I wrote this back in 2009, not long after my birthday, wondering now where I was just then and what it all meant back then. Rereading these words now and they still ring true, though my mind calls up some new and different friends’ faces alongside some of the ones that I have known since back then. My heart still remembers the hurt though and I laugh a little at a much younger me, lamenting all the suffering and pain and loss I had already been through as if it had been so much. If only I knew what was to come. There was so much more still to come.

It was all of a much greater magnitude – those things to come. The good stuff, too though. Even that was greater in all the best ways. I used to wonder how I had found no way home. I never quite found the road that lead me to where I was supposed to be, yet I can say with confidence now that I did find that road and it’s right here on Brown Settlement, up in Manor, to this home on the top of the hill looking out over the horizon where I can sit on the porch and watch the sunset and know for the first time in my life what home truly feels like.

This is what I have been homesick for all these years. Home. Not just a house, or a farm, or a place to lay my head. A place to feel safe, to build dreams and imagine storybook endings and believe in magic and wander in my woods and marvel at all the wonder the world still has to offer. And I finally found it here. This is home.

Now it’s time to move forward while still nurturing these roots. The family I chose is all here, and life has so much more still to offer. After the past years, I think I am finally ready to look up more, smile more, believe more, and maybe even finally start to trust myself a little bit more, too.

I’m done chasing. I’ve learned that when I chase, all that happens is I push people away. So convinced of my own lack of self-worth, I felt I always had something to prove. Why wouldn’t I? I grew up always being told I was never enough, while always too much. Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not strong enough, not talented enough. If only I had been more… but then I was more. Too much. Too reckless. Too foolish, too trusting, too cocky, too strong, too talkative, too loud, too intense, too everything.

And so I became nothing.

I’ll tell you all my stories because it’s easier than telling you my hopes and dreams and fears. Especially my fears. I’ll have you believe I’m afraid of nothing but heights if you’ll let me. And my hopes and my dreams? For work, sure. Material stuff? No problem – as that doesn’t hold any real value anyway. Ask what I want out of life? Love? Time? No, no, I don’t have a story to spin on that one. Saying any of that out loud means you get to see my soul, and if you get to see more than I am willing to put as words on a page tucked safely behind a computer screen and Instagram vaguebook posts then you may get to really know me. And if you really know me, I can be hurt again, and hurt that I can’t turn into comedy just tears me apart from the inside. So I make a joke about it, dodge the meaningful questions, and tell you a story.

I’ll tell you where I want to travel, the kind of car I want to buy next, what my messed up childhood was like, how losing my best friend saved my life, how losing my father was both a blessing and a relief that I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around. How becoming a parent to two teenagers was the craziest, most spontaneous, and absolute best thing I’ve ever done – not because I am good at it (I still think I am awful but thanks to friends I am figuring it out). But because I didn’t stop for a second to think. I just DID. 

I trusted my gut and made a split second decision that forever changed the rest of my life. For the better. So much better. Even when it was incredibly hard, it was better because they were a part of this life with me. It’s incredible really how sometimes when you just trust your gut, your soul finds its way home.

I still spend a lot of time alone. In a career filled with public social posts, tagging brands and companies, profiles, and colleagues, peppered with work get togethers, happy hours, conferences, speaking engagements, and everything else that has me “always on,” I still spend a lot of time alone. In some cases it’s to rest and recharge. In others, it’s to quiet my mind which left to its own devices seems to keep going often to my detriment and self-doubts. And then I get stuck back to thinking too much, talking too much, and spinning my wheels in a way that just gets me in deeper with nothing while going nowhere. I know it’s futile, and I am spending less days stuck and more days forward again finally, and I think I am finally learning that “forward” doesn’t always mean you have to keep moving.

Sometimes the best way to move your heart and your soul forward is by just sitting still. Stop chasing. Stop screaming at the top of your lungs that you are worth it! That you ARE something! You ARE someone and you DO matter! Stop screaming so loud, laughing so hard, spinning your life story into a great comedy show that makes everyone laugh with you. Because if they are all laughing at your misfortune with you, they don’t have to feel sorry for you, and you don’t ever ever ever feel sorry for yourself so of course why not laugh? Who doesn’t like to laugh?

There are other things to laugh at, too. Good times with friends. Beers and whiskey around the campfire while smoke chases you wherever you sit and your eyes tear and you can’t tell if it’s from the campfire smoke or laughing so hard. It’s a combination of both, really.

I am smiling more these days, and not just when I am out with people, or out alone people watching and sitting by myself at the end of the bar with my laptop working because I just can’t bear to go home to an empty house again when the kids have plans. The silence doesn’t echo so loudly in my ears these days. I ride around the state park for hours on end saying nothing, seeing no one, and just listening to nature and the sounds of my horse’s hoof beats against the trails and catch myself smiling for no reason. Or all the reasons in the world.

That will keep happening more. I believe that. Time alone will always be sacred to me, and a key part of my sanity. It’s finding that balance between withdrawing all together versus having every day and every weekend and every moment packed so full with life that I forget to even stop and breathe that’s a challenge. I am getting better at it. I am not planning weekends, or even weekdays other than general work stuff and deadlines and big things like graduation parties. The rest I am not chasing. I am here. I am home. I am still homesick for someone to see me as not too much, and always enough, but I am lucky that I had that once as a kid in two amazing friends who always had my back, and I do believe if nothing else, there is the possibility of finding that again in some way even if it’s not the way I imagined. Though maybe it will be. As long as there is the possibility, I will always believe it can happen for me.

And so, as I said 13 years ago, this time heading into what I have every intention of making #thesummerofourlives, I again exclaim, “let the wild rumpus start!” as I head off into the forest where the wild things are to camp out in that clearing and wish on the stars. Come find me if you like, I’m right here, not chasing anything, not even dreams anymore, because I believe that everything is right here falling into place and the people that want to be a part of all of this will find me if they want me in their lives. Just know I want you here, too. I love you all, thank you for always being there for me. Let’s go make magic together this year, and for years to come.

Cjmillar82 life without a paddle find me

__________ original blog 10/13/2009 below ______________

sometimes i wonder if it’s really that hard to understand. that hard to communicate. that hard to deal, grasp, and move on. i’ve suffered great losses, and lived through great triumphs, and each one has taught me a lesson. i’ve learned what death means, how it truly is a celebration of life, how mourning is okay, and how when you really think no one understands, someone does.

i’ve learned that when the days are harder than they have seemed to be in years, i’ve been blessed to have friends for all lives here – friends that aren’t just here and now, but friends that will be here through many lives. friends that have left and returned, and friends that are newer and have made their way into the core of my life. these are the friends that are with us, not just this life, but through lives, and i’m grateful for mine that they would be so brave as to be there for me not just in the good times, but also in the bad. to move on and move forward and be willing to leave the past behind. to be there when i need a shoulder to cry on, or to just be there and let me cry by myself sometimes.

it’s times like these and friends like these that make the victories sweeter, the triumphs more glorious, and the dreams we wish for a reality. i’m so lucky and so blessed and i promise to never ever take that for granted. and then i still wonder why it’s that hard. why IS it that hard? to understand and deal and just be yourself? there are people who get this, but then others who seem to just not….and i wonder. what gives? where is the reality in that? why can’t i find someone that i can just talk to and be myself with? why can’t i just end up wherever it is that i’m supposed to be anyway? i can see all of this ahead, i can know so much of where i am to go. but still there are so many answers and no road home, and it’s frustrating.

i wonder if i loved wrong. or if i chose wrong. the heart wants what the heart wants, right? what if my heart wanted wrong? what if the love of my life already passed? what if i’m waiting for too much, or held on too long, or lost my way when i let go so long ago? what if then? or this? or here? or now? what next?

i just don’t know.

i do know that it is hard. and i do know that these are friends for all ages, and all lives, that no matter what else is hard, i have friends that will help make it easier. i know what it’s like to feel lost and feel loved, and i’m happy to be in the latter more often than not these days. i’m happy to be able to return the love – if not to one soul, at least to many souls close to me that help make this life so much better and help me look forward to all that is yet to come.

and there is magic on the horizon and change on the winds. i could smell it on the brisk fall air the way i always do this time of year. the leaves are changing and autumn is all around. there’s ways to other imaginations through this path in the woods where i live, and i know where i’ll be this friday. under the stars in a boat to a land where the wild things are. with friends for all lives. making memories to last this life into the next. and with that i say, let the wild rumpus start!

Let the wild rumpus start CJ Millar life without a paddle