My Love Life
This photo took my breath away as I scrolled through. It is exactly how I want my New Year to feel: deep, rich, lush, and generous—and also humble, earthy, and nurturing. Full of simple beauty and the coziness of home.
I'm so ready for simple.
You might remember my words from November, about overwhelm. I wrote:
Today, I’m tired of writing. I’m tired of making little graphics to post on things when I write something new. I’m tired of optimizing images for the web.
It always feels risky to share this sort of thing because, after all, no one is making me do it. But there are rules, you see, like being consistent, and staying “on brand,” and many others that I'm terrible at anyway.
The truth is, I'm still tired of it. I've run out of words. I'm tired of “branding.” I'm tired of second-guessing every Instagram post because my feed won't look consistent if I post certain things. I'm tired of trying to navigate social media. I mean, can we talk about Instagram for a minute? I got on Instagram back when it was still a paid platform and fell.in.love. It was PERFECT. They broke it when they stopped doing chronological feeds. They made it worse with an ad after every 3 posts.
I'm so tired of the commercialism of everything.
Did you know that #boho is a banned hashtag on Instagram? I'm not even kidding. Using it can get you banned / shadow-banned. (Read more here, here, and here. Warning...some words are banned because they are awful, so view the lists with discretion. But #desk? #Brain? Come on!)
I've used #boho in most of my posts.
Mastering social media seems like some cult-like club where only those in the elite know the rules and they laugh at us who awkwardly try to play along. Isn't there more to life than staying on top of the latest social media guidelines? The energy it takes. The worry. (Is my new Insta name going to get me banned? What if I use a hashtag they don't like?) It's like serving a demanding & high-maintenance beast that sort of promises you community and maybe some future business if you play nice.
Isn't there more to life than using the right Instagram hashtags?
Welp, Hillary, if ya don't like it, you don't have to stay. (Don't use #welp. It's banned.)
I know. I think I'm hanging onto a thread of nostalgia...and of hope. Remember when Instagram was about connection? When it wasn't so commercialized? When you could meet really cool folks, share from your heart and be inspired without being interrupted by a Chick-fil-a ad or wondering if you're shadow-banned?
I'm in an Instagram flux right now. I'm starting a new account as an experiment and we'll see how it goes. I prefer to focus on what I can change (me & my content) rather than what I can't (algorithms, ads, & banned things).
But believe it or not, though, I'm not here to talk about Instagram.
What I really want to tell you is that I've chosen my word for the year: L O V E.
I resisted, because cliche, much?
But it's simple and essential. I desperately need to be in my body this year. I need to be in my home this year. I need to be live & in person as much as I can while making social media and “being online” work for me as a quiet & highly-sensitive creative entrepreneur who is weary from branding & the rules & everything.
But deeper, and more on point, I want to embody love in ways that transform lives and souls. For me this looks like how I love God and love others. How I love my gorgeous and faithful husband. How I love my body and my home. How I love my art and my work.
I call 2019 my Year of Love. Not that love is confined to 365 days, but because I want to lay a foundation for the remainder of my life that is rooted in the purest kind of love, one that is humble, generous, gracious and wise. I want to become a true, God-fearing lover, and what this looks like when boundaries are needed and when I need to say “Yes” or “No,” or when love means something different to me than it does to the culture, society and world we live in.
Welcome to my love life.
“2018 is ending. Another year in my rather eventful life of decisions, mistakes, successes, learning, love, and circumstances I can’t control. Life is a rare thing, the odds of me being able to speak at all is a testament to the amazing opportunity we’re given.
“Life was not something we chanced upon or asked for, we were put here, my spirit, your spirit—they have purpose. I used to wonder all the time about the meaning of life; I’d get angry over it, debate about it, I’d argue that it all felt random, and unfair and unjust. Then, then I’d be sad, and quiet, and hidden away I would wonder without confidence, I’d be fearful and curious, questioning how I could be here.
“My purpose quickly became apparent, and it changed often, I’m meant to be here as long as I’m allowed. My spirit is full and shines ever-onward in an explosion of tiny decisions I make every day. I choose who I am, what I follow, and still, my purpose far outweighs those decisions, far outweighs even me, or my life.
“I do my best everyday to be a good person by the standards He set up for me, not by much else. Success in a material world, I’ve had it. Failure in an emotional one, I’ve been it. Broken in a moral one, I’ve done it. Grace in a spiritual world, I’m an example of it. Nothing has ever gratified me so much as sacrificial love, love that doesn’t measure or count, it doesn’t argue or accuse, love is not time or memories made, its an everyday constant we choose or choose not to embody. It is for everyone outside of us, even those we really feel at odds with, even when we doubt, feel shame, or even hate ourselves...
“As you go into 2019, I ask that you take with you just what you need, and look back constantly to learn from, grow, and love stronger. You came into this world crying and screaming, fearful maybe, though sure, you came into it. And here you are, given another moment to choose how you go on, how you live and feel. You didn’t know coming in, and you might not know going out... So use the indefinable in-between to live the best you possibly can. There’s enough time to be fearless, but not enough time to be afraid, choose this day which you’re gonna serve.”—Christian Watson, @1924us