The Mountain Is Cold, But The View Is Stellar

The Mountain Is Cold, But The View Is Stellar

A tribute to what Charles Frazier's 'Cold Mountain' has taught me about the advantages of heartache

"I know people can be mended. Not all, and some more immediately than others. But some can be. I don't see why not you." -Goatwoman, "Cold Mountain"

If you know me then you know Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain is one of my favorite books; if you don't know me, well, now you know. It takes place in the middle of the Civil War where strife and heartache wove itself into the everyday conversation of Americans all over the country. It's a tale of romance, heartache, sacrifice, patriotism, and independence.

As someone who has recently felt the low strum of heartbreak, I have found myself searching in my own time for a way to sort through these emotions. I sit now in my favorite hometown coffee shop, when a conversation I am having suddenly reminds me of a quote I have held onto for the last four years, "That's just pain," she said. "It goes eventually.

And when it's gone, there's no lasting memory.

Not the worst of it anyway. It fades. Our minds aren't meant to hold onto the particulars of pain the way we do bliss. It's a gift God gives to us, a sign of His care for us."

As I sit in this coffee shop, wanting more than anything to crawl under my covers and binge watch Netflix, my favorite book has forced me to focus. I have been forced to zoom out and remember how small I am in comparison to this Universe, how menial my temporary pain is in the grand scheme of things. How much I have to be thankful for.

Maybe it's best to remember, certainly not the events which it caused, but the pain itself. To reminisce about heartache because it can't last. It can't. Sure, there will be times when the walls feel like they're crumbling like you can't breathe. Like you're completely isolated in a room full of people. You will question and doubt and shout at God and ask why this is happening to you.

That's okay.

And it's okay to enjoy long walks downtown, to feel the cold air snag the breath in your lungs, to enjoy sunsets, and starry nights, and quaint coffee shops with killer cappuccinos. It's okay to drive with the windows down at midnight and the radio dial up as far as it will go and shout until there is nothing left in the world.

It's okay to write poetry until your hands can't move and there are no words left in the English language to describe the chaos in your brain. It's okay to cry until your body can't possibly produce any more tears.

"You’re left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on, or not. But if you go on, it’s knowing you carry your scars with you.” Pain is sometimes a side effect of being bold--so is happiness, adventure, and love.

Don't live a life with regrets.

Don't be afraid to love people and love them with everything you have because you will be better because of it. Do things that scare you. Go places that intrigue you. Be a coach, or a diplomat, or an anthropologist, or a scientist, or a stay at home mom. Find what sets your soul on fire and never let it go. Search until home, is not a place, but the smile you wake up to every morning. It's there. Robert Frost is right--we have many miles to go before we sleep.

Cover Image Credit: Eberhard Grossgasteiger

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Making Your Life A Happy One, Even If You've Forgotten Who You Are

You don't find the happy life, you make it.

It's so easy to forget who we are when we're constantly running around writing essay after essay and meeting with this group for that project and trying to complete all the assignments in between. College is one of those places where you can find yourself one day and completely lose yourself the next. In some ways, there's beauty in this, that you can be someone new each and every day but in the moment it can be frustrating to feel like you're regressing from the person you were yesterday.

Along with losing myself and forgetting who I am quite often, I've noticed I forget that I am so young a lot. I'm only 18 years old. I have lifetimes ahead of me and sometimes I notice that I feel like this is the summation of my life, obviously untrue. I think we get so caught up in trying to control every part of our lives that we forget that this is still our youth and it's okay to not take things so seriously and its equally as okay to do things you want to do, just because you want to. It's so very important at this stage of life to make time for things that make us happy, make time for personal growth and becoming the person you want to be, and trying new things.

A lot of people become numb to the emotions and experiences life places in front of them every single day, I've personally caught myself doing this in the past, which is one of the worst things someone can do. You're missing out on your own life, day in and day out, simply because you're not experiencing it you're just coasting through it. This is such a terrible way to live each and every day, especially in a stage of life where new things and people are coming your way every single day.

It is so important to actually live, not just exist.

Too often we find ourselves overwhelmed and taken over by the stressors of the world, our mind forcing us to miss out on everything around us. But, I encourage you to see your life for what it really is. Find beauty in your every day and the little things that surround you. Maybe that beauty is found in the birds that sing every morning outside your dorm window or maybe the cute text your best friend sent you this afternoon; wherever you find your beauty I encourage you to find it. Life becomes so beautiful when we look at all the things we enjoy in life, look at your life like its beautiful.

And if you can't find any beauty, which would be almost impossible, it's never too late to completely rearrange your life. Switch something up. Try something new. Live your absolute best life, because at the end of the day the one who has to be absolutely in love with it is you.

You don't find the happy life, you make it.

Cover Image Credit: Pxhere

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You Must First Learn How To Save Yourself

They are not the light at the end of the tunnel, you are.

People gravitate towards one another when they believe they will find solace in that other person. While this can sometimes be true, more often than not, when two damaged people come together, they realize it is not enough. They have been torn, stabbed, shrunk by someone else and the solutions they are seeking only causes more toxic fumes to leak out. They seek more from the other person than that person can give. People expect rainbows and butterflies and when something goes wrong they don't wanna put in the work to try and fix it.

No one person can save you, you have to help yourself first and then if someone special comes along, they can add to you, but you can’t expect prince charming to come and rescue you from the dragon.

They are not your answer, they are not the light at the end of the tunnel, you are.

Many times when people fall into a depression of not knowing who they are or what they want out of their life at that point, they try to find someone to “fix” it. Whether it be a broken bone or broken heart, we all fall down from different triggers. Unfortunately, this is a common theme in those who are down in life. If they are let down by someone they acquired strong emotional attachments to they go into a sort of depression.

When we are in love with someone we often fall into a cycle; this is why love gets so comfortable. The problem with these cycles is that you get so comfortable you don’t notice if something is wrong and if/when you do realize, you choose to ignore it. Rupi Kaur writes in her poetry collection, "Milk and Honey," “Neither of us is happy but neither of us wants to leave, so we keep breaking one another and calling it love”. These cycles are the reason toxic relationships exist. Love, fight, break up, get back together and so on.

From personal experience, I know that it is way easier said than done to get away from all that. Change is scary and when you get into a rhythm with that person, breaking that chain is difficult. Love is like a drug. That other person. The person who makes them feel safe and happy even if the bad times outweigh the good. When those bad times happen, it’s not that we don’t see it, maybe we just choose to look past them. We get so addicted to having that other person that people can go through literal withdrawal from that specific person if they decide to leave. Especially in relationships or close friendships where they end poorly and you can go from seeing a person 24/7 to not seeing them at all.

A person cannot save you.

We are all human and need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of another person.

It’s like on the airplanes when the oxygen masks come down and you’re supposed to put yours on first and then help those around you. We cannot expect another person to put our mask on for us. We must learn to take care of ourselves before we can help others.

From someone who spent many years in a relationship that I later found out was partly with me because he was convinced he needed to be. I was set free when he finally got up the nerve to leave and I realized how to love myself.

In the great words of Nayyirah Waheed “You not wanting me was the beginning of me wanting myself. Thank you.”

This quote radiates through my mind every time I start to think about how I could be better with a man but that is simply not true. Since then, I have learned how to love myself and start spreading that love to others. I learned that you can not count on one person to be the source of your happiness, you must make sure you love yourself first.

Dear you,

Fall in love with yourself just like you fell in love with him. You are going to be so much more than “enough” for someone someday. When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide you didn’t. You can walk past and steal a glance, but don't stare. Don't let them know they hurt you, don't let them in. If you treat them like a king or queen but they prefer to be a peasant then let them go feed the pigs instead. You have a full ballroom awaiting your arrival.

Cover Image Credit: Shayna Rosenberg

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