Over the past few weeks as many of my blog readers (aka friends and family) know, I’ve been experiencing some writer’s block. Now for most people, and me included most of the time, this wouldn’t mean anything. I’ve gone years with writer’s block and didn’t bat an eye. But what I think has made this entire situation the most frustrating is that I’ve wanted to write. I’ve wanted to say so much, but didn’t know how.
*dramatically curses and contorts face*
As I was walking up an incredibly gigantic mountain, kicking myself for not just calling a taxi to take me to this so called “wonder of Spain” I realized, or what I think I realized rather, is that sometimes words need to go through a storm of processing before they can be articulated on a page (or computer screen for that matter).
And with that… I thought. And I let the storm rage. Ugly crying while you’re walking on the side of the road is always a great picture of yourself for people passing by in their magical and beautiful coches. #mymusclesarecryingmore.
It should be said that this past weekend I randomly decided to solo travel to Bilbao, Spain. I needed the time away and I had a hankering to see Spain’s equivalent to the “Great Wall of China”
Tucked away about an hour outside of Bilbao is a small town called Bakio and 6km up and down a mountain is this beautiful wall that leads up to a tiny cathedral in the middle of the ocean.
Sounds like it would be amazing? It was. The pictures don’t justify the beauty, but it truly was worth the walk.
As my legs were sweating tears of pain, I kept thinking about patterns. I kept thinking about the patterns that, as of recent, have been occurring in my life in so many ways—personal and professional. As I was thinking about these things and getting frustrated with them individually, I kept thinking about my grandma’s lesson that “a friend is always a need answered” and my mother’s advice of “you need to take of your inner Makenna”
Which reminded me of a story.
While I was in high school, much like a lot of prepubescent teenagers, I was hopping from friend group to friend group, not necessarily fitting into one specific one, but also…not-NOT fitting in either. It’s a weird combination, which is what high school is mainly about. Being weird.
High school was the time to be weird by trying to fit in, find out what we liked to do and of course try to survive. I had a great high school experience, I wouldn’t go back to that time period for even a second, but it was fun while it lasted (ask me about college and I would pay my life-savings to go back #jkIcant #mizzouhasallmymoney)
In high school, I was never the type to latch onto any group, any friend or any boy for long. I never was good at sticking to one thing. Yet, my senior year of high school, I had a group of friends that I loved. They were funny, strange, and incredibly loving. They were my need answered while I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
It was during this time that I had started talking to a boy that I had met over the summer. At the time we were talking, I thought nothing about him. I wasn’t interested in him in a romantic setting…I just liked him as a friend. However this was also the time that everyone was boyfriend obsessed. It was the fashion to wear your boyfriend’s hoodie, football jersey and to have a secret nook around the school to make-out.
I remember inviting my boy-friend to homecoming that year (he was a year older) just because I thought it would be fun however, I remember my friends descending on me. The questions about if I was interested or if I wanted to date him were relentless. I even ended up loosing a friend over it…#highschoolCANbebrutal.
It was a crazy time. What I remember the most was the night of homecoming after the dance had ended. We all were at my house in the basement, my date included. After that night, I knew in my gut I didn’t like this boy romantically regardless of what my friends had said, but I didn’t know what to do (when you are 17 you just don’t) I don’t know if it had been planned before, but my lovely friends decided to play the game Truth or Dare. It should be noted that I hate this game and my friends knew it. But yet, here we were playing this game and of course, I ended up having to kiss my date.
Needless to say, as all juvenile stupid parties go, by the end of the night I supposedly was “dating” my date to homecoming (after the kiss, he texted me, “do you want to do this?” I promptly responded, “Do what!?” and he said, “Date.” He was sitting right across from me. The innocence of high school! #daysbeforetinder). Every part of me knew this wasn’t what I wanted, but I felt the pressure from my friends and I felt like I had to do it.
To make a long story short, I ended up dating this friend for two months. He lived farther away from me, so I was able to have time between seeing him. I remember it was during those two months that I kept having this sinking feeling that this wasn’t right. I shouldn’t feel this way. It was then that my mom told me, “you have to check-in with your inner Makenna. How does she feel?”
I remember rolling my eyes at her because she was my mom and I was in high school #poormothers. But, I took her advice. I checked-in with myself and realized I didn’t want this and I need to get out of it. That evening I called him and was broken up within the hour. My insides stopped rolling over and I was free. Sadly, I had to return the sweatshirt #RIP.
I tell this story for a few reasons. The main not being that I like talking about my tragic love life, but rather, my friends were my need answered at the time, but I also learned to listen to my “inner” friend as well.
These past seven months abroad, I have fell in love with the friends that I have here. They are amazing in every way. Brilliant, caring, fun, and supportive people some of that I know I will keep for life. But, during this time, I have also been faced with a load of issues. I have had to grow up these past few months and make adult decisions; it’s been terrifying at times! And as much as I love my new friends (and my old ones as well, I promise!), the one aspect that I’ve had to constantly remind myself, is that I need to check-in with myself first.
Walking up, down, up and down that mountain last week, I reveled in the time to be able to think. To let those words that had been trapped in my brain for the past few weeks, rage on and sort themselves out. I checked in with myself and I made sure the “inner” Makenna was not depending too much on the advice that was being thrown her way #nomorethirdpersonpromise
The point is this. I have always cherished the friends that I have in my life and I have always valued (the good ones’) advice. I enjoy listening to people’s points of view and they have good advice! It’s good to get a second opinion in medical issues, why not those important decisions in your life as well! But what we all have to remember is that the only person who knows our heart is you. The words and feelings are swirling in your mind, not your friends’. Take time to sort them out.
My advice is get out. Solo traveling is a dream. It gives you a chance to be by yourself, clean up your brain and decide what you want to do with the issues that you are faced with. You are incredibly smarter than you think. Listen to your friends, but also listen to yourself. If the two are contradicting, choose yourself, turn down the outward advice…if they are true friends, they will stop and love you even if they have to say “I told you so” in the end.
Sometimes it makes us better people to make mistakes on our own and sometimes our decisions provide wonderful chances that we would’ve missed out on if we listened to the advice.
Take my brilliant mother’s advice and listen to your inner self. Never play Truth or Dare. Be strong. Be reflective. But mostly, be you.