Walls

For much of my life I have built walls. I’m a master builder and my walls are thick and strong. I compartmentalized these walls to hold everything inside it locked up tight. It’s a defense mechanism learned from an early childhood of uncertainty.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m dramatic, and I like to make people laugh, and I have a sharp tongue. They mistake my walls for confidence, and sometimes I do, too.

Walls are built for two reasons: To keep things out, and to keep things in. For so long I have beaten on the walls of my heart begging to be let out. Knowing I was not being heard through these walls. These walls were strong. They were built out of fear, and anger, and resentment. They had been fortified with abandonment and disappointment and distrust.

I was angry at these walls that kept me from feeling; from getting close to people. I was angry at my inability to break them when I had built them myself. I was angry at my anger.

But just as Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,” I realized screaming and beating on these walls in a frenzy only made them stronger. It only made them higher. It only made them harder to break in or out.

But then something happened to me, and I struggle to find the words to even explain what it was other than it was like waking up from a long sleep. I began to fill in the gaps of things I had pushed away and face them. I found the way to break the walls, but what I didn’t know was how sheltered I had kept myself beneath in my own darkness. I cried. I cried a lot.

And then I forgave. I forgave a lot, starting with my father.

I expected more than he had to give me growing up, things he wanted to give me but he just didn’t have it at that time to give to me. In my own breaking, I saw his humanity. His fragility. His hurt. How his hurt made him hurt others. How he tried to numb it and fill it and make it stop hurting. Laying down our anger and picking up mercy and love is the path to grace, and I don’t mean that religiously, although you can take take it that way if you wish. I mean it spiritually, because that has everything to do with what we are.

I surrender to this being my path. It’s not how I planned it, but it’s the path I was given and I will travel it and live it to the best of my ability, and hopefully without these walls my voice, my divine gift- misused for so long- can finally be heard. Everyone has their demons and everyone has their delights. When you look with mercy you find more delight.

“We looked for the good in them, and we found it.”- Pollyanna

It’s the GRINCH

I’ve decided to make my home a “Christmas Free” zone this year. I can’t honestly tell you the last time I or if I’ve ever just “skipped” Christmas, but it just feels too much to bear this year. 10 Years ago was the last Christmas I was married. That year a battered women’s shelter had reached out to me to see if they could add me to their angel tree list. My son on an angel tree. I hated myself for that. Just the year before I had been able to spoil him and here we were accepting charity from a charity I had many times supported families.

But, I still pulled out the Christmas tree that year in our first little apartment. It engulfed the room in it’s size having been purchased for a much larger space. We made the Christmas cookies. We read the stories. We watched the movies. And even thought I cried what felt like a ocean of tears that year and beyond, he was still mine for a little bit longer.

By the following Christmas his father would have absconded with him, and we would go at least 2 Christmases without one another. I try so hard to find forgiveness in my heart for the magic of when our son still believed being taken from me. I had always made Christmas warm and beautiful and inviting. I did it for me, and when my son came along, I threw myself into it. We would dance around in the front yard on Christmas even tossing glittered “reindeer food” in the air as we sang as loudly as we could. That was the last one, right before everything crumbled.

It’s been a long 10 years. Mostly Christmas is spent rushing around the day of to get him back to his father as quickly as possible. I’ll never be done with the sentence he served of desiring my freedom my mistake made by a 20 year old child.

And here I am, 10 years later in much the same position I was that Christmas. This year has been a year of transformation and its positively broken me down to the barest and most raw form I’ve ever been. I don’t “need a little Christmas right this very minute,” I need my son, to get this derailed train on track and a very very very long nap.

I feel completely defeated and I don’t honestly care who knows it or what they think of it. So please no candy canes and Merry Christmas.

When Darkness Comes

My scale battery went dead a few months ago.  I made a mild attempt to find a replacement battery, but gave up finding anyone who actually worked at my local Walmart.  Apparently there you wear a vest and get a paycheck.  Easy enough.  So I never replaced the battery.

Just add the battery for the scale to the long list of very easy and menial tasks that I can barely manage around the house these days.  Some days just moving around and looking human takes more effort than I feel I can muster and yet still I manage.  But, each day I feel myself a little smaller; a little less of me there.  Depression has it’s way of eating you from the inside out.  Clothes I could barely fit into a month ago slide on with ease and are almost loose.  However, this isn’t for vanity.  It’s a desire to shrink; to shrivel.  A desire to be less noticeable; less of me.

Depression is a liar, but it’s a harsh smooth talker.  Depression tells you that if anyone really knew you, they would hate you.  It tells you that no one in their right mind would want someone so fragile and broken. So many pieces to put together, and who knows how long the glue will hold.  Depression tells you you’re fat and ugly and worthless, and it doesn’t matter how loudly people say otherwise-Depression speaks with a loudspeaker.

There are times when Depression can be a monster that threatens your life, sometimes over and over again.

Depression is not weakness of Faith.  It isn’t being a “Negative Nelly”.  It’s a faceless life force drain that makes you feel like you’re in a pit you can’t get out.

Depression is not for the weak.  Depression has no prejudices against social status.

Depression is an equal opportunity destroyer.

Depression can laugh like Robin Williams.

Sing like Chris Cornell.

Depression can be sudden and swift like a tsunami.

Or it can be quicksand.

What depression is not is a personal failing.  Check on your people, especially during the holidays.

 

When the Sun Goes Out

My son hasn’t spoken to me in at least 2 months. I grounded him from the PS4 because it was interfering with the brief time we did have together and he tried to speak to me as though he were man of the house I pay for and provide all things.

I let him know what time it was.

He’s punishing me by refusing to see or speak to me. I know he’s being a teenager, but I don’t think he’ll ever realize how leaving me now has made the world a little darker when it was already hard to see. Leaving me now was the worst possible time to go.

My son was always my short reprieve from solitude. Laughter. Eating junk food. Staying up late all weekend. Hearing how he sees the world and thinks. Ever since he was a baby I’ve eagerly awaited each layer of him that unfolds. Looking at him now I’m amazed at how angular and handsome he is becoming. God I miss him.

But, I don’t want to force him to see me because that rejection is more than I want to subject myself to right now.

I have nothing to offer in sage advice on this matter. It hurts too much now to look at it objectively.

I just hope one day he wants to come back.

Life is messy.

—Aphrodite in Real Life

Darling, Everything Is As It Should Be

Every morning when I wake and leave my bedroom, the first thing that meets my eye is a sign I hung on the opposite wall of my living room hall that reads, “Darling, everything is as it should be.” It hangs above the ashes of my beloved shih-tzu Mimi who took this long journey with me and died just as we crossed the finish line 2 days after my Masters Commencement.

Darling everything is as it should be, even when you’re shattered. That’s a hard thing to connect.

I look around my tiny apartment. A short glance and I have surveyed all that I own which isn’t much, but it’s cozy and mine. I can see the cracks, though. Laundry I just can’t muster to go through or fold. A broken dishwasher that I can’t even call into maintenance until I clean every dish and I’ve let it go so long I put them in the bathtub.

I’ll leave it up to you to guess if they are still there.

I don’t know what I thought my life would be like when I finished my masters. I kind of thought life would begin, not fall apart. In a lot of ways, it feels as though I’m freshly broken from a cocoon, a butterfly with still wet wings not yet ready to take flight, and really confused with what just happened. Who I was and who I am, while the same is entirely different.

Darling, everything is as it should be. But how can it be when I’m such a hot mess?

All my life I have battled and struggled with the ups and downs of depression and extreme anxiety. Add a big dose of perfectionism and “I can do it myself” and you have the perfect recipe for self-loathing. I’ve always stood out. I’ve always been “noticed” and while I’ve become accustomed to it in a way, most days I wish for a cloak of invisibility–to be smaller; less visible.

Darling, everything is as it should be.

This chaos we live in, sometimes it is our own making. We fear the judgment of others. We fear taking chances. We fear speaking up. We fear we aren’t where we should be.

It’s the surrendering to everything is as it should be that is the most difficult and liberating thing I have ever attempted. It’s embracing the bad and the good and seeing them as the same- for your greater good. Think of every bad thing that ever happened to you. Now think of something good that came out of it. Did you learn something? Did you enhance someone’s happiness? Did you learn what you don’t want so that you can find what you do?

Life is so messy. So incredibly beautifully messy. Embrace it all.

Darling, everything is as it should be.

–Aphrodite In Real Life

Darling, Everything Is As It Should Be

Every morning when I wake and leave my bedroom, the first thing that meets my eye is a sign I hung on the opposite wall of my living room hall that reads, “Darling, everything is as it should be.”  It hangs above the ashes of my beloved shih-tzu Mimi who took this long journey with me and died just as we crossed the finish line 2 days after my Masters Commencement.

Darling everything is as it should be, even when you’re shattered.  That’s a hard thing to connect.

I look around my tiny apartment.  A short glance and I have surveyed all that I own which isn’t much, but it’s cozy and mine.  I can see the cracks, though.  Laundry I just can’t muster to go through or fold.  A broken dishwasher that I can’t even call into maintenance until I clean every dish and I’ve let it go so long I put them in the bathtub.

I’ll leave it up to you to guess if they are still there.

I don’t know what I thought my life would be like when I finished my masters.  I kind of thought life would begin, not fall apart.  In a lot of ways, it feels as though I’m freshly broken from a cocoon, a butterfly with still wet wings not yet ready to take flight, and really confused with what just happened.  Who I was and who I am, while the same is entirely different.

Darling, everything is as it should be.  But how can it be when I’m such a hot mess?

All my life I have battled and struggled with the ups and downs of depression and extreme anxiety.  Add a big dose of perfectionism and “I can do it myself” and you have the perfect recipe for self-loathing.  I’ve always stood out.  I’ve always been “noticed” and while I’ve become accustomed to it in a way, most days I wish for a cloak of invisibility–to be smaller; less visible.

Darling, everything is as it should be.

This chaos we live in, sometimes it is our own making.  We fear the judgment of others.  We fear taking chances.  We fear speaking up.  We fear we aren’t where we should be.

It’s the surrendering to everything is as it should be that is the most difficult and liberating things I have ever attempted.   It’s embracing the bad and the good and seeing them as the same- for your greater good.  Think of every bad thing that ever happened to you.  Now think of something good that came out of it.  Did you learn something?  Did you enhance someone’s happiness?  Did you learn what you don’t want so that you can find what you do?

Life is so messy.  So incredibly beautifully messy.  Embrace it all.

Darling, everything is as it should be.

 

Dig Deep

It’s an overcast brisk November Sunday afternoon.  Having spent most of the morning huddled on the couch beneath blankets, catching up on social media and reflecting on the state of my life, I’m almost in awe in the amount of change that has occurred.  I look around and I see my surroundings evolving more to reflect my true self.  I’ve worked hard to remove emotional barriers and mend broken relationships.  I’ve let go the relationships that no longer served me.  I released myself to complete surrender to whatever happens will happen.  Whatever has happened has happened and I am still here and still breathing and still carrying on.  I am a living reflection of my own will to keep going despite my desire at times to not go on any further.

Realizing I only had maybe a few hours at best to take Daisy to the dog park, I hastened to find my coat as she dragged her leash to me.  “Okay okay.  I can take a hint!”  Daisy.  My new dog.  My new puppy that I love with all my heart but is a symbol of this transformation as all the old fell away, and my dear old companion Mimi left me just as I completed my Masters.  Oh, how life has changed.

It used to be that I thought if I could beat someone with my intellect then that meant something.  How stupid I was. What an absolute WASTE of my talent and skills.  I sat on the park bench as Daisy played and I reflected on what I wanted first for the world, and then for myself, and I meditated or “prayed” if you will.  My prayer for the world is to seek the commonality between each other first.  Dig for it.  DIG DEEP for it.  We are all made of the same stuff.  We are all in this together.  Yes, we have our differences but our differences aren’t honestly what make us special.  It’s our commonality.  It’s our humanity.  Its our love of our children and family.  It’s the good we all feel when we are kind to someone.  It’s the peace we feel when we give more than we take; when we listen more than we speak.

Dig deep to find the commonality in each other today and everyday.  Even the ones that are the hardest to love.  Dig Deeper.  Don’t sacrifice your principles, but love never would have you sacrifice that.  Love conquers all.

My other prayer was for myself and was very specific.  I keep it between me and the source from which we all sprang.  God.  Star Stuff.  Whatever you believe or don’t believe is fine with me, truly.  However, my prayer I will keep between me and the One Source.

However, I will share this- I pray that I give more than I take.