Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Letter To You.

Look up. Stop looking at your feet. It won't matter, in the end of times, whether your hair curled perfectly when you took the wand to it; it will matter how your heart stood up against the fires of a world gone awry.

Cry it out. Don't stifle what your heart wants you to feel - the universe doesn't get to label you weak or broken. Feel your hurt. Your anger. Your loss. Let it wreak havoc if it will help you stand back up, again. Because you need to stand back up again. Let it go. Then rise and get ready to go.

Let go of the things, the people, that belittle the intricacies of your soul song. No one holds a life so long that there is time to fret over why he won't look at you the way you want him to; no one holds a life so long that there are moments to spare wondering if you might have more victories if your pant size was in the single digits; no one holds a life so long that breaths can be wasted defending the pursuit of what makes you feel alive and real and purposeful; no one holds a life so long that abuse, dismissal, and mistreatment should be mainstays for survival. No one holds a life so long. Life is not so long.

Sing off tune. Paint, even if it isn't aesthetically pleasing to anyone but you. Write poems, sonnets, love songs for the ages. If there is a tide in the pit of your belly festering to swell, please teach yourself to ride upon it. Stop standing for the critical analysis of a culture stuck in perfectionism to control what you create.

Fight for your story. It is yours. Written specifically for you. Quit shying away from the parts that are especially fragmented. Stop censoring the boulders in that valley that ended up shaping you far more than the peaks you stood upon on the mountain. Who might you reach, touch, rally by sharing the dark and dingy parts of the roadmap on your heart? Don't allow a whisper lead you to believe that the cobwebby parts of the narrative are unworthy of being told.

Wear the thick framed glasses. Pair the stripes with your grandpa's old flannel shirt. Demand the right to dress for who you truly are. No one's life will be more or less damaged by you wearing two different colored neon socks with your Chuck Taylor's. Stop apologizing for being an original. Stop treating weird like it's a curse word.

Laugh loud. If people stare it's most likely because they want to be a part of what is so infectiously hilarious. Talk in accents and treat bearded men, Jesus followers, and the quiet ones clinging to the wall with love. Love the ones without facial hair and those who don't know Jesus and the extra extroverted folks, too. Love people - because it is medicinal.

Remember you are worthy. You are beautiful. You are precious. Your story matters, your actions matter. Your words have the power to impact a generation. Rise up to meet who you were created to be. Meet your potential face to face and ask it to dance.

Forgive yourself. For the words that slapped and stung when you spoke in anger. For those times you allowed jealousy to control your heart. For that relationship that ruled over you in dictatorship. For staying chained to patterns of behavior long after you realized they were unhealthy and ugly. For believing the lies. For uttering the lies. For living in fear. Let go the shackles of guilt and rest in the grace.

Keep hoping. Don't cut yourself short of believing the dreams you've been tied to won't ever be realized. Whisper fervent and desirous for what your heart longs for. Those longings? The desires? They make your eyes more full of light.

Say no to what doesn't build you up. Welcome in love and light and joy. Stop apologizing for what isn't in your control. Be wild. Stay wild. Learn to love yourself.


Fall in love with the pages of your own history.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Letter to Insecurity

So not too long ago, I graduated from a small school in a small town and, for the most part, I knew most everyone that came and went through those halls. Not because everyone knew me, but because that was just how Casstown was, and is, - you knew people, you had heard pieces of their story, you knew their names because your dad graduated with their mom or took their dad's cousin to Prom 'back in the day.'

There was a girl that went to that same school; we weren't ever in the high school together, but I recall hearing her name and seeing her smile at sporting events I still went to from time to time. She is related to two of my friends. But I only knew a couple of things about her. She was pretty. Not the kind of pretty that is made up and accentuated, but the really natural, deep down - just born this way - pretty. And she was incredibly kind. She still is. She's still pretty, too. Probably more beautiful now than she ever was then, but only because I know her heart.

But I didn't get to know this girl until recently, after stumbling across her blog and requesting to follow her on Instagram (hi, I'm steph and I've been basic for six months now.)

Reading her words and looking through her pictures led to coffee dates, long text conversations, and a snail mail relationship that rocks my world.

Her name is Whitney. And guys? She is just remarkable.

 She's a fighter. She loves Jesus with every inch of her skin and soul. She's getting married in September. She loves encouraging women and reminding them of their wild worth because of Whose we are.

She is a missionary, a cat momma, and she love her some coffee.

She is my sister. She is my friend.

She shares stories and struggles and how good Jesus is over on her blog. {Head on over and let her lift you up}

And tonight, she decided to drop the mic on something we all battle with everyday, even if we aren't readily admitting it.

I'm psyched for you to meet her and I'm honored she's the first guest blogger on Girl's Life in Ink.

Enough of me . . . check this out.


Dear Insecurity,

We need to talk. And yes, you should be concerned.
To put it nicely, Im over you.
Im over the way you lead me into competition with my sisters. Judging beautiful women Ive never met. Im over the way you tempt me into comparison, never letting me celebrate my identity.

Quite frankly, youre abusive. Youve controlled me into avoiding circumstances that seem unworthy. You remind me how inadequate I am and how ridiculous it is for me to believe that Im worthy of a beautiful life.

Youve manipulated me every.single.night. as I replay images of my day. I pull my covers over my head, hoping to erase the memories of the wrong words I said or didnt say.
You endlessly remind me that I must fight to fit in, no matter what it takes. If fitting in compromises friendships, health, and stability, so be it. You tell me that what others say about me, defines me.

Im over our relationship, Insecurity. Youve robbed me of far too many friendships and adventures. Youve plagued me with fear and doubt and Im over it.

Were breaking up because Ive found Someone better.

Someone who says Im loved and worthy.
Someone who wrote my story and reminds me of My value; Who reminds me that I am BLAMELESS and Cherished.
So this is the end of us, Insecurity. Youve been replaced.
This is Goodbye forever. There will be no reconciliation.


 Whitney Kindell

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Letter to the Longing {Hiraeth, what is home?}

What is home? Is it the four walls you sleep within? Is it the dusty air of a place you've never actually breathed? Is it the ocean?
Do your dreams rake desire over your heart to wake a mermaid?

Hiraeth; a Welsh word without direct English translation that means a homesickness for a home you can't return to, or that never was.

I am left plagued by hiraeth.

I am homesick.

I think, quite firmly, that our desires can wholly manifest into problematic dreams that climb atop pedestals of their own free will.

One such desire of mine has done just that - and it has created an ache in me that has, in intervals of time, proven insatiable.

It all begins with a smell.

Smell has to be the closest tangible time travel I know.

And your smell is made from the woods. Spiciness and an earth that just won't quit - and wood. A lumber yard seems to possess the prowess to absolutely wreck me.

But you don't actually smell that way.

Your arms. Strong, sinewy, kind. I sit, I wake, still feeling an imprint of them around me. Safe.

Were they really every there?

There is not much gentle about you. But, from a distance, at the start and completion of these miles in between us, I easily remember you solely existing within the tender and soft.

The feelings that remain - their edges are jagged and cutting.

Your words never hurt. They remain without callous or coldness; they are soft like rain and warm from the inside.

But much salt has left this body over the processing of your dilapidated words - cacophonous in delivery - and bone dry, empty promises.

There are no words for the chasms of loss I have felt, and let linger, over you.

Yet I still don't know what love means.

Because I have found, time and again, you never smelling or saying or touching or feeling just as I happen to remember you.

It has all been left off-mark, too slow, just this way of indigestible.

And I am left with an illness for space between two arms that were never mine. That were never up to be had.

Because for all my words, for every yes ever uttered, I ended up being met with only an empty-bellied finality.

You say so many things.

I'm beginning to wonder if you would even know how to want to mean them.

This thing - it never truly was everything I desperately hoped it'd be. There were long winded minutes of me actually thinking I needed them to be - the very next breath was dependent upon the need of it all.

For all the moments of fighting for you to be home, for you to be my home, it never was.

It has always been.

It must remain.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Letter to India

I recall gazing longingly at photographs of your color and culture long before I knew we would one day meet.

The tiny humans, cloaked in colors bright and captivating; brown eyes smiling at the face of a camera they will likely never see, again.

I think I wanted to know you long before I knew to want it.

I recall the decision that was prayed over, talked about, stroked through with a fine-toothed comb so as to lessen the lingering fear and concern. And now I face you head on, merely four months standing between us.

I have come to think on and daydream about you as though a woman might regard her lover off at war -- I imagine the smells that will infiltrate the senses, the conversations I might have, the way my heart will feel and react to our initial meeting.

Only I do not know what to expect -- I am told there is darkness that permeates the air there; that the colors, the smells, the noises, they are all vibrant and bold. I sit before an empty journal page and try to wrap my head around how to prepare for you, how to pray to prepare for you, and I am left with a pen slick with sweat.

I am waiting with breath that is bated.

Of all the things I am unsure of, there are these things I know with certainty -- who I arrive as will likely not be the girl that leaves you; I will understand what it means to have the heart broken and poured back into simultaneously at the time of our meeting; you will wreck me, change me, transform me. Because it is not a coincidence that I decided on you. It was not happenstance that I prayed over you specifically. Your name was not whispered into my ear, breathed into my heart, by accident.

I have a feeling you will find me wholly overwhelmed, shedding tears, and wondering just how I went this long without getting to know myself in a place such as yours.

I look forward to being courted by the girl I will grow in to while in your company.

I am genuinely trembling at all the ways my eyes will see differently once I've resided in the heat of your embrace, listened intently to the laughter of your small humans, and come to understand life outside of the small radius of my current universe.

He picked us for each other, I feel certain in that.

Here's to the time between now and then, to the charged emotion, to the prayerful anticipation, to just a few short months.

Here's to obedience.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Letter to the Label

It is hard to escape you. Living, pushing, thriving in a world that is comprised of the many different faces you wear -- you are continually one step ahead of my runaway plan.

Sometimes you are gentle - reminding me of my femininity, of my privilege of being a child to two people and a sibling to another human.

But generally you taunt with biting negativity that can leave a heart feeling strapped to adjectives that were meant to be left lying to decay in the dust.

There are moments you won't let a memory forget.

That first time I looked the young girl  I was in the eye and called her fat - that beast rages loud from within me, still.

That first time I was called a bitch; there are no pain relievers to erase the gaping ache that still arises anytime the word is spoken.

The tears, still hot and salty, seem to have left an imprint on my lips to forever remind me of that initial taste of being deemed loose.

And what of all the words that go unsaid, but dance around each word that is?


How many times have I felt that drive into my mind, settling in, and have just become too defeated myself to try to defeat it?

What happens when we begin to succumb to the accusations thrown at us? My head has grown too heavy for the weary neck to push it to signify the resistance. The shoulders heave, up and down, in a show of contemplation.

I have grown docile beneath the crushing weight of a world intent on naming everything. Just each and every part must have its place.

I am fatigued.

Society tells us we are what we do, we are defined by a name change, our value is to be found in the numerical figure on a paycheck.

The pressure is building, the time to race against a clock is coming, just when will I be taken seriously?

It isn't worth it. The always clamoring to be seen, to be found understood, to be linked to the greats.

Life cannot be a constant string of superlatives and popularity contests. Sometimes it needs to stop being about the winning and become about the unfolding of an understanding that my heart has only become what it is because of everything I've done.

Maybe I am fat.

Perhaps within me a bitch lies dormant just now.

 There was a time I was loose with my body, not particular about the sheets I would lie between.

These are not the makings of a human not worthy. These are not the components of a life merely existing instead of living.

This is a cry to those being trapped by a name that is not their own.

Hear me now, you who have settled for closing the door on the box that others have trapped you within; it's time to break out.

It's time to shout back.

There are so many more things making me a daughter, a sister, a friend. Courage and bravery do not come from lying still beneath the hurtling judgments. There is no integrity discovered by accepting a label and only living within that space. Creativity is not bred in a moment of giving up.

I have been found weak and defenseless before.

No longer.

Let the failings, the miscalculations, the loss of clear thinking prove to be grounds for rediscovery of who you were designed to be.

Let the pure hurt, the bruises from the throttling, the sting of being left behind, overlooked, misjudged, let it all be the stones with which a new path is paved.

Let the hate-filled self talk and the abuse of the body and the gullibility of buying into being someone you're not turn itself into what you can use to meet others right where they stand.

Listen. The fighter within - the one who wants to hold fast to what they know is true, but is afraid of being called foolish - let that piece of you run wild.

This is a call - to stop buying into branding. To lash out at the name calling. To cease with the wishing for a different body, heart, face, life.

Let's stop bowing down and lying beneath who anyone else might say we are and start fighting to become just exactly who we're supposed to be.