The Tough Stuff, Uncategorized

Make me come undone.


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There was nothing so extraordinary about the diner itself.

The walls were white. The food was decent. We ordered breakfast. We caught the diner barren during one of those strange hours that sit between brunch and dinner on a Sunday. There was nothing so peculiar about the diner itself or the red-seated booths but I’m just the type of girl who likes to describe the details of the days that change her life.

We swooped from conversation to conversation as we scraped our toast around the plate. We talked about the things we wanted. The lives we hoped to lead. The wildness of letting people go, of giving them permission to walk away. And maybe I’m just in a pocket of letting go upon letting go but the only thing I’m holding tighter to these days is God. And there’s something wild and strange and okay to me about that. I never would have been comfortable telling you that before.

We talked fast. About wanting to go places. And wanting to live the types of lives that demand explanation. And for about an hour or so, we built a metaphor with our bones: the life you want to step inside of is like a road trip. And one thing must happen before any trip begins: you pack. 

 

You pack.

You plan. You clear out. You let go. You pick things to take. You leave things behind. And, like I’ve written before, I’m always the girl who packs too much. I still can’t figure out how to pack lightly. It’s like a disease. I pack books I’ll never read. I pack love letters for no apparent reason. I bring too many shoes. I convince myself I need a stuffed animal though I don’t and probably never will. And all the baggage I tuck and fold probably serves no purpose at all and yet I bring it with me because maybe it makes me think I can still be a person I let go of yesterday.

My mother would say it first— you got it from your father. You got that packing gene of yours from the man who bought a car to take on a month-long roadtrip across the states and managed to fill the whole thing up before the adventure even began. He filled the whole thing up, as if to say, “The road won’t give me more.” Oh, but the road will always give you more.

And that’s the hardest mindset— the hardest space— to live inside of: you are not full. You are whole, but you are not full. There is a difference. Wholeness is the art of missing no parts. Fullness is like running in the rain— one time won’t ever be enough. You have to let the water wash you every once in a while as a reminder to yourself of the truth: still, you are alive. Wild and alive. 

 

I thought the journey to get here would stop at 16 hours.

Maybe you knew this or maybe you didn’t— I moved to Atlanta a month ago. I kissed goodbye New England and the GPS told me the whole of the trip would take me 16 hours. Sixteen hours and I’d be done. One car-ride, a playlist created by someone who knows me well, a few stops along the way and I’d be home. And I’d fumble over that word— “home”— for a good bit but it wouldn’t take me any further from the truth: I am home. I am home and unfamiliar with the stitching of it. Because wherever my feet are, that is home. 

The journey didn’t stop at 16 hours though. And maybe that’s the pinnacle and the pricking point to any transition: we want to be the ones who get to cry out “enough” when we’ve reached our tipping point of breaking, and bending, and learning, and growing. But even when we say “enough,” life still reminds us that we don’t have that much control. Life is just a series of mapless moments. And there still is much to learn.

It’s like I am waiting for the map though. Still, I am waiting for the direction. It’s like I’m waiting on Siri’s sweet robotic voice to whisper through the speakers of my car: This is not a matter of left or right. You don’t need to reach a destination, you need to reach a breaking point inside of yourself. You need to reach the spot in which you face the things that had the luxury of being buried when you stayed in the comfort zone of other people and familiar places: You are afraid of yourself. You are afraid of what it takes to sit with yourself. You are afraid of the stories you’ve told yourself about yourself. You are afraid to find out that if you stopped fighting yourself, you’d actually win. 

 

This journey belongs to no one else.

I’m the traveler. I’m the one with the backpack on my shoulders. And even if I pack this or choose not to take that, I must always travel with myself. She— the girl inside of me— is always with me on this journey. And that’s the hardest part. Because part of being human is wanting to abandon yourself sometimes. Even if no one will give up on you, you want to be the one to give up on yourself. And that doesn’t work when you’re the lone traveler, when you’re the one who must pave the road. When you’re the one who whispers words to the trees and the stars and the points on the maps, “I will go. Wherever I am led, I will go.” 

 

“You will never leave yourself,” I whispered into the dark of a new bedroom last night.

My hands were pressed into my notebook. I was sitting indian-style on the bed. My eyes were closed, as if the whole thing were a prayer to me. The room felt holy and cloaked in the kind of light only Christmas lights in June can give you. You will never leave yourself.

Even if you want to leave yourself, you never will. 

I’ve wanted to pretend that with enough miles and enough distance and enough distractions, I’d never have to face the girl inside of me who is weaker than I’d prefer she’d be. I thought I had fully abandoned that girl in the process of book-writing. I thought I’d said goodbye and meant it. But it’s like she showed up at my door, after a few months of being gone, and she knocked until I came to let her in.

And it’s like she stood before me, in the doorway of my new home, looking like a hungry traveler and waiting for me to pay attention long enough to hear her say, “One-way tickets don’t always work. You can’t just send me away. You have to learn to live with me and you have to learn to understand me. And if you could just understand me then you could very easily undo me. And that’s the only way to let me go for good— make me come undone. Undo me and unravel me and get to the root of me. Face me fully and I’ll lose all my power. Face me fully and I’ll turn and not look back for you. ” 

 

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17 thoughts on “Make me come undone.

  1. Oh, man. I’m glad I found your site. In the span of the last three years, I’ve managed to move nearly a dozen times. Finally, I settled in Nashville, the city that promised to put my wanderlust at rest. But only a month after moving, I wanted to move again. And that’s when my mama told me that I’ll never outrun myself and I’ll sure as hell never outrun God. That was two years ago. It hasn’t gotten easier, but I’m slowly learning to live with and love myself and a God who won’t let me go. And wanting to lead a life that demands explanation? YES.

  2. Anne says:

    I love your transparency Hannah. I currently am not working and can totally relate to facing truths that God wants us to face. Exposing them to the light diminishes their power over us.

  3. “You are afraid to find out that if you stopped fighting yourself, you’d actually win.” — I love this so much. Thank you Hannah once again for the inspiration and hope from the clarity pouring out of your soul!

    >

  4. This post was absolutely beautiful. I love how you described your dad as packing a car full before even hitting the road, “as if to say, ‘The road won’t give me more.'” I feel like so often we are convinced that we are the people we will always be, and experience has nothing more to offer us – but that’s never the case. I also love your description of waiting for Siri to give you direction; aren’t we all doing that in a way? Such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing 🙂 xx

  5. This so beautifully expresses how big changes feel when you’re in the midst of them (which I’ve felt far more often in the past few years than I ever expected). This paragraph is my favorite: “And that’s the hardest mindset— the hardest space— to live inside of: you are not full. You are whole, but you are not full. There is a difference. Wholeness is the art of missing no parts. Fullness is like running in the rain— one time won’t ever be enough. You have to let the water wash you every once in a while as a reminder to yourself of the truth: still, you are alive. Wild and alive.” Thank you for articulating this so excellently, and for sharing your heart!

  6. Heather says:

    Hi babe!!! This touched me. Just like the rest of your writings are. I lived in deoressionville for the past 15 years. Now I am in therapy and my life has become immensely better.

  7. Alexa says:

    I cried. You’re writing is so special to me. I wish I could wake up everyday with the feeling that I get after reading your posts; they are all so beautiful.

  8. Oh my goodness Hannah. I am experiencing this right now.
    I’m caught between the years of senior in Highschoo and freshman in college… I just figured myself out, just to strip myself to the core again so I could begin the journey to finding myself once again. And like you said– I’m packing to much and not facing God. So thank you for this post, for this tiny reminder that I am alive and not full. So i shall keep searching in my wild ways, as I pray that you are doing as well 🙂

  9. Maryah says:

    I needed this. I have written to you before and you always put me back together with your replies. I have been stuck between shoving that she out the door and turning around and letting her back in everytime she knocks. But thank you for helping me face myself, every single day. I just hope that I learn to be ok with myself someday. I will be ok. I left my person, and moved halfway across the country thinking I left things as best as I could and would be able to start over. But for some reason I keep letting him crawl into my mind, when though I’m 2,000 miles away. He knows what to say to manipulate and turn things on me. And I let him. Almost every time. But because of you, and listening to my heart, I’m getting stronger. But let me reiterate that most of my strength comes to you. And I thank, and love you for that. Always thanking you Hannah.
    Love,
    Maryah.

  10. Kelly says:

    I am reminded of the song by Jennifer Knapp called Undo Me: It’s time to get down on my knees and pray, Lord, undo me. Put away my flesh and bone ’til you own this Spirit through me. Lord, undo me.

  11. I too am an over packer. You are an amazing writer. I hope Atlanta is a good adventure for you. I am in Athens – if you ever find yourself there I would love to meet you. Your words feel like they have been floating around my heart for months trying to sort themselves out. Jeez, so thankful for you…a stranger with a like minded soul.

  12. Hi my dear,
    thank you for everything. You have no idea how much your blog has helped me in terms of finding myself and just figuring things out.
    Thank you so much!
    And boy am I glad I found yours 🙂

  13. You are the most talented writer I have come across in a long time. No matter which post I read, I always find bits of my self in your writing. You write what I feel. I’m grateful for your blog.

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