Change vs Growth

_DSC6841.JPG

"i won't show you my cards.
but you came and you lost."

The Polaroid picture was of Cocoa Puffs. The little hand rested expectantly, palm side up, on my leg, as I smiled back at the little face that was apparently hungrier than your average bear. I let this 5 year old baby cub lead me to the kitchen, grabbed the cereal, sat him down at the kitchen table, and breathed in growth. 

Give us a couple of months, we were both going to figure this out. Because his little face spoke of understanding. His eyes told you that he may not be able to fight much of the change happening in his world, but he could win at growth. It looked like Cocoa Puffs on command.

Because change is the independent variable in the experiment that is our life. No one can stop the train, but what you do while you’re on it? That’s up for grabs. 

I’m thousands of words in to one of the most exhilarating and life changing seasons of my life. It’s been built on self-awareness, on independence, and on intentionality. It’s been built on conversations with friends, with God, and by myself. I’ve learned to be my best company because I needed to learn to hang out with myself without being afraid of how powerful and anchored I could be.

Trying times tend to make us realize our strength. The social structures those trying times exist within? They sometimes make it hard to own that strength openly. We’re encouraged to play it coy, to act defeated, to water down the whiskey for the sake of those drinking it.

100 proof. It’s the only way I’m pouring these days. 

Because there’s no point in pretending I broke apart when I just broke open. Because life didn’t push me out of doors, I walked through them with my head held high. Because I didn’t throw up, wasn’t even the bit nauseous. 

I have a strong stomach and a good heart, you’d be surprised how far those can get you.

They got me past a dope fall courtesy of a sheet of ice under Ohio’s low ceilings. The bruise on my thigh is my battle scar. They found me under partially frozen waterfalls, listening for icicles crashing onto rocks, watching out for peace, like it’d be Cocoa Puffs on a napkin.

The aces under your sleeve, they’re only worth something if you get to play for keeps. If each card is rooted in who you are. Because during storming seasons anything less than that will fall at the slightest wind, drop like a house of cards. 

****

“These Hallelujahs be multiplied”

****

You get to navigate every changing moment in your life by way of where you want it to take you. I chose for mine to take me within and also to Ohio. It took me to new couches and under old sheets. It found me at home with myself and in a new home. It pushed me into adulthood and I willingly let it. 

Because change is a constant, whether you grow from it in positive, meaningful ways, that’s your choice.

I smiled at the camera often this season because I had every reason to. I found those reasons in silence. I found them in growth. I found them in recklessness and in transparency. In fast cars and in Jeeps with my foot on the gas. I found them naked under rainfall shower heads. I found them drowning in bathtubs with flower petals. I found them in books, in journals, in drafts, in failures, in open hands asking for Cocoa Puffs.

I didn’t find them by latching onto others, I found them by learning to be myself while existing alongside others. I found them by wearing my own coat, not by riding coattails. I found them by actively deciding to not lose the biggest opportunity that this season was offering me - the chance to grow.