August 31, 2017

oh august

You were the month I wasn't sure I could handle. We got off to kind of a rocky beginning, but I cannot thank you enough for the burst of creative inspiration the last few weeks. Two more skiens of yarn and I will have another knit blanket for my collection. Today the mailman brought me some pretty paper I ordered and I'm excited to play with it and share soon. I'm rewatching Grey's again because I forgot how good the first seasons were. 

August, thank you for the magic. See you next year. 

August 27, 2017

August 25, 2017

dear justin,

Babe. Can you believe we've been together for FIVE WHOLE YEARS?! I have spent 1/5 of my life with you. Through some of our rougher patches, you have said in anger that you wished you hadn't set the age bar so low on your eHarmony profile. When we met, I was 20 and you were 25. I was an all caps MESS when we met. I was chasing after people that weren't mine to chase. I was being reckless and stupid in the name of "being young" and "trying to have some fun." Every bad, reckless decision in my life has led me to you. You rescued me from those demons that popped up while we were busy falling in love. I cannot thank you enough for that, Justin. 

Thank you for seeing me, really seeing me, and recognizing that I was worth something in a time when I felt so broken and defenseless.

Thank you for choosing me. There were a few days when we first started talking when I would go radio silent and stop responding to your emails. I was tying up loose ends. Kissing boys that I wasn't meant to kiss. Making absolutely sure you were the right choice. (Obviously, here we are now and DUH—you're so The One, babe.) But I questioned every single decision I made back then, so much so that I usually deferred the actual decision making process to someone else entirely. The butterflies you put in my stomach, though, every time I saw an email from you in my inbox, every time I saw your name in my online Skype contacts, every time you messaged me with a simple "hi"—they were everything.

You have lay witness to my transformation from "broken, fresh off an abusive relationship and a half fragile girl" to the person I am today. You have taught me so many lessons along the way about being a mature, responsible adult. About being a good person. About having compassion for other people, empathy, and the importance of honesty. You have taught me important life lessons about commitment. There have been times when I wanted to throw in the towel and you have always grabbed my hand, looked me in the eyes, and begged me to believe in us again. Believe in our love and how strong we can be together.

You have helped me to believe in the soft parts of me again. You have helped me see the strength in vulnerability. Not only in recognizing it and naming it, but also in sharing it with other people. Nothing makes me feel closer to you than when we talk about what's bugging us. The crazy dreams turned into nightmares. The grief on both of our ends in the last two years. All of the bad shit that has happened in the last five years has only brought us closer together. 

A few weeks ago, before I went to bed, I looked at you and said, "Thank you for being my family."

You smiled at me and said, "You're welcome" and went back to getting ready for bed yourself.

You are my family. I have one parent left. My only "siblings" are my best friends. You are the one I talk to every day. You are the one I kiss goodnight before bed. You are the shoulder I cry on and the one who makes me laugh the hardest when I am trying to be mad at you. You are the one who has heard all my ugly, seen all of my darkness, and for some reason unknown to me, you choose to love me anyway.

You're the one, babe. You're kinda stuck with me at this point. I have been thinking more and more lately about our wedding. About marriage in general. About how much I can't wait to literally and legally become your family. After about a million setbacks—I lost my ring and your teeth have to come out and we need to get our finances in order before we can get married—after ALL THAT, I am still so excited for our future together. The light at the end of this very long tunnel is small, but I can see it. I can't wait to tackle all the hard, scary things that forever brings with you.

And all of the big, scary things we have already conquered? They have made us stronger together than we could ever be apart.

I am the detail person in our relationship. I make sure all the I's are dotted and all the T's are crossed. You are the big picture. You pull dreams down for us to achieve together, side by side. Without you, I would have a harder time coming up with those big lofty goals disguised as dreams to work towards. 

Let's keep chasing our dreams together forever, okay?

I love you, babe.

xo, Anna

August 22, 2017

burlington trip

Last month sometime, Melissa and Starr and I planned this roadtrip to Burlington. It was my death day adventure. Our only goal was to get Adrian's. They wanted to try it because I talk about it so much... ha! Highlights included so much coffee I started shaking, listening to All Time Low, Fall Out Boy and The Pussycat Dolls the entire day, "We're in a minivan full of vaginas!", shitty McDonald's McGriddles, a stop to meet my fam, a jaunt through the old fish hatchery before we sugared up at Adrian's. Bryce stopped and met up with us at Adrian's before we went to Next Door Pub in Lake Geneva for pizza. (The 45 minute wait was totally worth the pizza.) And then we got to see Noelle! I got to spend an hour with my best friend in whole entire world and spent the rest of the day with all of my favorite people.

Honestly, the best way to mark the first anniversary of a bad event in your life is to DO SOMETHING FUN. The distractions you create to occupy yourself can either fill you up or drain you and I'm so happy I went with my gut to do something fun this year.

Padre, I miss you.

Momma, thank you for the open door (and for not embarrassing me in front of my friends).

Melissa and Starr, thank you for road tripping with me and letting me show you where I grew up.

Noelle and Bryce, thank you for sticking with my dumbass since high school.

Burlington, I'll be back soon. Promise.

August 16, 2017

three hundred sixty five days

Some words I wrote on Instagram this morning: "You can ask someone to take a chance on you all you want, but you cannot control whether or not other people have the courage to step up to the plate for you. You can control the chances you take on other people. Show up for your people today. I bet they need you more than you think." 

Tomorrow is death day. I can't believe my dad has gone for an entire year. My Waupaca friends and I are road tripping to Burlington tomorrow. Best of both worlds: they get to meet my fam & friends they've heard so much about, we get to go to Adrian's (the entire reason for this road trip), and I get to mesh my two worlds together. I'm hoping tomorrow will be full of laughter and good things. 

August 13, 2017

take two

I sat on the front stoop to drink my coffee this morning. I stood in front of Tammy's petunia's hanging over the porch railing and tried to make some artsy composition with my coffee cup. Scratch that. I sat on the stoop, drinking my coffee, waiting and looking for something to take my picture of this morning. I came back to the petunias after I finished my coffee, but this time I went the opposite direction. From my perch on the stoop, I lined up the shot, pressed the button, and went back inside. When I pulled up the photo to edit it, I saw the focus was off. It bugged me so much that I went back outside to retake it.

When I showed it to Justin, he said, "You always find beauty in plain sight."

I'm trying to focus on the little things today. Celebrate the little victories. Breathe through the hard things. Remember that the only person you need permission to be happy from is yourself. Most of the time, you are often standing in your own way.

Happy Sunday.

August 10, 2017

little lessons

  1. The stuff that scares you will always offer the most growth in the end.
  2. Coffee and solitude and morning sunlight helps with writer's block.
  3. Bouncing ideas off of your friends and hearing their feedback is beneficial, no matter what you're working on.
  4. 1200 words is a lot to write in an hour of manic, frenzied typing.
  5. Days off are for doing what you love.

August 09, 2017

this is life.

Wednesday mornings are for selfies because I refreshed the pink in my hair last night. They're for a good cup of coffee with a side of sunshine on the deck. They're for listening to the new Coffee with Chrachel episode. They're for working on a new knitting project while contemplating what to do when I run out of this skein of yarn. They're for moments of quiet, trying to breathe through the sadness that's looming on the horizon. Next week is a big week. Bring on the growing pains.

August 06, 2017

five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes

*cue music from Rent and me turning into a big sobbing MESS.

I am in the stage of my grief/depression where I am a) doing weird shit to my hair,  b) watching musicals, and c) processing things rather than writing about them. Tuesday night, I sought out companionship and brought some pink hair dye along for the ride. Sitting in my friend Melissa's bathroom, the beginning of a closer connection between us started to string together as she patted bright pink conditioner into the ends of my hair. We started talking about exes and a few of my crazies slipped out.

Last summer, the boy that ruined my life anonymously dropped an explicit message in my tumblr inbox, and from there life spiraled downward until I lost my dad. It was my rock bottom that all started with a stupid message on the internet. I have finally been able to process all the fucked upery that was happening in 2012 before I met Justin, which all started with this boy. All sorts of chaos that I brought upon myself. Yeah, some of my mistakes make for pretty good stories now... but some I would prefer never to relive.

The memory of a boy smiling while he's telling you how much he wants to brand you like cattle is a pretty hard one to forget. 

That same boy telling you how much one of his darkest fantasies is to go camping on the woods with you, rape you, and then leave you out there for a couple of days and maybe come back for you. That one is permanently etched into my brain too. 

Someone that loves you would never do those kinds of horrible things to you. They would never physically harm you for their own sick pleasure. They would never ask you for half of your paycheck every single week. They would never make you choose them over your passions in life. They would never dream of putting your personal safety at risk in such an on purpose, life threatening way. 

It's been five years since the most chaotic parts of the mess we created, and I'm still too scared to write about it fully. I'm afraid to expose the darker parts of my soul. I'm afraid to even put pen to paper because I'm terrified of the demons that lay in waiting. I'm afraid to admit my heartbreak and brokenness that resulted from that period in my life. I'm afraid to question my own behaviors, my own values and upbringing and wonder, "Where did I go wrong?"

Looking your own decisions, right and wrong, square in the face and saying, "Oh yeah, that hurt." kinda sucks no matter how much distance, in years or miles, you put between you and them. 

August 04, 2017

...and all of sudden it's friday.

Mum is the word from me, apparently. Sorry, Blogland. 

August always seems to be a month of processing for me. I'm thinking about being brave. I'm trying to branch out and do new things and actually spend time with people. 

So I guess what I mean to say is... I'm DOING FUN THINGS and then I need about a week to recouperate before going and doing the next fun thing. But I am writing, I can assure you of that. I just need to find the courage to publish.