M. Lange Consulting

Marketing Professional

Knoxville, TN

2015

Originally posted on Facebook - January 3, 2016 at 9:02 PM

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I have a few things to say about 2015.

This past year has been one of the very best and very worst years I've experienced yet. From freelance work and chasing down paycheck after paycheck to ICU stays and figuring out how to take better care of myself, from meeting the man who gets me in ways I never thought anyone would get me to finding a community and a passion that keeps my feet moving and gives my heart a place to call home, from dealing with the ups and downs of depression to finding ways to talk about it and deal with it and beat it, from gaining a brother-in-law to building friendships with people who really see me - I constantly find myself looking back and realizing that yes, life is really stinking hard, but it is BEAUTIFUL and FULL and the reality is that my life wouldn't have half the meaning it does if it weren't for the hard things... and you know, the beautiful things balance it out.

I am so grateful for a mother who has taken time this year to really listen and try to understand what I'm dealing with and for her help and her shoulder to cry on when things get hard and her support and the way she believes in me. I am so grateful for a sister who is my best friend (even from far away) - and for constant Mexican food dates and Josie's trips and hugs and laughs and fights, too. I am so grateful for Victor and the way he loves Rikki and the way he loves our family - we are so lucky to have him. (I have a brother. I've always wanted a brother.) I am so grateful for friends like Elizabeth and Becca and Kristin who are there for me when everything is crazy and my head is going to explode - for being there for heart-conversations and letting me cry on the phone or on the couch or in the car and loving me well in spite or all of my hot-messiness. I am so grateful for a dance community that has helped me find my voice, my place, my rhythm, and my passion... and I am so grateful for the man who sees past all of my doubts and fears and insecurities and thinks I can do anything. Nick was - and is - a bright spot in a year of not-so-many bright spots.

To 2015, the year of learning and living and doubting and growing... and to 2016, the year of blank slates, start-agains, and making the best of things.

A Letter:

To my friend who feels lonely, my friend who feels unloved, my friend whose heart is sad, my friend who doesn't know where to turn (yes, dear one, this is to you):

Three and a half years ago, I wrote a blog titled "Broken: Journeying Through Depression" (linked, if you care to read it). That was three and a half years ago, and it still stands.

I'm here to tell you that beating depression isn't always a finite thing. Sometimes it comes back. Sometimes you hit weeks when it's impossible to get out of bed in the morning, and sometimes you have days where you look in the mirror and can't see a single thing that you like, and sometimes you get so caught up in to-do lists and social activities and taking care of other people that you forget to take care of yourself... and sometimes you realize that maybe, subconsciously, you knew what you were doing all along. Sometimes depression takes the form of turning your life into a whirlwind so fast and so full that you never have time to breathe, and sometimes it takes the form of ignoring the signs that you're pushing yourself too far - and then, sometimes, you hit a wall and have to re-evaluate everything.

But I'm also here to tell you that it's okay. This is not failure. You are not a basketcase (you don't know how many times I've had to repeat that to myself over the past few weeks). You are not a disaster. You are not a disappointment. You have not "gone off the rails," and you are not "unfixable."

You are strong; you are brave; you are courageous. You are a fighter, and you can beat this.

Three and a half years ago, I wrote that I'd been doing a lot better... and that was true. Today, I'm struggling a bit - but today, I'm also taking steps to fix this. Admitting it is the first step to finding healing. I know where I stand, and I know that there's one hell of a lot of work that I need to do before I can say that I've once again succeeded in beating depression... but damn it, I'm sure going to try.

I can say it a million times over and that's still not saying it enough, but if you're depressed... talk to someone. Drop me a line (I'd LOVE to be a listening ear)! Find your local counseling center, or a pastor at your church, or your best friend's mom, or your mom... you can beat this. We can beat this.

You are so loved, friend. Thanks for being a part of my life.

From my heart to yours,
Megan

 

Chasing Sunsets (When Trials Come)

Originally posted on July 23, 2012.

Have you ever noticed how God knows exactly what you need right when you need it?

For example, today was an overwhelmingly difficult day for me, and I cried so much that I legitimately had to put tea bags on my eyes to reduce swelling (for the record, I have never been so grateful for baseball caps). There are days when you simply want to disappear and make the world forget you ever existed -- and today was one such day.

Yet, as I lay in bed listening to Joni, there came a text message from one of my best friends. Trivial thing, really... until you factor in not seeing her since April, or that this has been one of the loneliest summers I've ever experienced, or just needing a friend at that moment in time... and then, you see, it becomes far more than trivial.

This summer has not turned out as expected. As a matter of a fact, it's been almost precisely the opposite of expected. I had all these goals and aspirations set up, and then... BOOM. Everything changed. Almost dying does that, you know? Your perspective shifts. Things start to look different.

"Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - Romans 5:2-5

I am in the weirdest place right now. Halfway grown up and halfway still that little girl who hid in a book for the first eight years of her life... and it is impossible -- impossible -- to figure out where to go from here (Why has no one written an instruction manual on this business? Talk about a best-seller.).

But even in that, I see so many unexpected blessings. I mean, good gravy, I am blessed. I have a job that I absolutely adore -- and I love my coworkers. I have a small group full of girls who love me and care about me and pray for me and are truly some of the loveliest, most Christ-seeking young women I've ever known. I have this pen-pal who somehow understands my heart like no one else does. I have opportunities to sing, and write, and take pictures, and laugh and play and live... and the list continues on and on.

I stated earlier that this is one of the loneliest summers I've ever experienced -- and that's not a lie. Too much work, too much being sick, and having two of my three closest friends totally out-of-reach makes for lonely with a capital "L"... and that was me in every single way. Then, seemingly out-of-the-blue, God put Elisa in my life, and the Bible study girls, and the folks at work... and suddenly, things weren't so lonely.

Funny how suffering leads to hope, isn't it? And right in the midst of it all is character -- becoming the people we are made to be.

If this summer hasn't been one of character-building, I don't know what is. Looking back on the past month is like looking through years and years of archives -- because so, so much has happened to change my heart... and is still happening, for that matter. I don't know that I can honestly say that I enjoy the process of character-building... but in the end, if I'm being sculpted into that woman that God designed me to be, it's worth it.

I suppose the point I really want to get at is this. It is so easy to let myself get disheartened... but in the midst of this life, God has blessed me beyond comprehension. Trials happen and they suck. But even when they do happen, there's still so much hope to be found in the little things, you know? God provides.

There is too much beauty in the world to dwell in the valley. Too many sunsets to miss. When trials come, remember that there is hope in the glory of God -- and all you have to do is chase a sunset to see it. Blessed.

From High Expectations to ICU

Originally posted on June 29, 2012.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Do you ever feel overwhelmed because of all the expectations placed on you? Expectations to be smarter, prettier, happier… more than you are? I do. Goodness gracious, I do. My whole life feels like one big, giant expectation to be more than I can be — and that is exhausting.

There’s been a lot of self-reflection in my life the past three weeks. Three days in ICU and a near-death experience can certainly make one think… and think I did. Let’s face it, readers — how many times have I blogged about needing to be a Mary, and how many times have I actually been a Mary? I get so bogged down in doing that I forget to just sit and be.

Someone once asked me what my favorite animal was — an analytical question, because he believed that we choose animals with traits that we admire. My answer was (and still is) a hippopotamus.

“Megan, that is bizarre. Why a hippopotamus?” you might be asking as you read this. “What traits can a hippo possibly have that you desire?” And to that, I say many — because, you see, hippos have it made. They’re huge. Scary as hell. No one would dare to bother such an intimidating creature… and then there is the sitting. They sit, nostrils and eyes above the water, the rest just floating in whatever watery spot they’ve found… and no one bothers them. No one expects anything of them. They just are.

I’ve made a name for myself as the “Social Butterfly.” First given this oh-so-lovely nickname in third grade, it’s followed me through the years and seems quite reluctant to relinquish its grasp on my life… and with such a nickname there come expectations. “Are you okay?” “Why aren’t you talking?” “What’s wrong?” The world seems to believe that I (the girl who wishes she was a hippopotamus) am quite possibly the most talkative girl in the entire world — automatically making something quite wrong when I’m not jibber-jabbering away like a madwoman.

As I sit in my favorite Knoxville coffee shop listening to my best friend sing “Take It to the Limit” in the most beautiful way imaginable, it’s hard to imagine a world in which I don’t feel the pressure of too many expectations. Billy Joel sang it best when he said, “And you’ll have to deal with / Pressure / You used to call me paranoid / Pressure / But even you cannot avoid / Pressure.” Leave it to Billy to put my thoughts into song!

My post-hospital life has been unique. I’ve had to reevaluate the things that are most important to me and rule out the things that aren’t. I’ve gone from two jobs to just one (a job that I love, at that). I’ve gone from spending time with every single person who asks to telling folks that I simply need time for myself… and I’ve gone from doing too many things I don’t care about to making time for those I do care about — Bible study. Music. Photography. My passions.

I do an excellent job of sitting and stewing and making myself unbearably anxious… but when it all boils down to it, the expectations I place on myself are ridiculously unrealistic — and by making myself anxious, I’m not doing anyone any good. It’s funny, because in this short time, I’ve felt more peace about slowing down than I ever thought possible.

The world is too beautiful to rush through it without smelling the roses — and even if there are a few thorns, isn’t that what life is really about? Dealing with things. Learning things. I wouldn’t wish for another ICU visit EVER again… but the lessons learned are valuable and not to be taken lightly. Sit down. Take a break. Breathe.

So… the next time you see me trying to be SuperWoman, do me a favor and remind me to take a breather, would you? And thanks for sticking with me, readers. Y’all are the greatest.