Giving Up, Giving In, and Discipline

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I feel like I should change the name of this blog from “Girl vs. Pittsburgh” to “Girl vs. Her Own Self.” Obviously, it’s been a long time since I wrote anything on here. I can blame graduate school, but really I lost confidence in myself and my writing. I lost confidence in the dream I once had of becoming a writer. And I’ve been struggling with a lot. Life has been full of good things, like classes (both good and bad), my friends, my family, my job, and my boyfriend of a little over three months. However, I’ve also been struggling with do I really want to leave the Pittsburgh area now that I’m here, am I going to get a job as a librarian, friends that I thought were friends but probably weren’t, what does it really mean to be a woman, and why don’t I just sit down, pick up a pen, and begin writing?

Believing you are blessed with talent is one thing, but actually practicing that talent is something else. I don’t believe you keep a talent without practicing it. And I have not been practicing at all. Like I said, grad school is an easy culprit, but the real culprit, the REAL reason I haven’t been writing is myself, my lack of confidence, and my lack of discipline. I gave up. But now I am giving in to the dream I once had.

Discipline has not been easy. My boyfriend asks me, “Did you write today?” I am always embarrassed when I have to say no. Again, I can blame school, work, my summer practicum, etc., but the real person to blame is myself. I am not making the time for it. That is MY fault.

My best friend is Sarahbeth Caplin, a talented self-published author. Sarahbeth writes everyday. Of course she’s amazing. Don’t concert violinists practice everyday? Baseball players? They don’t sit back and rest on that one hit they made back in college in 2009. They constantly work to make themselves better.

Right now I am sitting on a lumpy pillow of the things I wrote as a teenager. If I ever want to be the writer I want to be, I need to quit sitting around, and begin writing again. Get a little ink on my hands. That’s the only way you become better.

Love Isn’t All I Need, But I Do Need It

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Last night, two of my coworkers and I had a movie night. Like any sensible 20-somethings, we watched Frozen (don’t hate). Olaf is my favorite character (and Sven). Olaf is one of the sweetest characters in that whole movie, and for all his goofiness, he is packed full of wisdom. For example, let’s just talk about the entire scene when Hans has left Anna to die of cold. Olaf shows up to save the day, lighting a fire at risk to his own personal safety. Anna laments that she doesn’t know what love is, and Olaf says, “Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.” That’s big stuff for a little snowman that hasn’t been alive very long. And then he tells Anna, as his nose drips off his face, “Some people are worth melting for.”

When I got home after the movie night, still pondering these words, I thought about my whole anti-romance kick that I’ve been following for years. I kept saying, “I don’t want to get hurt again.” I love people. I love my parents, my siblings, my grandma, my extended family, my friends, and my dog. But all that love comes with a risk.

Angel died last year. I loved her with all my heart and that was the first time she left me. It was a tempestuous (I love that word) year with my family. My friends are scattered all over the country. Anyone can leave you, anyone can be gone in an instant.

When I moved back to Pittsburgh, I tried not to get close with too many people. I would just be gone soon anyway. But I’m still here, and now I have so many people that are becoming close friends the more we hang out. Katrina came line dancing with me a few times and is one of my confidants, Shannon and I have adventures, Kristin understands my love for Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Disney movies, Alaina and I talk about children’s books, John texts me to see how I’m doing, Alex recommends books, and Phil helps me grow as a person. And those are only some of the amazing people I met in Pittsburgh.

Inspired by Olaf, I opened my Bible to 1 Corinthians 13. Everyone knows it: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Love is patient. I am not a patient person. Could I be patient for another person? I don’t know. Love is kind. Can I be a beacon of kindness for another person and treat them as he or she deserves? I don’t know. Love protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres. Can I do that? I don’t know.

Love is a risk. It’s always a risk. And the probability of falling in love again means I most likely will get hurt. My goal is to work on my trust issues to figure out if I can be the kind of love that trusts and isn’t ready to give up after five minutes. Or expect the man in my life to give up after five minutes.

So I asked myself, is love worth it? Is it worth the pain and heartache again? Yes, because I am better prepared. Yes, because I am more honest with myself. It probably will blow up in my face. But the chance to love and to open my heart to others is worth more than never having taken that risk at all. If it makes me a better person, it is worth it.

I need love. I want love. Falling in love is like jumping off a cliff when a pack of snarling wolves is after you: Sometimes you just have to do it.