Forgive me.

rainy tree

Everything in me tells me to run. Run far away, and try to forget.

Forget the pain. Forget the past. Forget him.

My knuckles are turning white, so I let go of the steering wheel and focus instead on trying to keep the tears inside my face. Composure is key, I try to tell myself, knowing that is just a lie. The last thing I want to do is go through those doors and face him, but there is nothing I want more than to have this behind me.

The guilt, torment, and sorrow hang heavy around my neck. I repented and prayed for forgiveness, but that necklace reminding me of my shame every time I look at my own reflection is a thick, heavy chain. And it hurts to wear every day.

Every link a different sin. Manipulation, control, physical gratification, selfishness, disrespect, dishonor… Anger. Bitterness. Lies…

Hot tears spill onto the clenched fists in my lap. Crap. I need to be strong!

No, you need to be weak. Let me be strong.

How can I even get the right words out? Nothing I say will be enough. With a failed engagement and tarnished purity between us, and most of it by my own doing, how can I stand before him and admit that in just a few months’ time, I had single handedly destroyed so much goodness in him that left his heart charred, bruised, broken, and trashed? Every word of accusation and disrespect that spewed from my mouth and every glare of disapproval and discouragement that left my eyes like a sharp sword had branded him like a hot, ugly iron. Every moment of red passion that I selfishly stole from him could not be returned.

Better that I turn around and leave. Let him hate me forever. I do not deserve what I am about to ask for.

No, you don’t deserve it. But it’s still the right thing to do. You will not regret this, I promise.

Isn’t His forgiveness enough? Is this really necessary? Shouldn’t I just try to forgive myself, forgive him, and move on? Yes, that would be so much easier.

Confess your sins to one another that you may be healed.

Healing… I want that, so badly. Even more than I want to run away.

Then it’s time.

Every step between my car and the front door feels longer and heavier than the one before it, and I am half a century older by the time I finally stand at the front desk, staring into his deep, brown eyes.

He is certainly bewildered by my presence after nearly two years of bitter separation, but he agrees to talk to me in private.

Fists shoved deep into my pockets, knees shaking uncontrollably, and my voice betraying every ounce of courage I struggle to muster up, I finally say it.

“I came here to tell you that I’m sorry.”

I can’t hold the tears back any more, so I quit trying. They flow down my cheeks and under my chin as the remorse pours out of my heart and through my mouth.

He is surprised, even humored at first, but his expression slowly hardens as he listens. Slowly even that melts away and the whites around his eyes turn red and shiny.

I cry and I talk until I am gutted out. The ugliness of my heart is before me, exposed for him to see. I wait and for a moment my heart catches in my chest, overcome with fear that those three words I so desperately crave will never come, but then he finally says it.

“I forgive you.”

The chain around my neck breaks and shatters on the concrete under my shaking feet. I realize I will never wear that chain again.

Alone in my car once more, I start to cry. This time, it’s different. This time, I’m free. And at long last, the healing process begins.

Confessions of an Extroverted Ambivert

meeting-mindsLast night I faced a tragedy. I was home, alone, by myself, with no one around me. Solitary. Single. Unaccompanied. Companionless. And I was facing 3 more nights of the exact same thing.

I thought I was going to die.

It was one of those nights when I was so lonely that I must have refreshed my Facebook feed every thirty seconds, CRAVING a new, enlightening post that I could like, or maybe even comment on! Now, ordinarily, I warmly accept a night such as this because they are few and far between. A few hours to veg out by myself are the perfect fix for my achiever soul. But when I have 4 nights in a row of unexpected alone time, it feels as if by the time I emerge again back into society I’ll have culture shock.

I stumbled across a page on BuzzFeed last night called “25 Frustrating Things About Being an Extrovert.” I forwarded the page to my mother (one of the two introverts in my extrovert family), who has no sympathy for my agony, in hopes that she might get a glimpse of why I need social interaction!

But sometimes I wonder if I’m not a true extrovert as the standard definition and stereotype goes. I think introverts stereotype extroverts as much as vice versa, and we are often seen as people who need to hog the microphone and the spotlight. In my case, that’s far from true. I love being around people but sometimes have nothing to say.

So, I did what I always do and took a personality quiz. Turns out, I’m an extroverted ambivert. Here are my confessions.

1. I charge up by being surrounded by people. This does not mean I always need to be the center of attention. (But honestly, when it happens I don’t mind it. :D)

2. The more to take in, the better I feel. Lights, sound, activity? Sign me up!

3. I am not a talker. More often than not, I prefer listening to talking and I get energy from hearing other people’s thoughts, opinions and ideas.

4. A full schedule makes me feel loved, needed, and appreciated, but when I don’t have enough time to shut down and sleep I feel stretched and overwhelmed.

5. I only need one evening to myself every 2-3 weeks (usually no more than 4-5 hours total) to wind down and rest.

6. I love telling stories and public speaking not because I enjoy talking, but because I enjoy feedback and responses from my “audience.” The words of affirmation as a response to something I said/did is much more fueling than my words/actions themselves.

7. When I am upset, talking to one person isn’t enough. I need to share with at least 3 people at separate times.

8. Sometimes I feel bad that I’m not as well-read as some of my introverted friends, but I can’t spare the time needed to read because…. well… it would take time out of being WITH that friend!

9. Yes, I talk with my hands. It’s more for my benefit than my listener’s. Drawing pictures with my hands helps me express what I’m thinking more clearly.

10. I prefer a focused, balanced conversation with one person at a time than a group discussion. My get-to-know-you skills are diminished when I have to compete for your attention with several other people (especially if you are an introvert).

So don’t be surprised if you find me at a party but I’m quiet and reserved. I’m having a great time, but sometimes it’s nice to be surrounded by people and activity and say nothing at all. 🙂

 

Well, that’s embarrassing.

I am in a season of life when I look back on what I put on my social media and I wonder what on earth I was thinking.

With the support of family and friends, I’m undergoing a makeover of sorts. Not the hair and nails makeover, but more of a wholesome “change my way of life” upgrade. It’s a time to dust off old hobbies, practice some new ones, and triumph over bad habits. (Some of my newest hobbies include photography, ukulele, and basket weaving. Just kidding about the last one… maybe.)

Luckily for me, my number one fan (other than my mom) is my SUPER-FANTASTIC boss! I shall call her Shannon, for that is her name. She’s the director of marketing, and she knows a few things about personal marketing too, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when she marched into my office, sat down, and said, “It’s time to go through your Facebook.”

Cringe.

It’s amazing how many photos I had to go through and how many got hidden or locked. There were PLENTY of bad hair, no makeup, funny face, “I-don’t-give-a-cheezit-what-I-look-like” photos that were honestly a little less than presentable. Some were so bad that the entire ALBUM got trashed. *sigh*

Seriously, if someone I didn’t know was browsing through my photos, they could totally peg me for a renaissance ballerina/punk/vampire/musician-wannabe with no taste in style or haircuts.

Exhibit A:

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Note the dark lipstick, the leotard, and black choker. This was clearly my Black Swan phase.

Exhibit B:

Is that a pretzel? Unfortunately for me, the punk rocker/young professional/hippy peace sign look doesn’t work.

Exhibit C:

I can only assume that I was having a seizure and thought it would be super cool to take a selfie at the same time. (And I will admit… this was in my bedroom. On my bed. Alone. And THIS is what I did with my time.)

So there you have it. Chances are, there will still be PLENTY of opportunities for terrible pictures to be taken, but hopefully next time I will think twice before publishing them for the world to see.

(Stay tuned for more “Project Emma” updates!)

I’m a size 16 and I’m not happy about it.

A rising trending topic is the subject of Beauty.

As any woman on Instagram or Pintrest will admit, we see images of women we deem more “beautiful” than us, perhaps due to a thinner waistline, a prettier pout, or more luxurious locks. And on the other side of the spectrum, there are warriors out there (Beauty Redefined) trying to help womankind by flooding media with messages that translate “You are beautiful the way you are. Don’t compare yourself. Magazine models are not real women.”

I’m in the middle of an inner conflict.

It’s not that I don’t understand or even disagree with the message of self-acceptance, or that I can’t believe that I’m beautiful, no matter what the size tag says. I know that I am beautifully and wonderfully made by a Creator who knit the world together – and He doesn’t make junk.

So why is it so hard to not cringe when someone tags me in a picture on Facebook when I wasn’t aware that my lower abdomen was pouching out? Why do I have to take 327 selfies to get just the right angle where my double-chin is minimized, my legs look longer, my belly seems flatter, and my hands don’t look like sausages? Basically, in my head, I see myself as this:

pam-ferris

I’ll admit it: I am a size 16, and I hate it. I hate clothes shopping and passing the sizes that fit me 4 years ago. Mirrors and cameras (in someone else’s hands) scare me.

And I’ll be double-honest, I think I’m prettier on the other side of my face. I generally like who I am and I believe that I’m good at things and that I’m intelligent. I just don’t like to look at myself.

So I took a reality check last night as I stared in the mirror. I was tempted to criticize my sagging curls, the circles under my eyes, and the little red spots that clutter my complexion, but I tried to look past all of that and see myself with love.

Here’s what I saw:

1. I have sincere and honest eyes (that change color! hey hey!).

2. My teeth are naturally white and straight, and my smile helps others be themselves.

3. My dimples (yes… the unfortunate adorable dimples) prove genuine joy.

4. My arms are a great length for hugs.

5. You will never catch my hair looking the same way twice – and I don’t have to do a thing to it.

6. I inherited my mother’s fabulous fingernails. (Seriously, they’re like my favorite. Not too short, not too skinny!)

7. The stretch marks… well. Let’s just say every stripe represents a delicious meal. And I rarely regret good food.

I’m still a size 16. I’m still not happy about it. But I do know that I am talented, intelligent, and resourceful with more to offer this world than an attractive profile picture. And as I hit the gym and the salad bar I will remember that my goal is not to achieve a standard set by the media and my peers but to be the best, healthiest version of myself I can be.

I am Emma. Hear me roar.

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I am not very good at starting things.

Probably because I am a perfectionist. I’m the type of person who hates trying new things because I’m afraid of not doing it right the first time. Empty journals fill a couple shelves of my bookcase due to my self-imposed idea that the opening entry should have fascinating, breath-taking, multi-million-dollar-movie-opening-line quality.

However, due to a desire to express, a drive to achieve, a dedication to better myself, and a little bit of peer pressure, I’ve finally bit the bullet and started this blog (after a month or two of trying to come up with just the right blog name. Hence, the name.)

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I never understood it when people would tell me that they spent their college years “discovering who they were.” As a teenager, I couldn’t figure out how one didn’t know one’s identity. It seemed like a pretty easy thing to know.

“I am Emma. I am female, prone to emotional outbreaks and clumsiness. Hide your cereal and milk. My hobbies are X, Y, and Z. Do not ask me to repeat this message.”

Although now that I am 21 and halfway through a bachelor’s degree, I totally understand.

I found online personality tests.

Suddenly, the answers were all there! Why am I this way? What are my strengths? My weaknesses? My relationship tendencies? All of these questions (and more) were answered right on my computer screen. And alarmingly, every time I took a test, the results were always pretty accurate.

Apparently, I am a Type A. My Myers-Briggs type is ESTJ. My strengths in leadership are Individualization, Strategic, Competition, Includer, and Activator (go here for the full list of strengths and their descriptions).

I can’t get enough! I love to study personalities, and not just my own. After I discovered my Myers-Briggs type, I had all of my coworkers and boss take the exam too, just so I could analyze how they operate.

At the end of the day though, I guess it doesn’t really matter. I’m the only me there is, and that’s more than enough for this world to handle.