Only 3 Things Matter…

If you follow me on Twitter or Pinterest or have browsed around my brand new Etsy shop, you might have noticed I have a little thing for quotes. Not just random ones, but great quotes made up of just the right words that seem to draw you a picture that you can see perfectly in your mind. Sometimes I’ll be reading and come across a line in a book. Just one sentence nestled in among a hundred other sentences, but it speaks to my heart. I’ll read and reread it over and over, marveling at how the author could have put those words together in just the right way, and how lucky I was to have been able to find them and read them and tuck them away into the corners of my heart.

The other day I was scrolling through Pinterest (probably when I should have been sleeping) and came across a sentence that I stared at for several minutes, letting it just sink in:

“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” Continue reading


My Love Story.

Several years ago, I remember watching my friend come home to a bouquet of flowers from her boyfriend. It was a lovely surprise, all bright and purple. Her smile could not be contained. It lit up the room, illuminating the difference between us. She had someone. I did not. And in one of my most embarrassing moments, I began to cry, in front of her, over a bouquet of flowers that were not mine. Over a love that was not mine. Over something I wanted desperately for myself.

My magic number today is 24. That’s the number of years I’ve been alive. The number of years I’ve been called Cassi. The number of years I’ve been left unkissed. The number of years I’ve gone without hearing a man whisper “I love you” in my ear. The number of years I’ve gone without receiving flowers or chocolates or a love letter. The number of years I’ve been untouched. The number of years I’ve longed for romance, for passion, for a man to see me as a woman.

Twenty-four years without a man. Twenty-four years of loneliness.

As I sit here, I look back and admit there have been times when I haven’t handled my singleness well. Times when I believed myself to be less worthy, less wonderful, less womanly because there was no man in my life to say “I choose you, my love. You’re beautiful.” Because as I looked around, I saw everyone else pairing off, happily and intimately. They were moving into new worlds of love and romance and leaving me forever behind. I watched my friends moving into the worlds of dating, of matrimony, of parenthood, and wondered what was wrong with me. Something must be wrong with me, right? Otherwise, why couldn’t I find a love of my own?

Because if there was something wrong with me, then it could be fixed. It could be undone. It could be changed into something better. I could be something better. Few things in life have ruined me as much as thinking there was something I was without. To look in the mirror and wonder if you’re broken leaves you distraught and empty, feelings of worthlessness swirling around you in a haze. My days seemed dull. My nights felt lonely. My mind was a dark place, filled with what if’s and if only’s and why doesn’t he want me?

I told myself I was unlovable. And for years I believed it. Because one day that was the only thing that made sense, the only thing I could point to and say “well, this is why I’m alone.” Because men didn’t look at me and see the passionate possibilities. I wasn’t the sort of woman to intrigue a man, to make him stop and look twice. I believed I wasn’t beautiful enough or interesting enough or sexy enough. So there had to be something within me that was missing; that special piece that made a man long to chase after you and woo you.

But no – no one chased. No one wooed. No one pursued or loved.

Singleness and Loneliness became my companions. They pitied me and kept me company year after year. I took them with me everywhere I went, living under the shadow of their hulking darkness. They haunted me at every turn. They held me back and made my question myself. They whispered doubt in my ear until my mind was filled with insecurity. They covered me in shame. Somewhere along the way, I had given them power over me. I let them define me and shape me. I allowed their lies to mean something.

I’m ready to give them up now. I’m ready to let go of the lies, of the shame, of the embarrassment I felt by being the third wheel, the table for one, the spinster in the making. Because I can finally look back and see the torture I caused myself as I worried about when, dear God when would I find the One. I can see the silliness in the hours I spent wondering about the right and wrong way to go about finding the right guy, the do’s and don’t’s of love. I can see the pain I caused myself, the unkind manner with which I treated my poor, bruised heart. I can forgive myself for it now. I can take a breath and shake my head at how badly I approached the whole thing.

And I was right – I was missing something. But I wasn’t missing a man or romance or true love. That wasn’t what I truly needed.

I didn’t need to hear a man to say “I love you.” I needed to hear those words from myself. I needed to feel the love from my heart directed back at my soul. I needed to know, deep down, regardless of my relationship status, my place in life, my prospects or opportunities, I am loved. I am worthy. I am lovely and beautiful. And I am enough just as I am. I am whole. I’m not broken or missing some secret piece. I am exactly who I am supposed to be at this precise moment in my life.

Because if I can’t love myself, how can I believe anyone else could love me?

I’m ready to love, I think. I’m ready to be swept away. I believe I am meant to love deeply and fiercely with all that I am. There is room in my heart for a great love story, and strength in my soul to fight for it. I wouldn’t mind a messy love, a love that was sometimes hard. I would cherish it with all that I am, because I know what the emptiness is like. That’s the beauty of having gone twenty-four years without a hint of love – I know what it means to be without. So I can look forward and treasure every ounce of love I am allowed. I can enjoy love for what it is, rather than everything I wish it could be.

Who knows? Maybe next year, 25 will be my lucky number.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.

Gentleman (perhaps not) needed.

To my future husband,

Hello, my darling. I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately with the holidays drawing near. I see my sisters with their significant others, and I crave that for myself, just once. I have no reason to doubt it will happen and yet I do. I feel as if with each passing year I fall farther away from you.

Some days, I don’t believe you exist. Most days, I know you don’t, deep down in the most secret and empty part of my heart – the part you’re meant to fill.

Because you are meant to fill me, are you not? You are meant to complete me. You are the reason I was born, my reason for existing. You are my other, better half. Why can I not find you? Why am I so alone?

I wonder if you think of me, consider me, dream of me. I wonder if you imagine what I will be like – what I will look like; what my laugh will sound like. Do you wish you knew me now, at this moment? Do you wish we were together? Are you lonely? Or are you unready to be with me?

I’m not ready for you.
I fear I never will be.

I’m beginning to believe that perhaps you aren’t meant for me, that I’m not meant to have you or know you. Perhaps my world is to be my own – unshared and untogether.

Perhaps you aren’t mine.
Perhaps you never were.

And where does that leave me, then? Incomplete? Less? Unfinished? How am I to go on alone when I’ve forever been told I’m to wait for you – a man who can’t possibly exist. What’s left for me without you?

Who am I?

How did I get to this place, needing you more than anything else in this world? When did I become so enamored with knowing you that I ceased to know myself? I am so lost. I’ve trailed after you only to find myself amidst the darkness, a chill piercing my heart. I cannot find you, nor can I find myself. I lost myself in you, even though you are not here.

I am stronger than this.
I am better than this.
I am worth more that the empty darkness I’ve fallen into.

You cannot make me whole.
You cannot complete me.
You cannot save me from myself.

You never will.

And that’s okay, I think. Because though I would love to be with you, near you, I‘m afraid of what I would become were I to find you now, in this moment. I would ask too much of you, make you into a hero you could never be. It’s time I was my own hero. It’s time I moved on without you always haunting the corner of my mind.

It’s time I let you go.

Because I am allowed to save myself. I’m allowed to be on my own. I’m allowed to go forward even if you aren’t by my side. My life doesn’t have to pause because of your absence. I’ve used you as an excuse, a reason to put my life on hold. When I find him, I tell myself, then I can begin. I’d like to think you’d want better for me than I’ve wanted for myself. You’d want me to be happy.

I’d like to be happy, I think.
It’s been far too long.

So while part of me will perhaps always carry a small hope that I’ll find you, I’m going to start hoping for other things. For happiness, for change, for strength, for new friends in new places, for opportunities, for a life I can be in love with. I’m going to live for me instead of merely waiting for you. I’m going to become the woman God intended for me to be.

Even if that means living without you.
It’s time I learned how to love myself.

Yours always,

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.

moving on

About a year ago, I wrote the “poem” posted earlier. (I have poem in quotation marks, because poetry and I do not always get along, so my efforts aren’t really worth the name.) I believe that was the lowest point I have ever been in, the worst I have ever left, the loneliest I’ve ever been. I was so hollow that some days I wasn’t entirely sure if I was really there. I didn’t feel as if I was living, merely existing.

That was also the furthest from God I have ever been. And it was a choice I had made intentionally. I had drawn away from Him, not disbelieving, but not having faith. It was a horrid tug of war on my heart between my intuition and my reason. It was draining me slowly. I was pushing away the only thing with the power to bring me back. I was yearning for love that only He could give, but I turned my back to him. I ignored Him, and was so frustrated with the emptiness I felt.

I wrote the poem at the end of my year in Vegas (where I had moved for grad school). A few weeks after I wrote it, I moved back home to Washington. That place had turned me inside out and left me raw, and I needed to leave. I needed somewhere different. I needed a fresh start.

We often find ourselves in places we hate, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. We end up somewhere we hadn’t intended, but we don’t move on. We don’t make a change. We become complacent. We allow ourselves to wallow in our inability to move. The longer we stay, the worse we feel. Those feelings of frustration, confusion, hollowness become a part of us. They enter into our hearts and souls and take up space. They push out the good memories and the things we love, and we let them in our complacency. We welcome any feeling, because that is better than nothing.

I love to be by myself. Growing up in a large family of loud women has done this to me. I want my space, some peace and quiet. Some days, I need it. Too much interaction with people can be tiring, so I need to recharge and the silence gives me that. But some days, that silence is oppressive. The alone-ness is too much, and I want someone to come and take my hand, pulling me away from myself. Sometimes, I can pull myself out of it. On other days, I simply can’t be bothered.

By the end of my time in Vegas, I couldn’t be bothered and there wasn’t anyone around who really cared. I allowed myself to wallow for a time in that self-pity. I felt bad for myself, my situation. I cried in both sadness and anger, but mostly frustration. Even at that moment, I didn’t ask God for comfort. I didn’t let Him in.

But I made a change. I saw how destructive my behavior had become, how useless my actions were. I cannot imagine where I would be now, if I hadn’t left. I wouldn’t be working on my relationship with God, and I wouldn’t be in a place where I can actually say that I am content (not completely happy, but content nonetheless). I was able to pull myself out. I brought myself to place where I saw how desperately I needed God and am now in a place where I feel like I can seek Him without being mocked for it. I can have my beliefs, my faith, my relationship with Him without worrying about anyone else.

We need to take the initiative in making the changes in our life. We need to take those first steps. We need to ask for help. We need to admit that we need something different. If we do nothing, if we cannot take responsibility, then nothing will change and nothing will get better. And everything can always get better. The sadness does not have to live within you always. God will take it away and replace it with something else. But we need to make the first move. We need to dare to want something better. We need to want it.