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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An Open Letter To The Girl Trying To Get Healthy Again

"I see you eating whatever you want and not exercising" - Pants

Dear girl trying to get back in shape,

I know it's hard. I know the hardest thing you may do all day is walk into the gym. I know how easy it is to want to give up and go eat Chicken McNuggets, but don't do it. I know it feels like you work so hard and get no where. I know how frustrating it is to see that person across the table from you eat a Big Mac every day while you eat your carrots and still be half of your size. I know that awful feeling where you don't want to go to the gym because you know how out of shape you are. Trust me, I know.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Trying To Lose Weight In College

The important thing is you are doing something about it. I'm sure you get mad at yourself for letting your body get this out of shape, but life happens. You have made a huge accomplishment by not having a soda in over a month, and those small changes are huge. I understand how hard it is, I understand how frustrating it is to not see results and I understand why you want to give up. Being healthy and fit takes so much time. As much as I wish you could wake up the day after a good workout with the 6 pack of your dreams, that just isn't the reality. If being healthy was easy, everyone would do it, and it wouldn't feel so good when you got there.

Remember how last January your resolution was to get back in the gym and get healthy again? Think about how incredible you would look right now if you would have stuck with it. The great thing is that you can start any time, and you can prove yourself wrong.

Tired of starting over? Then don't give up.

You are only as strong as your mind. You will get there one day. Just be patient and keep working.

Nothing worth having comes easy. If you want abs more than anything, and one day you woke up with them, it wouldn't be nearly as satisfying as watching your body get stronger.

Mental toughness is half the battle. If you think you are strong, and believe you are strong, you will be strong. Soon, when you look back on the struggle and these hard days, you will be so thankful you didn't give up.

Don't forget that weight is just a number. What is really important is how you feel, and that you like how you look. But girl, shout out to you for working on loving your body, because that shit is hard.

To the girl trying to get healthy again, I am so proud of you. It won't be easy, it will take time. But keep working out, eating right, and just be patient. You will be amazed with what your body is capable of doing.

Cover Image Credit: Stock Snap

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I've Been To Hell And Back, But Now That I'm Out, I'm Damn Proud Of Myself

For the first time, I can say I'm happy and mean it.

My life has been anything but easy. It seemed like I could never catch a break. One thing after another after another.

I must’ve pissed off someone somewhere in another life because the amount of shit that has been thrown at me is a little overwhelming.

Granted, some of it was my own doing but not always.

I didn’t mean to be stuck in an emotionally abusive household for the greater portion of my life.

I didn’t mean to be in a toxic relationship for two years.

I didn’t mean to get kicked out of my house.

I didn’t mean to never be allowed on the property I grew up in ever again.

I didn’t ask for any of that, but life stuck her middle finger up at me and did it anyway.

And for the longest time, I blamed myself. Growing up I was always wrong. I was never allowed to defend myself because if I did I was being “disrespectful” or “giving attitude.”

The result was an extremely self-destructive young girl.

I self-harmed and acted out in any way I could. Partly out of spite and partly because I needed to have some sort of resemblance of control over my own life.

Everything I did was controlled by a man I had the unfortunate pleasure of living in the same house with.

At one point he controlled what I wore, because yes, clothes are a privilege.

I bounced from one emotionally abusive relationship to the next. Where again what I wore and who I was friends with was controlled by a boy who I, at the time, thought was the love of my life.

But pretty eyes and strong arms couldn’t keep me from having enough and walking away.

I still blame myself for all of it sometimes. I must have done something to deserve this. This is all my fault. It’s what I deserve.

I accepted that I was a fuck up and everything was always my fault.

Until I realized I wasn’t and that while I did need to take responsibility for some things, others were in no way my fault. It took me a long time to realize that, and sometimes, I forget.

So, I busted my ass to prove myself to myself.

I am now a senior in college graduating a semester early after transferring to a university where most people struggle to graduate in four years.

I have a nearly 4.0 GPA. I have my own apartment, a great internship and a boyfriend that I truly want to spend the rest of my life with.

And for the first time in a very long time, I can say that I am happy with my life.

I pushed through the bullshit and the abuse and the trauma and did what I was meant to do: succeed.

And I’m damn fucking proud of myself for it.

Cover Image Credit: Aliyah Mallak

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