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The world isn’t about you, and love still wins.


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The post went viral.

Months after it had been written, a short and fun post I wrote about women, and gossip, and nude pumps, and leggings went viral. And it spiraled into the hands of people I could have never imagined. It may very well be the most popular thing I will ever write.

It was a post I didn’t think much of when I was writing it. It was an assessment of the funny & brave & integral lessons I have learned in my short 25 years of digging heels into this earthy soil. I didn’t claim to be an expert. I’m not a scholar in womanhood. I didn’t even proofread it, really. I just never thought thousands would digest it, and pass it on, and criticize it, and get their tears and snots all over it.

I have real control over the things I say and the messages I put out there in the world. A post gone viral has taught me that. Once you put it out there, once you release it from your hands, the control is gone. People get to take it and make it into anything they want it to be. It can be a ballad. A love song. A reason to get up every morning. A final goodbye. It could be so much to someone else.

Make sure you know what you are saying. I want to tell myself that daily. Make sure you are intentional when it comes out of you. Try your hardest to not want to take things back when you release them.

In the deep of me, I believe a lot of those things I wrote in that post. In the deep of me, I want to erase 23 of those things and just focus on one or two. Honestly, I could say something that would reach the world, it would never touch on nude pumps or tuna and barbecue sauce or leggings as pants. That’s not my heart. That’s not what I truly care about.

If I could say anything, it would be just this:

This world isn’t about you, and love still wins.

That’s it. Maybe that’s all.

The world revolves around none of us and reminding yourself of that on a daily basis feels a lot like freedom. And love wins. Over and over again. No matter how much we try to say that something else matters more than it, love still wins. We still want it most. She’s still the prom queen. She’s still the thing that keeps this broken world spinning. Somehow, somehow, she does.

I feel like I am drowning sometimes.

Drowning in a place where everyone wants to size you up and call you worthy based on the platform you have or the “likes” you gather in. Drowning because the world only teaches me to fix myself instead of saying quietly into the softer parts of me, “You’re whole. You’re not missing a thing.”

I struggle in a world that tells me the goal is to be known. To have a platform and a following, though I am not sure why.

If I am known, I want it to be because I solved problems. If I have a platform, I only want it to be because I opened my mouth to actually say something that added substance to the conversation.

And followers? They are a complete mystery to me. Followers don’t change the fact that you fail people. Or let people down. Or regret people. Followers don’t mean you’re not still the regret of someone else. They wash away quickly. They don’t show up for you at 2am. Don’t get so crazy about them. Don’t think you are so important. Just do something that is follow-worthy. Keep the focus on others. Make people think. Think more on your own actions. Above all, be who you say you are. Convince others that they are capable of things.

That’s powerful.

I’d follow that.

We’re trained to believe it is about us though. Me & Me & Me.

The culture we live in right now is a cheap party host. She’s not feeding us right. She’s giving us plates and plates of marshmallows and chocolate chips and Twizzlers and all these goodies that feel good & right & sweet for about 5 minutes. And then we are hungry again. And we want something more. And we crave substance. But it’s just more and more garbage that never grows us stronger or makes us better or opens our eyes up to the fact that a lot of things we focus on are petty & stupid & not worth the time.

But if you look her in the eye, and if you ask her why she feeds us this, she will tell you straight, “You asked for this. This was what you asked for. This is what you choose to shovel into your mouths and I am just showing up with the platters.”

I can say the culture is a mess but I am still listening to it. I am still in the thick of it. I am still attending the party. On a daily basis, I am forgetting the people I could be calling “brother” because I want a latte in a red cup, and I want to be skinnier, and I want to meet someone, and I want my business to thrive, and I want my writing to be good. And you might have just passed me on the street and I didn’t look up. I am sorry but I didn’t look up to give you something you deserved this entire time. My attention. I’m trying to be better. It’s a daily kind of thing.

We say we want more than this. And yet we care so darn much about the latest gossip from celebrities who will never touch us, or know us, or feed us, or kiss us, or care to ask us how we are doing. And we are angry over trivial things. And we give up on one another too easily.

It’s like that old computer game. Minesweeper? Was that it? Where it was only just a matter of time before you clicked and caused an explosion. That’s the world we live in today. Setting one another off. Good ways. Bad ways. Irreparable ways. Damaging one another and walking away.  There’s something wrong with that. We should focus more on remedying that than on lip gloss, or party favors, or what we are hoping he brings through the door this holiday season.

We say we want to be better than this.

We want to be good humans. We want to master this “randoms acts of kindness” thing. Kindness should drive you insane. It should hurt you deep because it’s hard to love people constantly. It should make you want to grit your teeth. You should sign up for those kinds of feelings every, every day. Kindness shouldn’t be the thing we turn on and off like a lamp switch or check off a list when we’ve helped some elderly woman across the road. Kindness is just Love without makeup. It’s just the basics. It’s just the starting point. It’s not some cute little word that implies love letters and babies giggling. It’s absolutely everything in a world that is starving for more of it.

To think we should only sprinkle love upon the worthy & on the ones who cross our paths & when it is comfortable and convenient for us is weak thinking. Love is the kind of thing that screams in your face, “Plaster me everywhere. Smear me on everyone. Cake me thick in your conversations. Don’t stray. Let me push you to meet the neighbors I have placed absolutely everywhere for you.”

“Make me famous,” Love would say. “Make me absolutely famous.”

There is a reason you are sitting up at midnight, eyes red & puffy, watching videos of humans being good to one another. Watching proposals that show a kind of love that can be enviable and extreme. Bursting at the seams.

You want it too. No matter how many times we twist and morph that word into something that gets flung around and pushed out and falsified and changed for the sake of cheap commercialism, you want it. You want to believe it is still out there.

You want someone to show up for you. Man. Woman. Friend. Lover. We might all need to learn how to take care of that delicate thing better. So it doesn’t break so often. So we don’t devalue you with our careless human hands. You might need to change things. You might need to grow more. Know your weaknesses and resolve to be better. Get help. Tell someone. But don’t go another day thinking you can’t have it. Or that you can’t give it away.

I want that kind of love. The kind of love that is awkward and uncomfortable. And it makes something inside of you want to explode. And it isn’t always pretty but it promises to make you feel alive. I want it. In friendships. In family. In relationships. All of it.

I don’t want the followers. I don’t need a grand proposal. I don’t really want the marshmallows anymore either. I just want that feeling. The kind that makes the tiniest hairs on your forearms stand up because you never knew you could mean that much to someone else.

I just want to hear someone stand in the doorway, or the hallway, or the bookstore, or the street, and say, “You showed up. I didn’t think anyone was coming but you showed up.”

You showed up. I didn’t think anyone was coming but you showed up.

That would be enough for me.

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22 thoughts on “The world isn’t about you, and love still wins.

  1. Melissa Boles says:

    I absolutely love this. I have been in this same feeling for the last few days – this ache for love, just wanting love, and this was the reminder that I needed that sharing that love, being that love, is just as important as receiving that love. Honestly, Hannah, this is just gorgeous.

  2. This is brilliant! Been pushing away the want for love, pretending that I don’t need it, but I realize I do. Reading this was comforting. Thank you for sharing this Hannah! 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on Grateful Gabbing and commented:
    Followers don’t change the fact that you fail people. Or let people down. Or regret people. Followers don’t mean you’re not still the regret of someone else. They wash away quickly. They don’t show up for you at 2am. Don’t get so crazy about them. Don’t think you are so important. Just do something that is follow-worthy. Keep the focus on others. Make people think. Think more on your own actions. Above all, be who you say you are. Convince others that they are capable of things…

  4. And sometimes, it’s not always about the feeling. Certain stops in our lives require that we simply show up— knuckle & bone, whether the butterflies show up with us or not. That is the place where substance begins. Because even feelings can be an illusive extension of a world that needs to re-learn the basics of kindness, of balance, of love.

  5. I love this post. And it’s the one of main reasons I started my blog. Too often we’re told that human is not enough. And too often I have supported that belief in myself and others, mostly by not speaking up when I could. Thank you for writing so beautifully about the struggle and beauty of our human condition.

  6. csoldato says:

    ….when we watch the suffering going on all around us in this world (war torn countries, people devastated by weather events, etc) the world cannot possibly be about just me…

    Sent from my iPhone

  7. You write like an Elderwoman of my tribe, wise beyond your years, saying what it took me over 70 years to fully realize…and now I am hopeful there are still women of wisdom who will be here long after I and my tribe have returned to the source of all that is. Namaste….

  8. Thank you for this. I honestly have never read anything that you have written before. So much from this resonated with me. I am not sure that it is relevant to share it all, except that this writing did spark unique thoughts in myself about my life. I think that is about the best you can do as a writer. So again I say thanks, and keep on thinking, writing and sharing.

  9. Kindness repeats. While I was recently horizontal with vertigo, a new friend offered to come over and bring me some food. I was blown away by this simple kindness. Now that I can move without the world spinning, it makes me want to bring food to someone else. Thanks for this lovely post.

  10. You wrote that the culture is not feeding us right, and we come back for something satisfying, “But it’s just more and more garbage that never grows us stronger or makes us better or opens our eyes up to the fact that a lot of things we focus on are petty & stupid & not worth the time.” Well, that’s one thing YOU never need worry about: EVERYTHING I have read on your site is moving, helpful, and pushes me to grow, to change. Your words make me uncomfortable with my ability to accept the status quo. Thank you, THANK you, THANK YOU for that.

    And you couldn’t be more right – LOVE really does WIN. 🙂 This is one of my absolute certainties. That I might find a way to participate in that victory (by showing up) I take as your challenge and my hope.

  11. God is love. I know you’ll probably think I’m just another “religious nut” spamming bible verses, but this really does reflect the truth I believe in with my whole heart. The love you talk about and crave-the love we all crave-can only be found in its source. God is love, and love is God, and He is as hungry for you as you are for Him. “Plaster me everywhere. Smear me on everyone. Cake me thick in your conversations. Don’t stray. Let me push you to meet the neighbors I have placed absolutely everywhere for you.” Sadly of late, we’ve made Him infamous with lies and hypocrisy. Make Him famous for what He is. For love.

  12. Thank you so much for writing this article. It takes alot to be able to express on a world stage. Alot of people would disagree and say “oh it’s nothing”, but underneath all of that people are thinking about spelling errors, sounding right, and making sure people understand the message. I totally agree with the feeling of being fed junk. Not because people do not care about other people, it’s because sometimes people are incapable of showing how they really feel. In other words, they are afraid of exposing their vulnerabilities. As if it somehow makes us weaker to expose that we miss someone, or love them, or wish somehow we were closer to them. I will tell you the truth… it’s hard for some of us to express love because we haven’t felt it. Also when we do express love in our own unique way…. it’s not enough. Some, who are use to a different kind of love, don’t even realize that we are (in our own unique way) showing them love. If that makes any sense. I think that there needs to be some kind of balance. I think a life of service to just others leaves resentment in our hearts and I think a life of dedication to just yourself leaves us feeling empty. In my personal experience… I have given all I have sometimes just for my kindness to be taken advantage of and disregarded. Some other times, I have been selfish and lived with a hardened heart incapable of expressing emotions such as the ones you speak of, especially love. I say people just want to know they matter, they are seen, they are heard, and someone cares about them. Even those who are working in service for others still want to know that their contribution has made a difference in someone’s life. We are all out for something whether we like to admit it or not. It could be love, consideration, knowing we matter, fulfilling someone else’s needs, etc, but we are all out for something. Even if it’s feeling like we are fulfilling our destiny by directing love outwardly.

    Renee

  13. Pingback: On My Mind Lately | Doing Life By His Side

  14. Absolutely loved this post…it reminds me of the Mother Teresa poem, “anyway”.
    “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
    Be kind anyway.”
    And the same goes for love. Even when you doubt, love anyway.

  15. Hey just a thought. If you had made it about 2 things instead of the 26 fun “mixed” things, it may not have gone viral. Women crave holistic-ness. We love reading about selfless sacrificial love and nude pumps all in the same article. It says, “God cares about everything in your life” to us.

  16. Hiba says:

    As always, your writing is my best companion over my morning coffee. This may be my favorite so far because it struck me where it hurts. I convinced myself for so long that I don’t need to receive love. I have and have and gave all I had but then I broke down aching for just a little appreciation in return. And it’s only after that that I realized I deserve to be loved and shouldn’t settle for a one way stream. Thanks, keep writing.

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