Why I Realized Actually Enjoying My Birthday Was Important (Slaying the Depression Dragon Part 2)


You can read Part 1 here.

If you were like me and were blessed enough to have a childhood that celebrated birthdays, you can probably vividly recall the exact feelings of excitement and anticipation as the fated day approached.

Marking the days off on your calendar.

Anticipating surrounding yourself with people who loved you.

Lying awake for hours the night before, giddy with overwhelming joy over your special day.

To my tender, childlike soul, birthdays felt like the entire world was celebrating my existence and acknowledging that I was an important human in the universe. As a little girl, somehow I instinctively knew that despite anything I did or would do, my existence on the planet mattered.

Then I turned 18, and something strange began to occur – I started wanting to pretend my birthday didn’t exist. Every year without fail, as soon as June began to give way to July, I began to actively avoid thinking about my birthday. 

Not in a “Oh, I’m too old to celebrate birthdays now” way.

Not in a “Oh, birthdays aren’t important to me and I usually forget.”

Not even in a “I’m too depressed to celebrate this year.”

The birthday itself depressed me and made me feel anxious, rather than any other emotion ranging from fulfilled to ambivalent.

For awhile, I wrote these increasingly negative emotions off as symptoms of shedding my childhood and stepping into the cynicism and realism of adulthood. “I’m not supposed to care about celebrating my life,” I would tell myself and shrug it off. “After all, most people don’t enjoy a birthday like they would as a child. We’re adults now.”

 But despite telling myself to ignore these newfound feelings and deem them as an unfortunate part of reaching maturity, I couldn’t help but notice my glaringly negative self-talk.

“I don’t deserve to be celebrated. I’ve done nothing for others.”

“Another year of becoming an increasingly worse person.”

“24 years old? I’ve accomplished nothing. I wonder if my family is ashamed of me.”

“What’s the point in being happy about my existence?”

 For a long time, I thought it was normal, even healthy to casually have these thoughts about myself. I believed they kept any arrogance I had inside me in check and made me a more humble, virtuous person. I even figured God would rather me feel this way if it endeavored me to serve Him more arduously and faithfully. I didn’t understand that these toxic affirmations were the very last thing He would ever want me to feel.

If you are struggling with depression and anxiety revolving around self-esteem and are exhausted with pouring over self-help articles, don’t lose me here. I know how debilitating these thoughts can be and I’ve been learning to power through and reaffirm the truth. What I discovered was this: The pure, innocent way we viewed ourselves as children is more right than how we view ourselves as adults.

Let Me Entertain You With My Performance

“Miranda, you always look perfect.”

I still remember those words and the buried emotions they immediately unearthed. I was a junior in college and probably at the peak of my depression, attempting to manage a scary new chapter in my life and oftentimes lacking the support I needed to navigate myself through uncharted waters. I often felt like an utter mess and was too afraid to reach out honestly to anyone. So every day, I would drag myself out of bed, attempt to make myself appear as if everything was Mary-Poppins-practically perfect, and set out to accomplish my long to-do list. 

You can imagine my complete surprise when a fellow peer complimented me with those words.

You look perfect.

Back then, that sentence meant everything to me and I practically lived for it. Hearing that beautiful word – perfect – meant that I was accomplishing everything I was striving so hard to be. Present-day Miranda would laugh and immediately correct my friend, telling her that I’m a mess, but quite a beautiful mess. But past Miranda simply smiled and shyly said, “Thanks.”

Being perfect was just too important for me to blow my cover. I even sometimes took pride in my perfectionism, never crying, never losing my temper, never showing any weakness.

Don’t fail, always perform. That was the mantra I didn’t even know I had.

Life was my stage, but I wasn’t the star. I was the stagehand, rushing around and laboring behind the scenes, pulling out all the stops to ensure that the show continued on for a person onstage I barely recognized. If the show was a success, the audience would give me their approval and perhaps I would be able to give them something of myself to better their own lives. I just wanted to be okay so that others would be okay too.

It turned out okay wasn’t good enough.

Hello, Frenemy

It was only a matter of time before I began to unravel with exhaustion. My first wakeup-call occurred when I stood outside of my music theory class and felt like I would explode just simply sitting down and concentrating.

I was too exhausted to enjoy learning anymore. I was too exhausted to do almost anything and I was too exhausted to care that I was exhausted.

As long as I kept putting one foot in front of the other and doing the next thing, I knew I would get through the day. I didn’t realize that wasn’t a normal way to feel for my living situation.

The truth was that me disliking my birthday was only just one, small symptom of a larger disease I was hoping would somehow cure itself. It was also the withdrawing from potential friendships, the laying awake at night paralyzed with anxiety, the procrastinating to the point of sleep deprivation because I felt I would never be able to complete a task well enough.

It was the weight loss that occured not because of healthy exercise and eating habits, but because I felt too sad to be hungry, the recurring thoughts that I would never be good enough to find a romantic relationship, the constant people-pleasing because I was afraid to let anyone down.

It was the striving to always please my family and friends, and to please a God who I thought demanded something of me that I would never be able to give.

The truth? I’d let a frenemy creep into my life. You know frenemies –  friends who appear to have your best interests at heart and are always around, but in reality are slowly sucking the life out of you in subtle and deviously insidious ways. 

What many people don’t realize is you can be a frenemy to yourself. My frenemy was my perfection. 

I thought I truly needed my perfection frenemy. I thought I’d be totally lost without it. After all, I believed this frenemy kept me motivated and determined, always pushing towards a better version of myself. 

Believing that lie worked for a little while, until I finally found myself disinterested in everything and losing my vibrance for life. My perfection – my closest companion – had become a bitter enemy and had not given me the shiny rewards I desired. I discovered that the coveted jewels of perfectionism were all false gold. I didn’t want the fakes anymore. I wanted the real deal.

It’s Okay to Desire Perfectionism

As I finally began to truly address my issues with depression, anxiety, and self-esteem, I felt embarrassed and frustrated that I couldn’t grasp the simple concept that it is obviously impossible for a human to achieve perfection. Humans are imperfect creatures and everyone is subject to making mistakes. So why couldn’t I just let go and accept that fact?

If you feel this way and the popular self-help mantra of “Love yourself” isn’t cutting it for you, take a deep breath and know you’re not alone. It is a good thing, dear friend, to wish everything was perfect. There is something broken in our world that should not have shattered in the first place. There is something in our souls that cries out for everything to be put back together again. There is something inside us that yearns for all things to be beautiful, with no dark ink blotches ruining a perfect painting.

C.S. Lewis once said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

We were not made for the state of ourselves and this world, filled with hurtful mistakes, tragedy, disorder, chaos, inconsistency, falsehoods, and disappointment. We were created for so much more, something quite unfathomably beautiful and perfect.

If you desire perfection and feel ashamed of yourself for doing so, you are not broken. You are quite whole and you are experiencing a brokenness that will one day be made whole again.

It will take diligence and hard work to accept that perfectionism will never be possible until we encounter God. But guess what? Sanctification is possible and the entire process is ultimately more beautiful.

Striving to be perfect will suffocate you sooner or later. Let me help you take the ugly hands of perfectionism off your throat and allow you to begin to breathe freely again. To do that, we must take back our ability to think clearly and boldly call out the 5 Perfectionist Lies we tell ourselves.

1. “You better not fail or you’ll be a hypocrite.”

No one likes a Pharisee. You know the type – always judging, always criticizing, and yet committing the same misdeeds they tauntingly and self-righteously accuse others of.

As a sensitive person with a touchy conscience, I’ve often felt an overwhelming pressure to hold myself to my own standard. 

If lying bothers me, I shouldn’t lie. 

If gossip bothers me, then I shouldn’t gossip. 

If I feel incredibly hurt when others lose their temper with me, then I shouldn’t lose my temper. 

If I know the right thing to do, then there is no excuse for mistakes.

Every time I went against my own morals, I felt devastated. Why couldn’t I simply just do the right thing if I knew in my heart what I should do? I felt so upset and ashamed of myself, constantly worried that if I kept letting my friends and family down, they would only see me as a complete hypocrite.

Guess what? I am a hypocrite. I’m a very open hypocrite now and I’m not afraid to hide anymore. No amount of striving towards perfectionism will ever change my hypocrisy. And strangely, I found that being open about my hypocrisy is exactly what everyone needed from me, not perfectionism.

We need each other to be real and to share our struggles, our mistakes, and our failures. It’s how we grow as human beings and conquer our battles. We need each other to be human for each other, to be brutally, deeply honest about our failures and how they’re transforming us into better people. Yes, it’s true we are indeed hypocrites. But our hypocrisy doesn’t alienate us from others – it pulls us closer to others as we cheer each other on, gently correct each other, and encourage each other to blossom inspite of our hypocrisy. Being human means being a hypocrite – and despite that fact, it’s still all going to be okay.

When I let go of my perfectionism, I was afraid that doing so would cause me to excuse my mistakes and halt my growth of developing into a better person. I was worried that I would give up my efforts towards self-improvement and chasing towards light. I found myself surprised that I discovered exactly the opposite. Since I ditched my perfectionist attitude, I’ve grown more in a few months than I did in years when I labored under the heavy weight of being perfect.

Don’t be afraid to cast off that weight. I promise you won’t lose your drive to continue working towards goodness, kindness, and wisdom.

2. “People are counting on you – don’t let them down.”

Give, never take. I lived by this mantra for too long. I felt compelled to cover up my trials in fear that I would let others down. I didn’t want to have problems because I was afraid no one would trust me to help them with their own issues. I felt embarrassed to express any emotion other than empathy and felt mortified if I ever cried in front of anyone. As you can imagine, this emotionally drained me to a point where eventually I struggled to make authentic connections.

You may not like to hear it, but there is a limit to what you can give. In order to serve others effectively, it’s vital to reach out for help for yourself. If you refuse help from others due to preserving your perfectionistic image, you miss creating valuable relationships that are built off empathy and trust. Additionally, you are sabotaging your desire to aid others by burning yourself out to the point of becoming ineffective.

I used to believe that it would be conceited for me to share my feelings with others, preferring to focus only on solving other people’s issues. Now I realize it was conceited for me to value my perfectionism so much that I refused to share life experiences that could connect and comfort others.

It is a beautiful thing to give. It is also a beautiful thing to receive. Let go of your perfectionism and let yourself receive support. I promise your relationships will blossom so much more.

3. “You have one shot – don’t you dare waste it.”

Aiming for perfectionism gave me some false semblance of tight control over my life. I thought if I perfectly prepared to reach my goals, then life would go well for me. I told myself that in order to reach my aspirations, I had to always be driven towards perfectionism, to always be ready in case I finally got my “one shot.” More often than not, I was left reeling and disappointed when I took a risk, performed perfectly, and still did not achieve my desired outcome.

The truth is, we may take a risky shot and miss wildly on our goal. But does that mean we missed our only shot? Repeat after me: I only have one shot if I decide that I have only one shot.   

Every missed shot moves us closer. Think of a novice archer – she may miss the bullseye 1,000 times, but eventually she begins to inch closer and closer to the target. You may feel you are constantly missing, but you’re making progress. That is the healthy way to approach goals, and not fall for the false security that living in perfectionism lends you. You never have just one shot and if you fail, it’s all suddenly over. Life gives us chances and we have the ability to accept and take these chances with grace.

In fact, dwelling on perfectionism is a toxic mindset that will fail you eventually. Take it from me – I eventually began procrastinating on all my goals until the last possible second because I felt that I could never achieve perfection and my efforts would be a joke.

Firstly, this simply wasn’t true at all.

 Secondly, so what if I failed?

Failure is an opportunity. It does not mean you’ve lost your way.

Failure means you learned.

Failure means you lived.

Failure is only temporary. Perfectionism is a mind-numbing constant.

When faced with the potential of failure, the best we can do is throw our hands up to God, admit that sometimes we can’t do everything perfectly, and then get to work. We do what we can with what we have, and learn to enjoy the growing process rather than rushing towards the end goal.

Maybe we’ll succeed. Maybe we’ll fail. But never will we be failures. How could we be failures when we have each been placed on this earth for a very specific and wonderful purpose?

4. “If it’s not perfect, you didn’t do your best.”

Did your parents ever tell you, “As long as you do your best in school, we don’t care what grade you get”? If you’re like me, this instantly raised a plethora of self-doubts that I only recognized was unhealthy in my adult years. “What really is my best?” I would wonder worriedly. “Can’t I always work harder? Is there a limit on what my best is? If I fail, does that mean I didn’t try hard enough? Am I lazy?”

For a recovering perfectionist, these can be troubling thoughts that at first seem to hold no simple answers. However, there is indeed a way out of this thought maze! Let’s first examine what “doing our best” is not.

Our best is not depleting ourselves of energy until we’re exhausted and burnt out.

Our best is not becoming a robot servant to others.

Our best is not becoming obsessed with improving a certain aspect of our lives.

Our best is not constantly questioning our efforts and comparing our work to others.

Balance is key. A sign of imbalance is experiencing high amounts of depression, anxiety, anger, irritation, loneliness, insecurity, apprehension, dread, and pessimism. Examine and reflect on your daily emotions and life outlook, asking yourself if there are signs of imbalance in your life. Yes, it is important to work diligently and not waste our gifts and talents. But it is equally important to nurture our delicate emotions and ensure that we are fostering a well-rounded emotional life. Taking care of yourself doesn’t make you a wimp. Taking care of yourself will help you to accomplish more than you thought you could in the end.

Yes, we have limitless possibilities and potential for our lives. But we have limits to what our best is on a daily basis. Our best is learning to acknowledge that some days, we just can’t do our best. I’ve had many days where my best is simply getting dressed and brushing my teeth. That was my best for the day, and that’s okay. We will have a different version for best during different seasons of our lives. Be gentle with yourself. Putting pressure on yourself to have a set standard for “doing your best” every single day will not automatically put you on the path of success.

Sometimes, we can’t do our best and that’s part of being human. Practice grace. Practice balance. Practice mindfulness.

And parents, if you suspect if you have an overachieving child, encourage them to dream big and teach them that hard work pays off. But also teach them that their works don’t define them and that they don’t have to drive themselves to exhaustion to be worthy of respect. Model healthy boundaries and explain to them that sometimes our best will fluctuate and that’s okay.

5. “You won’t be happy if you’re not perfect.”

Out of the 5 Lies, this one is perhaps the most insidious. It’s insidicous because it’s attractive. It’s sexy. It promises a solution to life’s problems.

 I thought if I continually chased perfectionism, I’d be happy. 

If I looked perfect and made the perfect guy fall in love with me, I could be happy. 

If I aced all my exams and tackled the most challenging subjects, I’d be smart and happy.

If I created beautiful, unique music and became a master of my instrument and voice, I’d be happy.

If I was always there for my friends, they would love me and I’d be happy.

If I lived the perfect moral life, then God would approve of me and I’d be happy.

All lies.

Chasing perfectionism not only gave me none of what I was desperately searching for, but it robbed me of experiencing these things. Unearthing this lie was the final straw of finally rejecting my idolization of perfectionism. 

When I examined my life, I realized that trying to be perfect wasn’t making me happy – it was making me miserable, irritable, and depressed. I never saw progress with my perfection, only a tiring race towards an unattainable vapor that I fooled myself into thinking existed.

Now that I am learning to be free of perfection, I create art not to live up to a standard, but because it brings me joy and emotional release. I serve others not because I’m hoping they’ll think I’m perfect and love me, but because we mutually care about each other and I can be honest with them when I can’t always be there for them. My boyfriend loves me not because I’m his perfect dream girl, but because our beautiful flaws pull us closer together and help us grow into better people. I come to God not because I have my perfectionism to give him, but because I have empty hands that need to be filled by Him.

All of these revelations are game-changers and I still need to remind myself of them daily.

You Are Not Perfect and You Are Still Beautiful

I want you to get up right now, look in the mirror (smile at yourself!), and repeat this three times: “I am not perfect and I am still beautiful.” Yes, you have flaws. Yes, you are a mess. But it is so, so much more fantastic and wonderful than trying to achieve something that doesn’t exist – being perfect. Leave being perfect to the One Who Is Perfect. God will do His work in you. Let yourself be surprised by your brokenness being transformed into a priceless treasure.

Maybe, like me, you stopped enjoying your birthday. Or maybe you were always made to feel like your birthday was a waste. Maybe the family that raised you or the people you interacted with in your formative years demanded perfection before love. Maybe you thought the audience would never clap for you unless you performed perfectly and tirelessly.

Take a deep breath. Don’t be perfect. Be real. You are loved and you will get to where you need to go. Let’s celebrate our flaws right here, right now. Happy Birthday, friend!

In the final installment, I will be talking about the steps I took (and am still currently taking) to overcome my depression and anxiety.

“The law works fear and wrath; grace works hope and mercy.” – Martin Luther

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —  not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Eph 2:8-9, emphasis added

Why I’m Allowing Myself to Create Again (And You Should Too)


I went through music school and came out 4 years later believing I hated creating.

Yikes. I’d invested so much time, energy, and money in refining and perfecting my craft – and now it felt like my efforts had been in vain. Was it possible that the only purpose of my college education was to study a craft and eventually conclude I disliked it?

My outward actions seemed to affirm that I didn’t enjoy creating anymore. Writing songs was an absolute chore, never a catharsis, my emotions seemingly stilted and static whenever I tried to exercise creativity.

I didn’t want to touch the piano. Practicing irritated me because I never heard improvement. I felt trapped within my own limitations, unable to escape the pit of constant self-criticism.

Even singing, one of my early childhood joys, became simply another means of repeatedly attempting to achieve perfection to the point where I was beginning to edge towards vocal damage from the consistent over-practicing.

And yet, throughout it all, I still loved music.

I loved simply listening and letting every emotion, unable to be conveyed by mere words, wash over me. I loved the places music took me, the imagination it sparked within me, the way it lifted my soul.

So why then did I feel this deep passion for music, yet whenever I attempted to create something of my own, I felt like it became my worst enemy?

I began to realize something about myself.

The truth was, I didn’t hate creating. I hated what it was doing to my sense of self-worth, perspective, and sense of joy.

When I compared how I felt just listening to music and how I felt composing music, I discovered three core aspects that discouraged me from creating:

  • “I am unable to create anything new, groundbreaking, or novel. Everything has already been done.”

This phrase has halted me countless times from engaging in any creativity. And in some sense, it’s not inaccurate. Truthfully, most things have been done before at some point. After all, we consistently build upon the ideas and material of those who came before us. Stumbling upon a brand new and groundbreaking concept is admittedly rather rare. However, we must consider this:

There is only one you.

 There has never been a person who thinks like you, has the same personality as you, has the same quirks, ideas, beliefs, and dreams that you do. You are unique.

This isn’t a clichéd ideal to be shoved aside in favor of more “practical” ideas. No, this concept of uniqueness is incredibly important to finding our self-worth in creativity.

When we discover that we are unique individuals – no one like us has existed before or ever will again – we begin to understand how beautifully unique our creativity is.

As a musician, I can play the exact same song as another musician and still have it sound completely different. My own individualism will naturally shine through the music, creating something new despite the fact that it “had already been done.”

This means that additionally, we needn’t feel trapped by not living up to expectations we feel have been set by other artists. The truth is, we will never sound like the artists we admire and frankly, we really shouldn’t. We are our own artists and our own experiences will shape, mold, and grow our creativity into something unique. The sooner we embrace this idea as creatives, the sooner we can feel free to create without feeling like inferiors and failures.

  •  “I am afraid of the response.”

This issue of wanting acclaim for our creativity is difficult to wrestle with. We all want to connect with others, to share a deep part of ourselves, to reach out and have someone respond and accept us as we are.

It isn’t a bad thing to desire this.

Although we can fight this desire, saying to ourselves “I don’t care what other people think,” it many times is painfully true that we really do care deeply. But again, this doesn’t have to be detrimental – in fact it’s only natural. We were created to desire to mean something, to want to have significance in the lives of those around us.

However, the dark side of wishing for acclaim is when we take this natural desire too far. It’s when we let our desire for acclaim turn into a hunger, letting it consume us until it paralyzes us. At the very worst, this fear of “what will they think?” sucks away our joy and leaves us only with anxiety and emptiness.

In some of my worst performances as a musician, I’ve noticed a common thread running through these less than satisfying moments – I was only thinking of the audience response. Their reactions meant so much to me, that the integrity of the art and the emotions it evoked within me lost its appeal. The art itself would become swallowed by my own desire for acclaim and the fear that I wouldn’t ever reach the standards set by others and myself.
I believe finding balance is paramount in this situation. We should cherish the moments of encouragement when we find someone connecting with our work, letting it spur us on to continue our creative journey. Additionally, we should humbly accept criticism when it is given to us, letting it motivate and inspire us to continue developing our craft.

But we should never let these swirling words overshadow the real, true reason we are creating. When we let others’ opinions define us and choke us with fear, we forget that creating is a unique expression of our souls that brings us satisfaction on its own.

  • “Being creative is unimportant in the world.”

This is the biggest deterrent and hindrance for creating, and one that has plagued me continually.

 Yet the truth is, expressing our creativity is possibly one of the most important things in the world.

After all, humanity was made in the image of Someone who decided to create the most intricately complex, astounding universe. Our world is a dizzying example of creativity at its finest and most important.

Expressing our creativity is what connects us all together and the way we let others into that unique part of our souls. Creating causes us to actively choose to become vulnerable, choose to let our walls down, choose to show the world the purest, deepest part of who we are. This choice is what helps us understand more about ourselves, even when we don’t realize it in the creation process, and unspokenly communicates our willingness to open our lives in a gesture of genuineness.


So after I’ve reflected upon all of these concepts, do I suddenly now feel inspired day after day? Absolutely not.

The process of finding one’s self as an artist is a path filled with peaks and valleys. There won’t ever be an easy, magical cure to finding confidence in creativity.

In fact, I may feel inspired one day but completely depressed the next, tempted to trash everything I’ve worked on, throw my hands up, and wonder if any of it even matters. But there will also be days when I truly experience how beautiful a gift it is to be able to create.

I still don’t understand what I’m doing, where I’m going, or who I should be as an artist. But that’s the beauty of it all – that my life has been planned by Someone who cares deeply for me and instilled my desires of creativity for a very specific reason.

Your creations matter. You matter. And when we start to understand this concept, the world changes.


“God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” – Eric Liddell



Why My Self-Esteem Was Ruining My Life (Slaying the Depression Dragon Part 1)

Whoever came up with the phrase, “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was most certainly lying. We can all agree that we’ve been deeply wounded by words that someone – a stranger or not – has casually said to us throughout our lives.

But what if that person is yourself?

Three little words have been the culprit of some of the most difficult struggles in my life and probably will continue to fight against me in the coming years.

I could say those three little words to almost anyone: my family, my friends, strangers, even people I didn’t very much care for. I’d smile and empathize and try my very best to say those three words to others, even when it admittedly became difficult. Why? Because I knew it was true.

But then, I’d go home alone.

I’d look in the mirror.

And I couldn’t say it.

You are worthwhile.

Could I Return Myself, Please?

When a product is defective, of course you’ll want to return it. After all, if you are dissatisfied, you quickly rectify the situation to obtain a superior, more useful product. That’s how I treated myself on a daily basis – a product awaiting its place back on the shelf.

To say I was dissatisfied with myself as a product was a understatement.

I was always too something for myself, but whatever something I was too much of flip-flopped almost daily.

Too selfish.

Too much of a pushover.

Too prude.

Too loose.

Too loud.

Too quiet.

Too obnoxious.

Too boring.

Too irritable.

Too saccharinely nice.

I felt permanently caught up in an aggressive riptide – pulled out by one should be, tugged back in by the opposite in the very next moment. 

And I was starting to drown.

What was I supposed to be? I was treading water, straining to reach the shallows and touch solid ground, but I found nothing.

I could not figure myself out – I wanted to be everything for everyone, and each day I attempted, I felt like a failure. I spent anxious nights in bed, heart pounding and wide-eyed in the darkness, pondering what I needed to fix in myself, tallying up all the things wrong with me. Then I’d wake up the next morning, exhausted after a restless night and dreading the day ahead.

As I perceived, life was a test. And if I didn’t get an A+, I wasn’t worth it.

Rinse. Repeat. Over and over.

How did I become trapped in this vicious cycle? Had I always felt this way?

Please Like Me

I’m still figuring out exactly why I’ve been so distressed by these feelings of complete worthlessness during my teenage and adult life – perhaps by the end of this series, I will have more concrete answers to share.

Maybe it was because I never quite learned how to manage my sensitive, people-pleasing, overactive imagination as a child that became both a blessing and a curse as I transitioned into adulthood.

Maybe my constant feelings of rejection from peers and teachers made me crave approval more desperately than I already did.

Maybe that small, nagging, persistent loneliness I felt grew into a dominating lifestyle that was both isolating and unmanageable.

But whatever the core reason, as I grew out of my childhood years and into a teenager, it became most important for me to be liked. I wanted to simply be good and be known as good. Now, this desire in itself isn’t bad – in fact, it can be utilized as a strength of character. But unfortunately, like so many things in life, idolizing beautiful things can turn sour quickly…

Thanks for Summing It Up, Tyler Joseph: “My Name’s Blurryface and I Care What You Think”

One of the blessings I’m so extremely grateful for in having a happy, healthy childhood is not caring. A healthy child, who is raised in a healthy home, doesn’t spend too much time caring. She hasn’t learned what it is to fear ridicule yet. She learns, plays, dreams, makes mistakes, cries, laughs, and tries again without fear of emotional repercussions from scorning eyes.

Things aren’t so complicated. Things simply…are.

As a child, I wrote stories because I loved it and could not help myself. That was it.

But now? I sit here and waste precious time wondering if I’ll gain approval with my thoughts or simply embarrass myself. Will you, the reader, think I’m unintelligent? An attention-seeker or dramatacist?

Or perhaps, what’s even the point of all of this, if it is only to be ignored?

Will they, will they, will they…

This thought process is a slightly more insignificant example of what became a very significant problem in my life. Wanting to be liked so desperately affected how I approached everything – relationships of all kinds, achievement in work and school, how I felt about my personality and my character, my spiritual walk, and even how I perceived the essence of God Himself.

I felt messed up, like I didn’t belong anywhere, like everyone would be better without me interfering in their lives.

After all, I was annoying.


A failure.

And slowly, I began to feel a strange, dull sort of anger directed towards myself. What I’ve learned throughout some difficult periods is that depression is anger directed inward. Depression burns slowly until one day, you turn around and realize the forest you’ve been walking through is wildly ablaze.

I realized I was upset that I existed. And I was angry God had wasted time with a person like myself.

God, Can I Make Some Returns?

“Why did you make me, God?” As a person of faith, I have pondered this question many times and always return to an answer of “I love you – that’s why, and you are important because you exist.” 

Very funny, God. Now tell me an important reason.

I’ve always chased after some sort of legitimate (at least in my eyes) reason to justify my existence. There needed to be a tangible, obvious reason for my being on the planet – otherwise I felt unnecessary.

What I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t just at war with things that frustrated me about myself, but I was fighting myself, the very core of who I was. I’d begun not just noticing my flaws, but making my very own being a giant flaw. My intrinsic qualities I saw as entirely negative.

Emotional? Sensitive? Imaginative? Perfectionistic? Strong conscience?

All wrong, all wrong.

Why couldn’t I be logical, thick-skinned, practical, and inventive instead, God? I’m not creative enough, not interesting enough, not determined enough, not kind enough, not selfless enough. If I could be someone – anyone – else, I felt certain that whoever that person was could be of more use.

After all, my emotional nature caused me to struggle with feelings of depression, loneliness, and the tendency to suppress emotions to others. My perfectionistic desires caused me to avoid conflicts and harbor insecurities, while all the while I screamed “I’m perfectly fine!” to the rest of the world. My sensitive nature made it so my feelings were hurt quite easily and I often felt emotional over silly squabbles.

I had gotten to the point where I was refusing to see myself as anything other than a huge, overbearing blot on a grand work of art. I was willing to ignore the beauty of the masterpiece just because of a few mistakes that gave character and meaning to the very artwork itself.

I was starting to play God for myself and come to my own conclusions of what constituted a “masterpiece.”

“I know what’s best for me. If I weren’t like Miranda, everything would be so much better.”

But would it though? What if I had everything I could ever want in myself?

What if I somehow became what everyone thought was the perfect daughter/granddaughter/niece, girlfriend, musician, and human anyone could ever want? Would I finally be happy? Or could it be my happiness ultimately would come from somewhere else?

What if the very things I struggled with were the very things that I needed to be – not just for myself, but for others?

Please Love Me

I used to react in a depressive manner when someone told me “I love you.” 

“Please stop,” I wanted to (and sometimes actually did) say. “I want you to like me, not love me.” How wrong I was to separate “like” and “love” in this way.

“Like” is what we do when we feel attraction and admiration. Being liked or feeling this emotion is not negative at all. It’s the spark that has the potential to ignite something deeper.

But love… love is something that is almost unable to be accurately described. To be loved is to be known.

To love is to trust.

To love is to grow.

Love is everlasting and unconquerable. What in the universe could be more important than pure love?

Sometimes, being known in this beautiful way can feel like growing pains and isn’t quite as intoxicatingly refreshing as being purely liked. But the flaws we reveal in ourselves to others are what can create the most genuine and meaningful relationships – relationships where the other person loves even the flaws because they know those flaws, just like their own, are part of something greater and more beautiful.

I struggle with that. I really, really do.

But discovering that being loved is much more significant than being liked is where the turning point for healing began in me.

God loves me. Other people love me too.

That’s it, that’s the reason I exist.

There doesn’t have to be any other reason that I concoct to justify my existence. I have nothing to prove and I shouldn’t have to.

I’m Not Alone

“I really, really, really, really hate myself. You can feel so unbelievably lost and horrible and like you’re nothing and you’re invisible for no reason at all. Which is almost worse than having a reason.”

This confession from Billie Eilish left me stunned. Her words sounded like I was speaking to myself, summing up so many toxic emotions in just one sentence. Most jarringly, her guilt about not “having a reason” for her self-hatred was a point of resonation for me. After all, Billie has everything she could want  – fame, critical approval, money, safety, creative outlets, people who love her, and fans who practically worship her. All of this, and still…

“I really, really, really, really hate myself.”

I understand, Billie. I have so much, yet feel so small. I feel guilty too.

But what I’m discovering is it’s okay to have struggles. No matter how much or little we have, we will still fight intense battles. We all have weaknesses and flaws, and those battles will be different and vary in intensity throughout our journey in life.

I’m still a work-in-progress when it comes to accepting this fact.

But I continue to remember that Billie’s confession did give me some comfort in knowing that there are so many feeling like me – consumed with self-hatred and feeling lost, yet seemingly at the top of their game.

At first, in a strange way, I felt sad relinquishing the feeling that “I’m the only one who feels like this.” I almost felt addicted to my helpless mindset and felt some sort of vain comfort that at least I was perhaps “different and special” for feeling these things about myself. Having some sort of identity, even one as a victim, felt comfortable to me.

But in order to actually heal, I began to acknowledge that so many souls feel like this. We all have dark feelings that are hard to shake off. To be open and honest about this, and to offer a helping hand, will bring healing to everyone.

My identity is not Depression, Alone. My identity is Miranda.

Out of the Shadows

One of the things I told myself – and sometimes still do – is that because I have struggles, I’m better off alone. Hey, better not mess up someone else’s life with my silly baggage, right? I felt it was wrong for me to talk about myself in a vulnerable way. It felt…embarrassing. I had to be perfect in order to be a reliable, trustworthy person for others to come to for help. Besides, no one would want to hear about my struggles. I would bother and be a burden. I could do it on my own.

To everyone who struggles with tough emotions – let me let you in on a little secret I learned the hard way: this doesn’t work.

We as humans are designed for genuine interaction and support. If you’ve used every ounce of energy to keep getting back up all alone, stop. There are so many who you may not even know who are ready to let you lean on them. Some of them may understand much more than you think they do.

Don’t isolate. Practice ditching perfectionism once in awhile, step out of your comfort zone, and you might just be surprised by how much other people actually need you to take off that mask. We all want to be genuinely connected and feel like someone else understands our struggles.

We don’t want to live in a world of masquerade balls with fake laughter, obnoxiously bright colors, and gorgeously crafted masks, only to return home after the party’s over – alone – take off our masks and vapid costumes we’ve designed for ourselves, and stare disconsolately at our empty reflection.

We all want the real deal.

You Can Accept Yourself

So what does accepting myself even mean?

I was terrified to excuse my flaws, worrying and obsessing that I’d become a terrible human if I attempted to accept myself. But here’s the bottom line of taking the first step in this long journey:

Take a deep breath and say “I didn’t have a great day. I was disappointed in some things I did. But by God’s grace, I am not finished and I am worthy of being here simply by being me.”

Over the course of the year, I’ll be continuing this new series detailing my struggles with feelings of depression, anxiety, self-acceptance, perfectionism, and a negative mindset and how I’ve been managing to address and work through specific concepts and concrete ideas that have been vital to changing my perspective.

If you are sitting here wondering about your worth, take it from someone who has struggled mightily through the valley and is starting to come up the mountain on the other side.

You are not a mistake. You are worth being here. We all need you.

There will be nights of “why’s” and a tendency to rebel strongly against this truth. Trust me, I still do. But through it all, persevere my friend. We are broken, but we are beautiful. It is all worth it.

And so are you.


“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” – Timothy J. Keller



Ramblings, Vol. 1


Romance Is

I find comfort in

The unknown

Taken up by a whirlwind

Set down upon a cloud

Neither matters much


After all

I float anywhere between the


And the


It is all the same to me

When romance is near


Bliss and sorrow shake hands

Each here one day, gone the next

It is all the same to me

When romance is near


I wonder




All in an hour

Or has it been minutes?

It is all the same to me

When romance is near


Whisper of wishes

Tendrils of tension

Are now so tangible

Aching is reality


Reality is uncertain

Do I dream still or do I wake?

It is all the same to me

When romance is near


Tender yet strong

Eyes of mahogany, pools

So deep

Understanding in a glance

A soul takes a shaky step to the ledge

Uncertain, uncertain

Understanding, understanding

And it shall never be the same

When romance is near



The Question

When lights were extinguished

I asked


I couldn’t see the answer

After I drowned the matches


When time froze over

I asked


I breathed on the icy glass

And wrote my own answer


When silence deafened,

I asked

“How long?”

I couldn’t hear the answer

Above the sound of my own voice


Yet in all this

Grace gently





I wondered


Perhaps the answer mattered

Not quite so much

Because the True Answer was in

The Maker


And suddenly

The Question seemed

So small



Familiar Face

I was searching for someone yesterday

Yet I could not remember the name

I thought I would know when I saw the face

But they all appeared so much the same


I was searching for someone just this week

But I could not remember why

Grasping for familiar words to speak

As elusive as far reaches of sky


I was searching for someone this past year

Although I began to tire

The drop on my face – rain or a tear?

I could not fathom why I would cry


I keep searching for someone, I know not who

My quest is unyielding and broad

Saccharine or bitter – neither will do

So I continue my endless resolve

Why We’re All a Little Afraid of Silence (And Why We Don’t Have to Be)

I’m bad at talking and I kind of hate it.

I’ve always been at odds with my shy introversion. I’m envious of those who can enter a room and effortlessly strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and entertain a crowd with effortless witticisms, never seeming to tire.

Meanwhile, there’s me standing alone in a corner, struggling to find the right words, tripping over my own clumsiness with the English language. It’s always been easier for me to simply be silent. Silence and I, we’ve learned to get along well.

Maybe that’s you. Maybe silence has been your friend for awhile. Maybe you relish solitude and the space to let your thoughts settle without the world shouting at you. Perhaps you’re even a bit too used to the silence that surrounds you. Maybe, like myself, you’ve found that silence is the easiest way to handle life’s obstacles.

Or maybe this isn’t you. Maybe silence is a very unsettling thing for you. Maybe silence is the kind of friend who always shows up at your door and you’re obligated to begrudgingly allow in. Maybe you avoid the presence of silence at all costs.


The truth is, whether we’re introverted or extroverted, silence is something we all struggle with. In fact, we don’t speak of silence enough – why is this? Perhaps silence is something we’re all a little afraid of and a fear we don’t want to bring into the light.

Yet it’s when we bring fear into the light that we can begin to own it instead of allowing ourselves to become slaves to it. So why can silence be so unwelcome? I think there are a couple reasons:

  • Deep down, we’re all a little too lonely.

When all of the talking ceases, when we don’t hear the sound of another voice or even our own, silence shouts louder at us than any of the noise in the world.

When all this noise abruptly stops, we’re left with only our own thoughts, forced to face and acknowledge them. With nothing to distract ourselves, we come face-to-face with our inherent loneliness.

We desire connection, and in the absence of that, we find ourselves confronting the nature of being alone and the reality of our heaviest thoughts. At times, silence can cause us to feel this acutely.

When we avoid silence, many times we are avoiding loneliness.


  • We’re afraid to let ourselves become too vulnerable.

When considering silence in the context of an everyday conversation, letting ourselves be silent is a vulnerable activity because it forces us to truly listen. When we’re truly silent and intently listening, we sacrifice our search for a quick retort or the formulation of how to express our own opinion. Exercising silence is exercising restraint, and that can be vulnerable.

Yet despite these very real fears of loneliness and vulnerability, silence is actually quite a beautiful part of life. Certainly beneficial, but even necessary, in fact. So how do we go about forming a healthy relationship with silence, not fearing or letting it control us, but understanding its integral role in our lives?

By finding balance by understanding when to be silent, and when to speak.

  • A Time to Be Silent

In the 21st century, communication is constant and practically instantaneous. In fact, noise is constant. There’s a lot overwhelmingly happening all at once, all at the same time.

And that means there’s a lot of talking happening.

A lot.

But have we ever stopped to wonder what we’re actually saying?

Are we choosing are words carefully and thoughtfully or are we speaking simply to fill a silent void?

In fact, ever notice how uncomfortable many of us become when there is a lull in a conversation, to the point where we feel obligated to joke about the “awkward silence.” Why do we automatically assume that silence is awkward, unwanted, and undesirable? Perhaps it’s because we’ve become so accustomed to the constant noise, constant conversation, and constant talking that we find silence unsettling. We forget to allow ourselves to simply be, to give grace to ourselves and others by utilizing silence as a tool to process everything we’re taking in.

After all, there is much talking and not much true listening that happens around us daily. And by true listening, I refer to the kind of listening where we set aside our personal agendas and wrap ourselves in the other person’s words, seeking to better understand and appreciate them for who they are.

Sometimes silence speaks more loudly than any words could. When we don’t know what to say, sometimes silence is the answer. Let’s get comfortable with that.

  • A Time to Speak

Yes, silence is a beautiful thing and doesn’t have to be unsettling.

However, I’ve discovered lately that it’s vital to maintain a balanced relationship with silence, because it can become two-faced, morphing into a bitter enemy instead of being a pleasant, quiet companion.

Of course, silence is indeed a beautiful thing for reflection, true listening, and understanding. But yielding too much to silence, especially if we struggle with insecurity, can also keep us locked away in a cage. We become so accustomed to silence’s presence that we become willing captives, allowing our self-doubt to consume us and prevent us from speaking, especially when it’s most important for us to do so. Silence can be devastating in the times where we’ve needed someone to speak, someone to bravely stand up for the wrongdoings in this fallen world.

So how do we know when we’ve become too silent? I’ve grown to understand we must look at silence’s purpose in order to discover the core differences of when silence becomes detrimental.

Silence is meant:

  • to heal
  • to soothe
  • to reflect
  • to relax
  • to exercise patience
  • to promote self-control

Silence is not meant:

  • to isolate
  • to avoid
  • to harbor bitterness
  • to promote self-doubt
  • to follow the “easier” path

When we find ourselves harboring the negatives of the latter list, silence has now become an inhibitor of our growth and a detriment to our character. And so, it is paramount that we examine ourselves and ask:

“What is my reason for being silent?”

Is it fear, insecurity, anger, avoidance?

Or is it to help us practice “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control”? Asking ourselves these questions is what prevents silence from overwhelming us.


Whether we feel overly complacent in silence or avoid it at all costs, if we understand that silence is a wonderful tool to serve others and allow ourselves to grow in character, we don’t need to fear silence. In fact, we can uncover confidence and assurance.

So, let yourself be silent.

But also, speak. The world needs to hear from you.


“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: […] a time to be silent and a time to speak” Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 7

“Inner silence is for our race a difficult achievement. There is a chattering part of the mind which continues, until it is corrected, to chatter on even in the holiest places.” – C.S. Lewis