Have you ever been followed by a number or a word?

My name is Michelle.

I’m 26.

I’ve lived in Chicago nearly my whole life.

I thrive on travel & all the wonders that follow adventure.

Latley I have felt absolutely lost. Purposeless, even.

I have sort of just been going through the motions of the dreadful calender that adult-hood is.

Wake up, get ready for work, work, come home, pay some bills, save some $, de-stress(do things I actually love)

I mean. I am all for abiding by the law & doing what must be done, but I am so sick of being stuck in the motions.

My mind is stuck in the mundane, the cookie-cutter lifestyle. Because that’s all that surrounds me.

My whole life I have been the dreamer, the lover, the adventurer, the one who makes friends out of strangers and will quite literally talk to anyone.

I have a passion for people. I like to know what their dreams are. I want to know what makes them tick. What’s hurt them in the past. What they do in their free time. I just love to learn about humanity and try to evolve into a better human being doing so.

I have been connecting with humans on Instagram, some (okay, most) of whom I’ve never met. But some sort of cosmic pull, brings our worlds into alignment. And you know what? I love that. I absolutely fall in love with these people. No, not the romantic kind of love. But the kind of love that builds us up, that brings us together and allows us to say, “Hey, me too! I thought I was alone in this.”  The kind that helps us get to our dreams, that is encouraging and fulfilling in friendship.

Now I don’t make friends with literally everyone, because not everyone is meant to be in my tribe. And by tribe I just mean people that have like-minds, the ones who are on the same path, our hearts beat for the same thing. For this reason, I love the internet. I have latley made some of my most fulfilling & light changing friendships/relatioships off Instagram. I mean, seriously… never would have thought.

A guy who I “met” a few months back, was passing through Chicago (coming from Nashville) in his travels and wanted to make sure that I would be someone he met & adventured with while he was here for a whirlwind 48 hours. He took the blue line to Lincol Park Zoo & I took a taxi from the inner city & we met. We ran to each other, we hugged. & we literally spent the next EIGHT hours exploring & adventuring through a town I know all the crooks and crannies of, and he had never been.

Now, 8 hours with someone you love may be too much. Come on, you know what I’m talking about. They say if you intend to spend time with someone, never let it extend past 4-5 hours at a time. It tends not to be healthy for your relationships. But this guy and I had never met, we were complete strangers… other than looking  at each others Instagram. It literally seems like meeting someone on the street and saying “hey, I choose you. Lets be friends.” And as soon as we said introduced ourselves, we literally dove straight into all the questions that mattered. I think the third thing he asked me was, “What are your dreams & aspirations in life?” I mean, COME ON. It felt like something that you would only see in a movie. But it definetly happened.

We went throughout the day talking about life, what society thinks the meaning of it is, what we think it means. He asked me if I have one ability in live, what would it be? & vise versa. We were attacked by monkeys through glass as the Zoo, we laughed our way to Navy Pier & climbed buildings. Got chased by security guards. He took me to my first ever Chickfila experience, yes I know.. I’m a bit behind on that. Talked about our biggest fears. We talked about our dreams, our ex-boyfriends & girlfriends. We covered God. A lot about God. This man, lets call him Jake… brought the heat in conversation. I love that about him. He quite literally makes the most of every moment & doesn’t apologize for it. He is honest & vunlnerable and everything we need more of in this World.

I think he came into my life as a part of the worlds plans. Really. It sounds silly & ridiculous, I get it. But he asked me things no one in my life currently was. He made me uncomfortable and safe all at the same time. He stirred my heart and something just clicked. & since he was here, I have been doing some serious soul searching. I have been daily living through all the hard things I would naturally avoid. I have been apologizing less for who I am and diving deeper into my purpose.

It was a great adventure while he was here. You’re gonna laugh at me when I say it wasn’t long enough. 8 hours with this stranger at the time wasn’t enough..  And I now find myself asking why the time with him was so fleeting? Was he really only mean’t to spark a desire in my heart for purpose? I don’t know. Was he meant to tear down my weaknesses and slap me with the truth? I don’t know. Is he mean’t to be an ongoing friend? (yes, we still talk.) I just feel like I was teased by a friendship that may never be full. Him and I are both adventurerers. He has been traveling the past 6 months and never spends more than a couple nights in the same city. I’m about to gear up for a similar trip. So. tell me. Is there a point? I certaintly don’t know. And with the way my mind works, I’ll try to figure it out till I can’t think anymore.

But I am going to be intentional to let it go.

Thats my word. The one that keeps popping up.

In articles I read, in songs I hear, in conversation, in prayer. It’s the one repeating, resounding word I can’t run from. It’s ironic, because my entire life I’ve been the girl who will live in the moment and never think about the future, or how someone else will feel about what I do, or what adventure I go on, or reprecautions of taking too much vacation at my job. I have really been just going through the motions everyday & it’s not healthy. I know this.

And intentional, the word & the actions have been following me around since I met “Jake”.

It may be because he is very intentional.

It may be because I’ve been praying for months for guidance and direction–and God gave me him.

It may be because he is firece in his convictions. & he loves with his heart on his sleeve.

He’s refreshing & I’m so thankful for God letting me give into fear in meeting him. Because lets be honest, everyone probably thinks of crazy the moment a strangers says “Hey, you gonna show me around the best places in Chicago( your home) next week?”

But it was worth it. Even if he can’t be in my daily world right now.

Even if he never will be (although you can tell I wish the opposite).

Open your heart.

Be vulnerable.

Let life happen to you–but be intentional about what you allow in.

Step out of your boundaries.

Kiss fear in the face.

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May all your dreams come true.

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Writing is difficult.

That’s a statement I know to be true.

Even if writing flows easily from you, there are still challenges.

I have been told lately that the things I speak on should be written down for the masses.

I’m really good at speaking truth into my friends & family’s lives. I am.

I’m not trying to brag, it’s just a spiritual gift that I’ve been given.

But when it comes down to expressing that on paper, I just can’t.

I will hold the pencil in my hand & just stare & stare.

It’s like a permanent brain cramp. I’m not sure why.

But I know that there are things I need to work out before I write.

My soul hasn’t evolved to the point it needs to, I fear it never will.

Us as humans, we are constantly growing, changing, evolving.

It’s just a part of life.

Even with the friends I have encouraging me to fulfill my life long dream of helping others through anxiety in my book, I don’t know how.

I have lived through hell & back for nearly ten years of crippling anxiety and depression.

When people say they can’t understand you, because they don’t know how you feel…when you’re suffering…

I can. I do.

I have been challenged so many different ways with my journey of anxiety.

There were countless & I mean countless amount of times where I thought I’d never see past it.

I thought my life was just mean’t to be plagued by this monster.

I asked God to end my life at times, because I thought that was easier.

This monster tried stealing my joy, my mind, my love, my body, my hope, my faith.

It attacked literally every piece of me.

& for a very long time, I let it.

I was weak, but something inside me never gave up.

I didn’t want to fight, but I knew I had to.

Sometimes it was day to day, others it was minute by minute.

When is my next panic attack gonna “hit”? Will I be in a place I can “escape”?

Will my friends or whoever I’m with look at my like I’m a freak?

There were more ridiculous thoughts, trust me.

I felt like I was two different people sometimes, almost as though I was bi-polar.

I’m not, nor have I ever been diagnosed with it… but you know what I’m saying, right?

I had my thoughts fighting for me most days.

Its ironic when I look back on most of my dark days, because ever since I could remember

I’ve always been the girl who is full of life, the encouraging one, the one who see’s the world differently-better. The one who no matter what, stays hopeful.

I think there were moments God was just toying with me. Seeing how far he could push me until I cracked. Seeing where I would go aside from him for comfort. I could relive every bad moment that I had along the way in my mind. It’s rough. If you know anything about anxiety or depression–it is a monster. Like I said. A big monster that will try to steal every part of you, until you’re unrecognizable.

But don’t let it get you.

It doesn’t have to win.

It didn’t win with me.

God doesn’t let the monster win,

he never will.

So here’s to going after your dreams, no matter the battle.