Day 17: Return

Happy Sunday and Day 17 of Another 100 Days of Hannah, y’all!
Important question to start of the post today:
Do you consider Sunday the first or the last day of the week?
Not that that has anything to do with today’s discussion – just personal curiosity.
In any case, let’s get to blogging.
This morning, I have had quite a few different thoughts on what I could possibly blog about bouncing through my head.  I’m honestly not sure where to start with them (imagine that) – so, I guess I’ll just jump in.
Within the past several months, I’ve had the opportunity to move back to the area in which I grew up.
In a lot of ways, it’s been a blessing:
I’ve been able to spend time with my immediate (and slightly extended) family, despite the global pandemic.
I’ve been able to begin learning organ.
I’ve been able to see friends that I would otherwise have had to travel across the country to see.
The lower cost of living has allowed me to have a spacious yard and larger house that I would ever be able to afford in a city like Houston.
I’ve had the opportunity to begin teaching piano lessons.
I’m able to do lives with some of the little people that mean so much to me.
I have a solid job with, generally, awesome and flexible hours that allows me to work full-time while still pursuing other interests.
Traffic, even on the worst days, is a breeze.
I can go outside and walk and not see anyone! (Introvert highlights.)
And the list could probably keep going on.
But that’s not to say that it’s all been easy.
No, moving back home – as awesome as it sounds, has come with its fair share of difficulties.
It’s been hard to determine the appropriate boundaries.
  • This is my first time living around home for more than summer break or the occasional holiday since high school.  I’ve always felt like I should be around my family as much as possible when I’m home, but that’s complicated by trying to find the balance of living my own, generally independent, adult life as well.

It’s been hard relearning how to deal with personalities.

  • I’m a fairly stubborn introvert that likes to avoid conflict.  The rest of my family seems to carry that same stubborn streak.  And not all of them share my dad’s ability at neutralizing conflict.  Therefore, conflict, at some level, is common.  Like, a daily occurrence.  Which, for me, can be super stressful.
It’s been hard figuring out who…well, who I am. (This is the one that I’ve thought the most about today.)
Growing up, I was always the weird, awkward, unpopular, asocial kid who didn’t really know how to relate to other people.  (Or, at least that’s what I always felt like.)
I struggled (actually, still do) with small talk.
I felt awkward in group settings. (Still do that one too.)
I didn’t know anything about TV, movies, games, or pro/college sports.
I missed that memo about being interested in chasing guys and dreaming up weddings.
And so, I always felt like the odd kid out.
Sure, I played sports, was in band and choir, was involved in clubs, and was voted the most likely to be president, but I still felt like that kid – the one that never really fit… anywhere.
I’d like to say that that got better as I went through two rounds of college, but, in reality, most of the time that didn’t change.
I still struggled with small talk.
I still felt awkward in group settings.
I still didn’t know anything about any of the stuff the other kids talked about.
But, every time I moved to a new place or a new school, I at least had a fresh start – the chance to be whoever I wanted to be without all my history pulling up behind me and setting the stage before I could even get on the scene.
Over time, as I moved again… and again… and again… something started clicking.  I still wasn’t great with people, or talking, or not being awkward, but with each subsequent move, I began to find a little more of myself and lose a little more of who I had always believed myself to be.
Maybe I wasn’t the life of the party, but I could make people laugh and join with them in having fun.
Maybe I wasn’t great at socializing, but I could ask questions and carry on at least a little conversation.
Maybe I didn’t know anything about pop culture, but I could answer (almost) any question thrown my way about eyes.
Maybe I didn’t know how to introduce myself, but I could smile, and wish people the best as they went on with their day.
I’ll admit – it felt good (especially on the days that it worked well).
And then, I moved back home.
Where everyone knows my story.
Where everyone has seen me fail.
Where everyone remembers the little kid who, well, got it all wrong.
And it’s easy to feel trapped – trapped by experiences, trapped by expectations, trapped by the insecurity of the person I used to be.
It’s hard.
Some days, I can be afraid of going to church and not knowing how to start conversations with the other members.
Some days, it can terrify me to pick my little brother up at school, for fear that one of the teachers will see me, and talk to me, and I’ll just fall back into everything that I was.
Some days, I can dread going to the store and, maybe, seeing someone that I went to school with.  Having to talk to them.  Remembering how… inadequate, they made me feel.  Hearing their laughter on repeat in my head. Wondering if, maybe me moving back means I’m not… good enough.  Good enough to do something meaningful with my life.  Good enough amount to something.  Good enough to be more than that awkward kid sitting in the back.
I’ll admit – it can be easy to get stuck in this mindset, and become paralyzed by fear.
Which reminds me of this morning’s devotional:
The deadly sin associated with the enneagram type nine is sloth.  As I pondered this, I began thinking of what sloth looks like in my life.
Sometimes it’s inaction.
Sometimes it’s numbness.
Sometimes it’s procrastination.
Sometimes it’s direct avoidance.
Regardless of the outcome – the cause is the same: I fall into this deadly sin when I’m afraid, when I don’t trust.
When all I see is my weakness, rather than looking to the Father for His strength.
As a child who struggled with anxiety, my parents constantly poured the words of Philippians 4:13 into my life:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
In this verse, I am reminded that (thankfully) I don’t have to be strong enough.
I don’t have to have it all together.
I don’t have to be good enough.
But rather, I can face any situation and scenario with confidence, knowing that Christ has promised to be with me and strengthen me.
‘Til tomorrow,
Want to read more?  Here’s a link to my Day 17 post from 100 Days of Hannah.  Click the link to check it out!
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