Hold All Things Loosely - Except Balloons

17th March 2017

Today is the day I turn 26. I love birthdays, always have, always will. I pray I will never become one of those women, ashamed to share her age, or rally people to celebrate her life on the day God inspired life and breath to her lungs.

Birthdays are fresh starts, and sentimental conclusions all wrapped up into one neat, confetti spattered package. Year 25 was an incredible year for me, difficult and beautiful. Here are the highlights of my past 12 months:

  • I was given two beautiful new nephews
  • I ran my first marathon
  • I went sky diving
  • I paid off all my student loans in 9 months (22k y’all – yes I’m super proud of this one)
  • I took 4 vacations (self-care is accomplishment)
  • I bought my professional series DSLR camera – shoult out to Ebenezer II
  • I invested in my creative self
  • I expanded my portfolio to include birth photography (such an amazing experience)
  • I ran a Tough Mudder Half
  • I experienced complete healing and “getting-over” of someone I thought was the love of my life
  • I made new friends and learned to better invest in old friends
  • I read SO so many books
  • I experienced two heavy seasons of grief: one – pertaining to a fallen hero, the second – a lost blessing
  • I collecting 13 albums on Vinyl
  • and last but not least – I restored this website from its malware hacked mess to the work in progress you see here. 😉

If I had to pick a word that described my last year, disastrous beauty that it was, I would choose “CONTROL”

This word is my closest friend and arch nemesis, she aids me, then trips me up; empowers me, and leaves me huddled up in a sobbing weak mess.

It is because of “Queen Control” that I was able to train for a marathon, even though I’m not a runner. And it was because of “Darling C” that I worked 60 hour weeks between two (and a half) jobs to pay off my debts and pay towards my adventures. I needed to control my development – my healing – my accomplishments – my definition in your eyes. I wanted to be seen as healthy, whole, accomplished, and creative to boot!

But because of this idol I made of control, I also continued to “fail” and disappoint myself (the self who was making the control rules! Isn’t it ironic, Alanis? Tell me, honestly)

Anytime I chose to hit the snooze button instead of waking up for my yoga practice, the rest of my day was clouded in a web of self-perpetuating guilt (“might as well use the sweet creamer in your coffee because you already started the day with unhealthy choices” “Might as well not even go to the Sunday services, because you can’t make the time for their Wednesday night community groups…etc.” Ugly, cruel, control-burdened self-talk. This really needs to stop, and I’m working on it.

The grief and the joys I lived through this past year have expanded my understanding of control. I’m learning to trust people cautiously with extra portions of grace, I’m trying to have realistic expectations, and give righteous love not expecting anything in return. I’m wanting to live fearless and unashamedly. And I’m learning to hold things loosely – because He gives and GIVES and takes away. We don’t get to control what happens and sometimes we don’t get to work just hard enough to make our dreams come true – what we DO get is the opportunity to be stewards of Gods plan, keepers of His gifts bestowed.

This photo shoot is a prime example : I was hoping for something along the lines of *Miss Dior ads circa 2009* pretty dress, bright colors, whimsy, maybe red lipstick and a vintage donut shop. Instead, it was the first March thunderstorm Minneapolis had experienced in years. Tornadoes were brewing three counties over, and sunset was quickly approaching. I tried to control what I could, but instead was given, rain, crazy wind, tangled hair, and a cameraman with and empty stomach.

But to be honest, I really love these photos, I think they perfectly define my life and my last year. They’re a little messy and yet charming. They are real and silly and show you insight into how my glamorous oh-so-classy imagination can’t quite seem to relay its information to my fumbling narrative voice.

Life is messy and chaotic and very often completely uncontrollable, and I want to embrace that. I want 26 to be the year that I have dreams, but hold them loosely, aware that what I want (and what “Queen Control” expects) may not be what I need. May not even be my unheard hearts desire. I want to love fully, laugh at wind-frothed disappointments, and see the big picture. Cheers to 26!

Thanks for your honor and grace. x Lael