Research

4:46 PM

I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom goes on as fruit.  
-Dawna Markova




I had to write research papers in college. Lots of them. I was a psychology major, so it was essentially my forte. It was not uncommon for me to begin writing my research paper, only to realize that the very research I had collaborated directly contradicted my thesis statement. I never forced my research to match my thesis, I simply changed my thesis. 

You see, for the past few months, I have essentially been writing a contradictory research paper for my life. I have been so adamant about having my life be right, stable, and attractive, that before I knew it-everything was wrong.

I have friends who live by routine. They faithfully work 9-5 jobs. They involve themselves in book clubs. They drive nice cars, and buy fancy furniture with matching foot rests. It is wonderful & attractive. It works well for them. And a part of me will always want that.

A few months ago, when I left Thailand, I desired to be the girl with a real job, a line of credit, a gym membership, a Netflix account. I wanted it so bad that I didn’t realize my very nature was fighting back, trying to tell me that the research didn’t add up. I was a year out of college, for goodness sake. I found myself consistently sad, anxious and unhealthily skinny. And one day, I woke up and tried to find a reason to stay in my unhappiness. It never occurred to me that the bravest decision would be walking away from the job opportunity I had waited for since I graduated.

Who had I become? My goal was never stability, it was growth. My soul was never made to spend hours watching senseless tv shows to escape my own loneliness. The girl I used to be would never let herself live like this. I came across my blog the other day. Through tears, I read post after post. And I began mourning the girl who wrote them. I began envying her courage, and her wisdom. I missed the way she saw life.

Two months into my monthly memberships & automated payments, I felt suffocated. I was ready to run. I wanted to sell all my newly bought Ikea fixtures and buy a plane ticket to anywhere with dirt or cobblestone streets. I wanted to knock on the door of a friend and ask if they had seen me, if they knew where I had gone? If they could remind me of that person? I unsubscribed to Netflix. I cancelled my gym membership (although, this may have been one of the more difficult feats of my life. Those 24 hr fitness people are relentless.) And most importantly, I quit my job. 

I felt empowered, courageous, but most of all, I felt true. I lived months of something that felt artificial, and I knew in the depth of my bones that it was wrong. But sitting at the airport, passport in hand, with my carry on as my footrest, I breathe. And for the first time in awhile, I feel like Madeline. I am finally supporting my thesis.

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3 comments

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  2. Okay so we've never actually met, but I've been following your blog since your Invisible Children days. I was really involved with them too and somehow found your blog in the midst of the Kony 2012 craziness. I really hope you don't think I'm weird for following along all this time. I just want you to know that your words have often comforted me and challenged me to reflect on my own life. And this post does even more than that -- it so perfectly describes everything I am feeling right now. I just graduated in May and am trying to figure out what to do next in life. I even went through some of my old pictures and had a very similar experience. I started to cry, mourning the loss of friendships and experiences (I miss IC!!!), and the person I used to be. I moved home and am currently not working, and I just now realized that choosing to do that was actually choosing to escape my own unhappiness (as you so poignantly put it). Anyways, I just wanted to thank you for putting my feelings into words and sharing them with the world.

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    1. Hannah, thank YOU for reading and for your sweet comment. I am humbled to hear that my words have done something for you. How comforting it is to know that we're not alone in all this. I wish you grace and adventure as you continue to navigate through post grad life & applaud you for your bravery

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