On being the “new girl”

Hey, Love… No one ever said it was going to be easy.

*A note to begin: I wasn’t sure that I was going to make this post public. In fact, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to. But then, after I sent it out in my newsletter to family and friends, I got this gut feeling almost immediately that there was something special inside it. Something that just might help the next girl who’s afraid to pack up and drop everything for something new and different and scary and exciting. So I hit publish. And I’m not going to lie and say it was easy. I’m still terrified to say most of these things out loud. But that’s the double-edged sword of being a writer. You get the privilege to share your heart and change lives and impact people, but you also feel like (and I don’t know where this comes from, but I’m convinced it’s because I’ve been a writer for most of my life) you just have to tell the truth. Because people start expecting you to be honest about the hard stuff. And that’s awesome and terrifying and wonderful and heartbreaking all at the same time. But it’s also just. plain. beautiful. So here, goes. Here’s the hard stuff.*

So let me preface by saying I broke a promise to you. I told you I’d write. I told you the second I stepped off the plane, I’d start sharing the things that were making my heart do somersaults and my head spin like crazy. I told you I’d tell you about the beautiful things. The new discoveries, the grand adventures, the times I’d have to pinch myself just as a reminder that this was real life. I promised to share the hard stuff, too. The nights I sat on my couch and cried because it was all I wanted just to be invited somewhere on a Saturday night. The times the phone didn’t ring and the texts didn’t come in, and life all of the sudden felt like it came to a screeching halt. I told you I’d tell you about it all.

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I was even a little bit sure I could turn it into a decent idea for a book, maybe. Help other people realize that cities and places and people don’t define you. That you really can pick up and move and redirect your entire life, and come out okay in the end. But most of all, I was sure I’d write. Even if just in my own little journal, I was sure I’d have more than enough to tell you.

But here’s the thing.

I had friends tell me it was going to be hard. It was going to be lonely. That yes, they knew I was strong, but that I’d have to give myself grace for a little while. It would take some time. And while I sat there and shook my head in agreement, I don’t know if I really let that reality sink in all that deeply. The voices told me, “You’re strong, social, outgoing, you’ll be fine. You’ll have a group of friends and community and a social calendar in no time.”

And the problem with that?

Reality hit me hard.

And I discovered that yes, while I am strong, I’m also human. And it’s hard to feel alone. It’s hard to come home to an empty apartment with an entire evening planned with no one but yourself. And cable (which, by the way, is moderately life-changing, but also intensifies that “do I really have nothing better to do” feeling). It’s hard when someone asks you what you have planned for the weekend, and all you can say is, “not much.” While you wish, with everything you have, that you had “things to do” and “people to see.”

And so I don’t think I was ready to write for a while. In the frenzy of the first few weeks, when everything was new, I was busy and preoccupied with moving boxes and texts and calls from friends back home asking how everything was going. I was distracted with road trips and Target and Ikea shopping sprees and visits from family and adventures to new places. So it was all good. And exciting. But I just didn’t have the right words to tell you just how major this is. Just how life-changing it might be.

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But then, last week, the dust started the settle. I hit my “month-aversary” and realized (maybe for the first time) that this isn’t just temporary. I’m not on vacation. As much as it may feel like it (and believe me, when you have a pool for the first time in your life, it surely does), it’s for real. And it’s hard. And it’s going to be hard for a while. And you’re going to feel like the new girl (which is fun, for a short time), but that’s going to be hard, too. And it’s going to be hard to feel like you don’t know anything, or that you’re not first on people’s plan-making list. And you’re going to miss New York. Like crazy. Girl, you’re going to miss it. Your heart is going to ache to be with those people again. But all you can do is just let yourself miss it. And grieve it for a while. And while I know you don’t love to be the girl who cries at church, that might just be you for a few weeks. And that’s ok.

I’m not saying it’s all been hard. This past month, I’ve been to the tops of mountains and made new friends and driven my Jeep deep, deep into the Rockies and through Breckenridge. It’s a beautiful thing to wake up and feel like you have extra time in the morning, an entire evening at night. To really be able to feel the hours in a day, not just rush through them. To look forward to work in the morning, because you know someone will stop by and ask you how you’re doing. No, not your work. You. How are you, really? It’s a beautiful thing to be behind the wheel again, to feel the Colorado sunshine (sans humidity) on your face, to sit with a glass of wine on your patio and watch the sunset over the city. Those are all the beautiful things.

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But they almost make the hard things that much harder.

And so, before the thoughts and emotions drove my head and my heart crazy, I knew deep inside I needed to tell you that I get it now. I do. I get it and accept that this year is going to be a tough one. And while I’m not the best at giving myself grace, or accepting the grace and love of others, I’m going to work on that.

And I think the Lord is pressing pretty clearly into my heart, and whispering,

“I’m the one who’s going to fill the loneliness, I’m the one who’s going to make you feel worthy. Loved. That’s me. Not some city, not some new crush of yours, not a new job. That’s me. So just trust me. And lean in close. And let me wrap my arms around you. Because I’m here, I promise. I see you. If I could call you up on a Saturday night just to chat, I would. In fact, let’s do that. Give me a call. I’m on your speed dial these days anyway.

No one ever said it was going to be easy. In fact, most people said it’d be really, really hard. And that while you’d enjoy yourself, there would also be those nights where you’d scroll through Instagram and wonder what you were thinking when you said yes that day. There would also be those times where you’d drive through fields full of tumbleweed, in the middle of nowhere, and laugh just thinking about how different this is. Than anything you’ve ever known. There would be that time where you’d trip over pavement because a family of deer was posted up on your running trail. And you’d fall and shatter the screen on your phone because you were just that shocked. (Yep, that happened).

But here’s something a good friend of mine told me the other day. (Have I ever told you how important people are? People are everything, y’all. And this person, she’s pretty wonderful.) You may feel lonely, love. But you’re never, never alone. And you may just have to realize that God’s plan for you is a little different than what you thought it was a year ago. And that’s ok. And it’s ok to cry and let yourself be sad and angry. Because your emotions are valid, and true. But just remember that God didn’t forget you. He sees you. And he hears you. And he’s jumping up and down and cheering you on and leading you and preparing you for a life more wonderful than you could ever even imagine. And no new job, new city, new boy, new friend group is going to fill that hole in your heart that you so desperately want to fill. Because Jesus already filled it. Don’t you realize that? And he thinks you’re pretty wonderful and brave and worthy just as you are. Jesus just might be up to something pretty beautiful in your heart, love. He might be breaking down more walls than you thought possible, teaching you about love from an angle you’ve never seen before. Given you the time and space to feel, to question, and to be honest with yourself.

Time to remember what it feels like to love yourself like so many others do.

Time to be brave and strong and vulnerable and real.

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Yep, He’s definitely up to something pretty incredible.

But until you know exactly what that is, just rest. And find your peace and comfort in me. And the people who love you. And the ones who will always pick up the phone when you call. No matter where you are or what you’re doing. Lean on those people.

xoxo

Meg