john green

Things Change

“Nothing ever happens the way you imagine it will… but if you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all.” - John Green

Things change. People change. We learn and grow and adapt to our surroundings. We’re constantly growing either together or apart from the people around us. We shift our opinions and ideals all the time. Change is inevitable and consistent. Lately I’ve been in a great season of change.

In the last 4 months, I’ve been following the ketogenic diet and have lost 54 pounds. I’ve stopped consuming junk food and soda and pretty much everything that tastes good. Self-discipline has enriched (and probably lengthened) my life in many areas, but I think a part of change is pain.

I can remember being a teenager laying in ben at night unable to sleep because my legs literally hurt from growing. If you’re growing (personally // physically // emotionally// spiritually), then there’s probably going to be some pain associated with it. If you’re not being stretched, then you’re probably not growing…

I’ve also been experiencing some relational changes. I know that off the bat, that immediately sounds like a bad thing, but I’ve found that my relationship with my sister for example, has never been stronger. Sure, there’s some people that I’ve grown distant with, but I’ve also found such a love for my community of friends and people I work with. Nothing changed with them. The change took place in me.

A while back I decided to focus on intentionality. Maybe that sounds redundant but it’s true. Perhaps the main reason people grow apart is due to a lack of intentionality. Like I don’t talk to 99% of the people I spent 12 years of school with because there was no intentionality behind it. We simply were the same age and had the same schedule.

Much of my intentionality has been focused on my own personal/spiritual growth. I have a great appreciation for people who will risk hurting your feelings by pointing of your blind spots. It’s imperative to have a community of people around you that you can trust to wound you with honesty. That’s how growth takes place. I believe that more than that, you should strive to be someone who welcomes feedback as much as possible, and learns to take that feedback, and make changes that reflect that feedback.

Another change that I’m still working through as far as intentionality goes, is with my father. I’ve been intentionally texting him first, asking how he’s doing, trying to get to more “substance”. I’ve come to realize that the health of our relationship (while not how it’s supposed to be), will likely be reliant on me. Considering that Im the one who reached out to him, I suppose it seems fitting. Even in little things like texting, which may not seem like a big deal to you if you grew up with a father, but for me- it’s nerve-racking every single time. But each time, it gets a little easier. Because I know WHY I’m doing it.

I’m learning to embrace change. To learn and grow from it. Change is real and it’s useless to resist it. Life is full of changes that you can’t possibly fight. Maintain your focus, and live with intentionality. It’s when you get complacent that a change can really shake you. The hit that will knock you down is the hit that you don’t see coming. But if you can learn to expect and embrace changes, whether good or bad, you’ll be amazed at where those changes can take you.

The First Draft

"Tell stories to your friends, and pay attention to when they get bored." - John Green

   I started this project just 13 days after moving in with a new roommate, and since then, he's not seen much of me. I've spent any and all "free-time" I've had working on this film. So I was so excited when I got up from my desk, came out to the living room and said, "It's done! Well, for the most part." 

    I remember sitting on the floor of our apartment when the idea of this whole thing hit me. We were suffering through the 1977 version of Pete's Dragon, which is just unbearable to watch, and I told him I had an idea for a movie. Today (June 22- yes, these are backdated!) the first person I ever told about this film got to see it finally come to fruition. 

    As a creative, there have been countless projects that I've started and never finished. In fact, just a few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me to send over the draft of a book we'd started more than 3 years ago. I've got three unfinished music albums collecting dust in folders on my computers; needless to say, I've not great at finishing. But... Today I finished!! If you're wondering when or where you can see it, well there's a few things that need to happen first.

    First, I'm going to reserve a small room to hold a private screening of people I trust; some close friends and film industry contacts to get their opinions on it, and then I'll go back and re-edit whatever I need to. Next, I'll be having an actual in-a-freaking-movie-theatre premiere of Searching For Saint Joseph! From there, it will be available online, with priority access to those who gave to the IndieGoGo campaign. 

    All this to say- I'm genuinely proud of myself for finishing this, and I'm forever grateful for each and every one of you. This film is by no means perfect, but I'm so very proud to bring it to you, and I know this is only a stepping stone for bigger things. 

    

3 Thoughts on Vulnerability...

"Vulnerability is the glue that holds relationships together." - Brene Brown

    Let's be honest. No one wants to hear about vulnerability from anyone who isn't Brene Brown. That's fair. But if you would, humor me and read a few brief things I've felt are worth sharing. Also, not only feel free to, but please comment on this and let me know your thoughts on vulnerability. I really want this blog to become a conversation.

 

1. We All Have Blind Spots

    Being vulnerable doesn't (for me personally) mean sharing every detail of your life with everyone you meet. I can be a pretty closed-off person, and I am very selective of the people I let into my "circle". The problem I found was that I wasn't being open, or vulnerable, with even those few. At some point, you'll have to recognize that the people you've chosen to surround yourself with have your back. If you don't have people that you can be real with, then you don't have good friends. It's that simple. I've been discovering more and more the importance of community and it's changing my life for the better. 

    When you have people in your corner who want the best for you and want to see you succeed, they'll speak into your life and make you aware of things that you otherwise would miss. Since letting people in, I've found that I'm more willing to fight for myself. If all you do is ignore how you feel, good, bad or indifferent, you'll never see you own worth and value. Sometimes it takes a bird's eye view from someone else to see what you've been missing all along.

 

2. Let The Light In

    I've been more vulnerable and have had more difficult, yet necessary, conversations in the last two months than ever before in my life. I rather dislike confrontation and have managed to avoid it for most of my life. The problem is that avoiding something doesn't make it go away. It most certainly doesn't resolve anything. For a long time, I held this belief that time heals all wounds. Unfortunately that isn't true. If left untreated, time will only cause a wound to fester and become far worse than it was to begin with. What heals wounds is light and air. I feel like this is best summarized by John Green in his book Paper Towns...                                                             

"When did we see each other face to face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade, but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out."             

    Of course it's uncomfortable, but so is never being able to be a whole person. I've learned the hard way not to shove down your emotions. Eventually it builds up and becomes fear and discouragement and animosity and pain. So do yourself and everyone around you a favor and allow trusted people to see you. I mean really see you.

 

3. Vulnerability Is Not Weakness

    This is something I've wrestled with for a long time. I grew up with a mother who cared too much, and a step-dad who didn't care enough. What I witnessed from a young age is that when you care, when you're vulnerable, you allow yourself to be hurt. You open yourself up to disappointment. You open yourself up to heart-break. By age 10, I'd seen my mother weep more times than I could count. I think subconsciously, I'd begun to close myself off to people because I didn't want to be hurt. What I've come to realize, is that if you close yourself off to other people, eventually you'll begin closing yourself off to your own self. This is such a dangerous place to be.  Sure, you avoid being hurt, but you'll eventually avoid being cared for as well. You have to decide if it's worth it.

    I feel like I'm in a place now that I'm able to talk openly about how I'm feeling with people. Not a lot of people, but ones who I know truly care. This certainly has not made me a weak person. In fact, I've never felt like a stronger, more wholesome person. Vulnerability is not for the weak, it's for the humble. it's for people who come to a crossroads and say, "This isn't working. I can't do this on my own." My hope is that you are able to find community with people who are willing to fight for you, and who will challenge you to fight for yourself.

 

    Below is a section for comments. I'm curious to know your personal journey involving vulnerability. You can comment anonymously if you'd like. Just know that I am for you, and I am here for you. We can let the light in together.