Thursday, March 17, 2011

I've Been Lacking Soul

Our lives are filled with things we can barely remember how we existed and functioned before we had it.  Whether its an iphone, or the internet in general, or sporks, our lives are dramatically different from when we first started.  For years, I have struggled with feeling peace.  Growing up, I constantly felt out of place in a small town.  In college, I never felt a peace about my educational choice or about who I was.  After college, I struggled on a daily basis to grasp onto peace.  In my head, peace is a tiny place where things just feel right.  Things fall into place, and you can smile and laugh with freedom.

I first searched for peace through religion.  I thought peace would come through going to church, saying the right things, singing the right songs, and that these things would lead me to peace.  However, I ended up being petrified to allow my real self to shine because I didn't fit this picture I had in my head of the perfect Christian.  (By the way, yes, I am a Christian, but I prefer to talk about this on a more personal level than on my blog since this blog is about fashion, style, and life).  I was ashamed of who I was and completely over-ridden by guilt.  I was also incredibly judgemental and closed-minded.  I slowly abandoned "religion" or what I knew of it.  I wanted authenticity and learned that I could be me.  And that being me, the real me, shit on the walls and all better reflected God to others than any amount of theology book I could have read.

I began to abandon my search for peace.  Sometime close to a year ago, I gave up on finding peace and decided I would just wallow in the fact that I couldn't shop or that I was working somewhere that I felt so out of place and different.  A common theme in my life is that I just feel different from other people.  I am painfully introverted and I over-share in order to appear more out-going than I am.  I go through days when I don't feel good enough, smart enough.  My dear friend Juli calls this the bastard-self.  Its that voice in your head that pokes and prods you making you feel like shit, and making you cry.  However, as I started to share my life with people, and let people in (this definitely includes anyone who reads my blog), the bastard-self didn't have a lot to poke with.  That was until recently.

I have not been sharing a lot.  I have been holding a lot in and not expressing my emotions here.  I haven't been writing in a way that makes me feel raw and happy.  I comment about something I'm wearing, talk about the weather... and its mediocre.  It is boring.  And let me tell you, this lady is not mediocre or boring.  There is something that has allowed me to pause, reflect and take inventory.  I've been able to sort things and organize them so that I can find peace.  And this has been working out.  I do a lot of praying when I'm working out.  A lot of it involves swear words, and maybe some bargaining involving me giving up ice cream (or Mexican food) if I can just lift my arms over my head one more time.  But nothing gets my blood flowing like yoga.  I go to a yoga class once a week through my gym at work.  It is one of those moments where I can meditate.  Where I am encouraged to think without words, but to really be able to drink in my thoughts.  God definitely shows up.  Today, we were prepping for backbends (because our class is rabid for them) and as we inched closer and closer to the moment we exploded up into a back bend, I got incredibly giddy.  When we laid down on our backs on the mat, I just started laughing.  But I wasn't the only one.  I laughed a deep belly laugh, full of excitement, joy, and peace.  Even though my shoulder muscles are sore from being pushed to their limit, I found a little touch of peace.

I'm discovering peace and what it means to me in a way that is concrete.  I don't like hypotheticals or lofty goals and ideas.  I am all about practicality and how things can easily be adapted to life.  I'm at peace with my body.  I'm at peace with my finances (well, kind of haha).  I'm at peace with my wardrobe (sometimes).  I'm at peace with my relationships and friendships.  I'm at peace with everything that happened last year.  I'm excited for what finding peace means.  I don't think it will be this sudden light, but more like a gradual illumination.  I don't know how I functioned without peace, but I do know that it isn't hard to find it just in case I lose it again.


  1. Anonymous9:22 AM

    I love this post and I can totally relate to how you feel. It sorta feels like bloggers everywhere are feeling this lack of peace. Hmmm....
    I'm glad you found yours.
    Love your blog.

  2. I know what you mean. It's hard growing up and I've come to the conclusion that you never stop growing, so basically life isn't always easy and I've learned to value the good times and appreciate them.
    I hate that I analyze everything, I wish I could be more clueless like some ppl seem to be (I mean clueless in a good way)
    Regardless appreciate what makes you, you. That's how I find peace.


  3. Blogs are weird and hard to balance with "real self", I guess. I'm glad you're finding what you need, Alyson. It is very nice to hear.

  4. Anonymous8:02 PM

    Alyson, first of all you are a great person, you are very balanced, well sort of, caring and thoughtful and goal oriented. I think that you need to accept who are are and be the perfect Alyson, which by the way I think you have achieved that goal. Those who love you, accept you for who you are, don't be so hard on yourself no one else is. Accept yourself for who you are and embrace the perfect Alyson. We all have our shortcomings, you are no different but when it comes down to the big life picture does it matter that you fit a certain mold or that you love yourself and your thick calves :) and that it is ok for you to be unique in your own Alyson way. Accept yourself, because you are a very wonderful person and I am glad to be your friend. Be yourself and love yourself and you will find peace. Alyson peace not someone else's idea of what peace is.

  5. Wow...I love coming up on a thoughtful post like this. I tend to think a lot deeper than I write and I struggle with which is the real me that I want to represent in my blog. I would love to strike a balance of fun and thoughtful posts. We all struggle with peace. Glad you are moving in the direction that feels right for you.

  6. So...I read your post last week and have been pondering on it at random since. I've come to a certain conclusion about this 'search for peace'. I'll relate it to something a certain someone (ahem) did back in the day ... they thought, while shaving their legs, that if they pressed harder, they wouldn't have to shave as often. You may remember how that turned out ... An odd parallel, I know. But in my own life, the harder I have searched for or forced peace, the more painful/soul ripping it has been. When I go about life in a normal fashion, I am astonished to discover that an abundance of unexplainable peace has transcended. I don't understand it. I know exactly where it comes from. I trust that it comes when I most need it.

    (Thanks for being honest, btw. I've always appreciated that about you.)

  7. Alyson - oh, how this makes me happy. You are a woman of such courage. I'm passing along these lines from a poem -

    Sometimes it takes darkness
    and the sweet confinement of your aloneness
    to learn
    anything or anyone
    that does not bring you alive
    is too small for you.
    ~David Whyte

  8. Think of Christianity and God as Truth and Love.

    Not some idea of what the culture has sold you on. That helps me.

    Then I think of that passage: "Love is patient, Love is kind, etc, etc....".

    God wants our hearts to grow and grow. This is difficult. It is supposed to be. If it weren't we wouldn't be getting it right. Love is not a feeling or an emotion. Love is sacrificial. Love is a commitment. That is hard.

    God loves you. I think you're pretty great too.

    I used to tease my kids (when they were teenagers) and say God loves you, but I'm His favorite (Ha ha). I think God wants us to try and be joyful and see all His blessings. That is hard too.



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