to last me throughout the year. I want to get into the habit of living simply, so this August I’m going to aim to spend as close to nothing as possible, with the exception of a monthly bus pass and supplies for my trip.

-Exercise: I love to exercise, but I haven’t been feeling like it lately and my schedule has been pretty tight on time as well. I’ve been swing dancing more recently (which is SO FUN!!), but I miss doing other cardio and weights and yoga. I’ll have plenty of time in August, so I’m going to try to work out more consistently and listen to what my body needs.

-Cook more: One of the biggest ways I spend money is on food. Sue me, y’all. It can get stressful to prep breakfasts and all of that – and that also feels like a very American thing to do – but it is really helpful when it comes to the week. I also just really enjoy cooking for myself and others!

-Journal – My friend Heather gave me a lovely journal for “all of my adventures”. It’s been so nice to write my thoughts out, so I want to keep going.

-Be mindful – Ah yes. Mindfulness…something my therapist repeats often, and something I need to work on. I multitask, like most of us, and my thoughts are usually elsewhere when I’m doing something else. I’m going to try to work on being in the moment and knowing that I have enough time and memory to do the things I need to do.



Ok, I have some questions.

I wonder why nobody talks about the in-betweens: when you feel like you’re not where you were, but you’re not where you’re going yet, and there’s all of that stuff in the middle that’s full of fear and doubt and anxiety.

Moreover, how do people get where they want to be? Along with not talking about doubts and imposter syndrome and fears of not fitting in, developing a goal is hard enough but then working out all the tiny details – inner and outer – to get there is even more complicated.

And then, how do you know what we’re called to be doing? Nothing feels quite right to me when I imagine it, but maybe that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be doing it – maybe it means that I myself am a little more off-kilter and out of touch with myself lately than I have been in the past. It’s scary, because when I feel out of touch with myself, I feel out of touch with God (and vice versa). No wonder I’ve been feeling lost lately – it’s this spiral of self-doubt, which leads me to doubt God, which leads me to doubt my path in life.

This fall, I’m moving to Seattle, and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that this will be a wonderful experience for me. It’s what comes after that is freaking me out!

I’ve been thinking a lot about ordination lately, and this if course has been a scary thought process. Mostly, I’ve been caught up in feeling like I wouldn’t fit in in seminary because my views are too out of the box (i.e., hippie liberal semi-pagan) for me to be an Episcopal priest. I’ve been caught up in the “shoulds”, but I remember one of my first meetings with my former rector where I brought to him my feelings of what a Christian “should” be like and things that I felt like I “have” to believe in order to be Christian and to feel like I belong, and basically said…nah. You don’t need to believe these things. And I felt the pressure lift on who I felt like I “had” to be and I was able to grow and fit in and not have to compromise myself.

Is seminary like that? It’s easy to think that all priests do the same thing (work in a church) and think the same way – or that there’s like…a standard way of thinking for clergy. I know, logically, there isn’t, but it still feels like that, you know?

So yeah. I have some questions. Maybe there are some literal answers that people are willing to comment down below (esp. about seminary…I’m curious!), but I think a lot of this stuff I’m going to need to discover for myself. To be honest, I don’t feel ready, but I’m not sure ready has anything to do with it.




To say that I’ve been confused and a little bit lost lately is an understatement.

I am super-duper lost and confused and pretty discouraged, if I’m being honest.

I’m having a really hard time picking out God’s voice from all the mental noise and I’m experiencing some…well, not doubt about God, per se, but doubt that what I think I want is what I actually want.

Is there any way to be sure?  (If there is please tell me, for the love of all that’s holy.)

It all started a few months ago – well, truly it was this past year. This year I’ve been doing some pretty heavy thinking on what I want to do with my life and what the next steps might look like for me in terms of grad school. The problem is, I wasn’t sure what I wanted: I thought about a master’s in Anthropology, Social Work, and finally I stumbled upon a Master’s of Divinity.

“It’s three years,” I thought, “and it’s going to cost an arm and a leg.” I put it aside but it still sort of sat there. Also, I wanted to go to grad school abroad – that had been my goal for so many years, so I started looking at graduate programs in the UK. I didn’t want to stay here, and doing a master’s degree that’s sort of faith-based seemed like a risky thing for me because I’m never 100% sure of my inner landscape. What if I started and lost faith partway through, or hated the program?

So, I stuffed it down. I looked into spiritual-type jobs – hospital chaplain, spiritual director, (gulp) priest…I kinda skimmed over all of them. I was in a meeting with my former rector and I mentioned how I had thought about an MDiv, but moved on in the conversation. On my way home that night, I was walking and heard “yeah, why don’t you become a hospital chaplain??” in my head. It was my voice, talking to me…but snarky? And totally, completely out of the blue -it cut across all my usual mental noise. What the fuck? I thought.

But maybe… it was God? I don’t know, I know “hearing voices” isn’t how God often speaks, but hell, I have a hard enough time listening to that still, small voice (or whatever) that I need God to be really, really obvious.

I started researching hospital chaplaincy and reaching out to chaplains. I was told that I don’t need an MDiv, that I do, that I need to be ordained, that I don’t…and I’m over here not only digesting all this information but asking myself how do I know that it’s what I want to do in the first place? 

It seems unfair. Shouldn’t we just know? Picking a new path is hard enough – it often causes us to uproot our lives, turn our entire way of thinking around, give up on dreams we might have had for years and yet, there’s still no certainty at the end of the day? Yikes. Yiiiiiiiiiiiikes.

So, anyway. Here I am, Lord.



On living loudly


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by artsyndrome on Etsy

For those that know me, y’all know I can get pretty loud sometimes. I like to talk when you get the chance to know me, and I obviously like to write and communicate. That being said, I’m actually pretty quiet in how I exist.

I dislike loud noises like door slamming and people yelling.

I dislike confrontation and arguments although I’ll do it if I have to. I often give parts of myself away to other people, especially when I’m in a relationship (this is something I’m working on). I go to protests sometimes, but I often prefer to do education on social justice one-on-one, or behind the scenes through writing or social media.

I dislike drawing attention to myself and my body, or at least I did.

This year, I’m learning how to be loud in both body and spirit. I go swing dancing and often, if not every time, I’m the most plus-sized person there. I’m slowly getting over my fear of rejection when asking people to dance (it’s still terrifying but I’m doing it!). I’m learning that dancing brings me so much joy and that I need to do it every so often to recenter myself.

I continued taking sign language (although I’m currently on a break because of a busy schedule), which is a very physical language. This has forced me to get over some self-consciousness to simply learn how to speak the language.

I wear brightly colored lipstick – today, it’s orange.

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actual picture of my face today

I’ve started thinking ‘what if I didn’t criticize myself 24/7?’ I’ve started taking note of how often I speak badly about myself to myself and what I can do to stop being so self-critical.

And most recently, I decided to move to Seattle from Boston to do a year of service this coming fall before grad school.

Am I scared? Yes, but I don’t feel it yet. Mostly, I feel so excited that I decided to this big scary thing by myself and live in a place that I’m unfamiliar with and immerse myself in what is sure to be a emotionally and spiritually fulfilling year. I wondered what my three years of work experience after college gave me, and my answer is that it gave me all of this. It gave me the adult skills to figure out what I want to do and how to do it, and that I have the independence to make my life my own.

I’m finally ready to stop being scared, I think. I’m ready to be loud in my own quiet, persistent, and stubborn way.

Doing the scary things

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Sometimes I wonder how people hear God. I wonder what it must be like for the people that say they hear God so clearly and have no doubt in their mind about what they’re supposed to do.

I’m not one of those people. To me, God is often muddled and seems far away and I’m still learning how I want to pray and how God speaks to me. Mostly, it’s meant restructuring everything I thought I knew about how exactly to listen to God.

I’ve recently been contemplating the question “what would it be like to live life not being scared?” This is something that’s been gnawing at me for months and months and I wasn’t sure how to respond at first. What does that mean, not being scared? And then I realized that it meant letting my fears of the future get the best of me – what if this happens? What if this doesn’t happen? What if I ultimately fail? And so on. These are fears that have stuck with me for a long time, and they’re not gone, not at all.

Instead, I’m learning to say “screw it” and come back to myself and do things that I consider scary:

I recently applied to the Episcopal Service Corps’ Service year program for the fall. I chose programs in NYC, Seattle, and Boston and as I’m going through the interview process, I’m realizing that my prayer for discernment and for the future was “if I have to do another admin job I’m going to scream”. I’m learning that God has been there all along, within me and without and that when I respond to the feelings I have, the impulses to “just do it”, that’s God working through me.

I re-pierced my nose, and I’m planning on getting a tattoo once I can get a consultation set up.

After writing about how angry I was at realizing that some interactions I had had in the past were assault, the person who assaulted me texted me asking if I was mad at them. After at least a month of ignoring his snapchats and other forms of communication, I was torn because I didn’t know what to do.

I decided to do the scary thing and confront him about what he did – not expecting him to change, but giving younger me the opportunity to express the words she wishes she had when she was 12, and was assaulted then by someone four years older than her. I then blocked him, and I haven’t felt so good in ages.

It pays off to do the scary things, the constructive things, the empowering things. I believe God wants us to challenge ourselves and to take risks that we didn’t think were possible. I now know I’m capable of so much, and I can’t wait to keep finding myself.

Does Satan exist?

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For a long time, I wasn’t sure what to think about the Christian idea of Satan. I definitely didn’t believe in a horned red dude with cloven feet who prowled around stealing babies or whatever, although the classic “image” of Satan is terrifying and enough to traumatize small children for a long time. I was obsessed with paranormal things when I was younger and while I never thought that it was demonic in and of itself I did believe in demons and evil things that could posses people but I was never totally sure in what way they manifested.

When I became Wiccan, I no longer believed in Satan. It’s a bit embarrassing, but I would sit in my bed and say “Ok Satan, if you’re real then come get me” (or something like that – I honestly can’t remember the exact words as it was a while ago now!). For someone who had grown up with the traditional Christian idea of Satan, this is a little embarrassing to recall but it was an essential step for me in the reclaiming of my own personal theology.

Wicca doesn’t believe in a devil or in a satanic figure, despite what some conservative or fundamentalist sources will have you believe. Wicca believes mostly in the balance between light and dark, good and evil, and that what you put out will come back to you three times. Believing this way helped me so much because I learned that it’s not an external force that causes bad things to happen – it’s us. There is good and bad in the world and there always will be, but we need to work to reconcile it in the world and also within ourselves. This idea shaped me a lot: it helped me make sense of the world, and it also helped me come to terms with my anxiety and make peace with some parts of myself that I didn’t want to think about.

When I started going to church again, I took this idea with me and realized that you don’t have to, nor necessarily should you, believe in an actual flesh-and-blood baby stealing Satan (because it probably doesn’t exist). What does exist, though, is poverty, and sex trafficking, and the ACA repeal, and deportation, and mass incarceration, and police brutality.

Guess who didn’t cause those things? A red baby-stealing dude. Guess who did cause those things? We did.

The people who voted for them caused them, and the people who remained apathetic caused them. The people who are so steeped in their own privilege caused them, and I know that Satan exists not as a myth from the Bible, but in the people who vote to defund Planned Parenthood, who exploit workers, those who want to kill gay people in Chechnya, and in those who define rape as a preexisting condition and who will let people die because of their own greed.

Am I being to harsh? Nah, I don’t think so. We have to recognize the evil that exists, right in front of our faces. Demonic activity isn’t so much possession or hauntings as it is people being consumed by greed and power and hatred and warfare.

I believe in the power of good to win. I believe that life is a balance, but not that bad things have to happen so that there’s good (that would be some bullshit right there). And, at the end of the day, I do believe in Satan, but that Satan exists within the forces of the capitalist, patriarchal, fundamentalist system. It exists when we choose to be priests and judges instead of Samaritans. It exists when we refuse to question the world around us and accept things because “that’s the way they are”.

I would love to say that we’ll live in a world where no evil would exist, but I don’t think that’s possible. So for the time being, I’ll keep on radically loving. I’ll keep on fighting and being an activist. I’ll keep resisting.



Finding my worth #reLENTless

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image credit: fiestees

Last Friday, I had a realization, and it wasn’t a good one: I realized that an interaction that had occurred several months ago between a male friend and I was actually a physical assault on me, and when I thought back on it, this wasn’t even the first time he had disrespected my consent and my boundaries.

I had been talking to a friend on the night before and she was telling me about how a guy had physically assaulted her after she refused to bring him up to her room after a date. I realized by her definition, what had transpired between my (now former) friend and I was assault. My stomach dropped as I processed this information. On Friday, I had a breakdown on the bus home.

I was (and still am) so angry. I’m angry that I thought it was normal at the time and that it took months for me to realize otherwise. I’m angry that society conditions women to view men crossing physical boundaries as something that’s “flirty” or “natural”. I’m angry that it happened. And I’m especially PISSED that my boundaries and me saying no isn’t enough to stop someone from physically assaulting me.

I can’t believe, honestly, that I thought it was normal at the time. It’s especially traumatic for me because it mirrors another assault that happened to me at age 12, which left me very fearful for a long time.

When I reached out to female friends of mine, almost all of them had stories of their own assaults (physical and sexual) and how they didn’t realize that it was assault at the time. I guarantee that every woman you know has a story of some kind of assault, be it verbal, physical, sexual, or emotional, and how we’re gaslighted to see it as something that just happens because *throws hands in the air* that’s just how men are.

So. I immediately cut off contact with my “friend”. I deleted my dating apps, because I realized that I don’t want to date at the moment anyway. I decided to start to learn how to belong to myself and me only and not depend on the validation of others.

This realization was a long time coming and when I thought back in my interactions between myself and this person, I saw a pattern not just between him and I but also throughout my life. What I’m not saying is that if I had a better sense of worth or self-esteem that this wouldn’t have happened – that’s not how assault works. What I am saying is that now that I’ve realized a pattern of harmful and wrong male behavior, I can start focusing on myself and caring only about how I live my life. I can finally work to find my own value, rather than waiting for someone else to give it to me.

I’m angry, but I’m ok with that. I’m going to stay angry for now, and I’m going to carry the stories of the women I know with me.