I’m sorry…

I’m sorry that I’m not them,
I’m sorry that I’m not what you want,
And I’m sorry that I’m not what you need.

I’m sorry that I mess everything up,
I’m sorry that I keep hurting you,
And I’m sorry that I’m not good enough.

I think you should just cut me loose,
Honestly. It’s not worth the trouble.
I’m a burden and nuisance, honestly.

I’m an extroverted lone-wolf, just standoffish and cold-hearted,
so I’m sorry.

I’m sorry.

I’m…

Sorry.

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Saturday Changed Everything Too

Remember when Thursday changed everything? I felt ashamed, stupid, tainted, and cowardly. I was confused about what had happened that night, and maybe I will always be. But five hundred and forty-five days later, my life is still very contingent on that specific moment in time; it consumes my thoughts and actions and has nearly compromised my faith. Following Jesus makes life so incredib…ly difficult 90% of the time, especially when we are confronted with the reality of how broken we are on a daily basis. And if we really want to dig deeper, we enter into conflict with how the brokenness and sin consequentially impact the rest of our lives.

To preface my anecdote, let me explain what happened after that Thursday night a year ago. When I returned to campus for the school year, I spent the night nearly two weeks in a row with a friend because I couldn’t sleep alone. I ignored that guy for six months and pretended that our encounter never happened. Sometimes he’d send me a snapchat, but I usually didn’t reply. I was so thoroughly disgusted at myself for “letting” that happen, so I was in denial and depressed about everything. On the first day of February, I impulsively sent him a text message describing every feeling I had about him and that night, hoping that I could finally move on with my life.

Instead, we made up and decided to pursue our friendship again. We were snapchatting and talking about how he was coming home for Valentine’s weekend, and he casually mentioned visiting me. All of my friends had plans and my roommates were out of the apartment, so it seemed perfect. I was ramped up on hormones and decided that I wanted that. He (also being extremely hormonal) convinced me to send him pictures. I’ll never know why I did, but it felt good to feel desired by someone. I’m not “that girl,” yet somehow I am in every way. Of course I felt convicted afterwards, but that doesn’t change the choice I made.

Typical to his character though, he bailed at the last minute and left me hanging. I distinctly remember sitting on my bedroom floor, alone in the darkness the day before Valentine’s Day, feeling unloved, unwanted, and undesirable. I looked and felt like a crumpled, soggy wad of paper, heaving and sobbing as loudly as I could muster. For a moment while I was staring at the number glowing on my phone screen, I strongly considered calling up a douchebag guy that I hardly knew to hook up. Wouldn’t that make my friend wish he’d been with me instead? Rather than that, I took a dozen Advil and a long, hot shower to numb my heartache. Honestly, it was a miracle I didn’t die that night. I texted him later that week and said I was glad he didn’t visit, because it would’ve been a huge mistake on my part. I tried cutting myself off from him but couldn’t do it completely. I was ambivalent towards him in the sense that I equally felt addicted to his attention and hateful for constantly hurting me.

Fast forward to May, we’d “moved past” him hurting me again, and I thought for sure that he actually cared about me. He’d ask for pictures, and I’d send them. He wanted me again, so that meant he cared, right? After speaking with someone older and wiser about what I’d been going through, it was becoming unquestionably clear that what I had been doing was not only wrong but very damaging. So again, I attempted to cut ties with him by texting him and telling him that I was done. Of course later I couldn’t stand not receiving his attention, so we cleaned the slate (AGAIN) and tried pursuing strictly a friendship  (AGAIN).

October came around, and he mentioned graduating from basic soon. Since February, I had been scheming to hurt him in ways he’d hurt me. I was obsessed with this new desire for revenge and sought out zero positive outlets to help me manage those feelings. I wanted to take back the virginity he stole from me, and why did celibacy matter if I’d already lost it to him anyways? What would be so bad with doing it a second time? When he messaged me and said he wanted to visit as soon as possible, I have no freaking idea why, but I gave in and agreed. I’ll spare the graphic details of my demise, but I was a hot mess; I got myself a little tipsy with some  liquid courage, had sex to supposedly prove a point to myself, and sent him packing the next morning after he bought me breakfast. October 29 was the Saturday that changed everything too.

I tell this story because I royally f**ked up, because I’m inherently royally f**ked up (mankind = sin). So yes, Christians mess up ALL OF THE TIME. I guess that’s why the Gospel is so unfathomable to the world, because anyone that puts faith in Jesus is guaranteed salvation in Heaven… after lying, sneaking around, having sex, sending degrading nude pictures, or hurting others (and oneself). I have no idea why Jesus would save someone like me, but that’s why it’s called faith isn’t it? Faith is believing when something is beyond your control or understanding. I realize how damaged I am now, so I’m going to counseling this time. The thoughts that ran through my head belonged to a version of me I’d never seen before and contradicted everything I believe in, but nonetheless was still me. I don’t want to be “that girl” anymore, but now it is a part of me. I want to learn from all of this and try to change. I want to honor God with my body, but I can’t do it on my own. And if you are reading this and can’t either, know that other people are going through this with you. I am going through this with you.

Moral of the story: sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and ask for help, even if that means professional help. It wasn’t worth taking matters into my own hands and acting impulsively, and I have no excuse for the way I acted. I nearly forfeited everything I stood for to enact revenge on someone that hurt me, and all of it could have been avoided if I would have dealt with my anguish a year ago when it all began.

You are never too tragic for the love of Jesus, I promise.

And trusting that phrase is a journey that I’ve only just begun. Life is a fight to the death, but we have to believe that we are worth the fight to stand a chance.

If I Were Darkness

You’d finally see me
But you wouldn’t have all of me this time
I’d be able to rest
And dance as a shadow near a flame
Because my soul would be unburdened
And my hands washed of this damned spot
I’d fill every cavity and crevice of your body
To suffocate you and let you know that
You’re drowning in loneliness too
Then I’d leave as quickly as I came
Without uttering any sort of goodbye

The Holly Trinity

My heart is stuttering, my palms are sweaty, and I’m convinced I’ve swallowed a kaleidoscope of lead butterflies; yet at the same time, I feel disembodied. The past, present and future versions of myself are all completely different beings right now.

Past Me is in a coma, overdosed on heartache and anesthetics,

Present Me is sitting at the bedside, shamed into a state of paralyzing confusion and silence,

and Future Me is lost in the space-time continuum, weeping, trying desperately to find Present Me and shake her back into reality.

What have I done?

But that’s just it, it’s done.

So what will I do next?

Just a Concept

That’s how I feel about love. It’s just a glorified concept that alludes me, always just out of reach. I don’t believe it to be a tangible feeling, but rather a legend we tell around the campfire to help us sleep at night.

I’ve heard it said that God’s love is enduring and forever, the only of it’s kind; we should feel it and know it to be truth. To me, love seems just beyond the next hill or maybe around the next turn, the perpetual chase. But today especially, I feel too overwhelmed and exhausted to chase it. I don’t feel God’s love and I definitely don’t feel any other kind. All I feel is the injustice of love’s interactions.

We tell ourselves that love is worth it, right? That one day there is a happy ending somewhere in the midst? Like when the nicest girl you knew in high school lost her father to cancer, or when your best friend gave everything she had to a man she loved, but he changed his mind? Happy ending, right? Or when a friend of yours just wants the beauty of marriage, but her boyfriend of two years is too afraid to commit so they break up. Or when her roommate wants to date someone that shares her values and beliefs, but she’s stuck in a whirlwind of hurt and disappointment from the lack of evidence that such a man exists. Tell me love is real. Tell me why, after confronting the man that broke my heart and stole my virginity apologized, I don’t feel any differently; not relieved or happy, just numb. Tell me love is real.

I need to know that one day pain isn’t going to twist the knife in my heart anymore, or that shame won’t tighten its grip on my throat anymore. I want to feel that love is real, and I want to be able to breath again when I think about my chances of having a happy ending. I want my friends to know the riches of love, and I want to believe in it again. But for now, it’s just a concept.

Identity Crisis Series: The Damage of Autonomy

I briefly touched on the harmful impact autonomy has on an individual in the first post of this series, but I’d like to elucidate further. First of all, it is important to break down the meaning of autonomy and apply it in a culturally relevant manner. To be autonomous is to be self-governed or independent under a set of relative moral guidelines. In other words, “Every man for himself.” In the scientific community, I think Herbert Spencer’s evolutionary theory of natural selection, or “Survival of the Fittest,” best describes autonomy. In many ways, our society views success and happiness in this way.

But what happens when we find out that we aren’t the fastest, smartest, prettiest, or wealthiest in the food chain? Where does our identity lie when our autonomy fails us? We all reach a point some time or another when we think, “All my gifts and all my efforts must sure add up to something!” (Nathan Partain, I Need Jesus). But when they don’t, then what? If you find worth in your ability to play basketball for example, what do you do with your life when you find out from the doctor that you’ve lost your ability to walk? Or if you’re a mother of four diagnosed with a fatal disease, so you won’t get to watch your children grow into adults or even see your grandchildren? Or your wife of twelve years looks at you one day and says, “You know… I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore. I want a divorce.” The truth is sobering, especially in a world that tells us that we should do everything on our own. People always leave, and the world is a broken place. We fail others,  we fail ourselves, and others fail us. Perfection is impossible and autonomy is lonely.

Autonomy naturally encourages isolation, which is a dangerous thing. Humanity sees isolation as a method of weeding out the pain and disappointment we tend to blame others for. I don’t think it’s that far of a stretch to say that isolation is a form of perfectionism on some level. We try to control who hurts us and when, but in reality autonomy damages ourselves the most; it doesn’t take into account the importance of community. People often develop a strong sense of belonging when connected by relationships with others based on love, trust, and support. We learn our own needs by knowing when to ask for help, and more importantly we exchange that help when someone else is in need. Building community leads to healing, growing, serving, loving, and learning– all of which are vital in curing an identity crisis. When we push ourselves away and decide that it’s every man for himself, we are spitting in the face of Truth. The cure for everything is in our hand, yet we destroy every last drop. Autonomy rejects serving, loving, healing, learning, and growing. By choosing isolation, we are left with two outcomes: static growth or degeneration. How can we find our identities if we never change or if we self-destruct? Autonomy is a coward, and it feeds on our fears, insecurities, and most of all, shame. If this is the grand plan for attaining success and happiness, then I quit. The only way to break the cycle of autonomy’s damaging grip on an identity crisis is to face adversity in community with others.

Identity Crisis Series: Introduction

It’s often told that an identity crisis punches the clock at exactly the ages of 40 through 50, especially in the unhappily married community. It’s not exclusive to the underpaid and overworked 40-somethings who need a change of pace and some heavy counseling (although that stereotype can still be correct). Tradition fails to mention possibly one of the most underestimated truths in our culture: people of any age are susceptible to an identity crisis.

Developmental or childhood influences, stresses, struggles, and societal demands can all be ingredients in the melting pot of an identity crisis. Maybe it was something traumatic that happened as a child that has always mentally scarred you, maybe it was a life-altering situation that you haven’t fully dealt with, or it could even be the pressure in society to perform a certain way or look a certain part. Regardless of the cause, it is impossible to put an age restriction on an identity crisis!

So why does an identity crisis happen? Each individual has their own experiences, perceptions, and coping mechanisms. Let’s take 9/11 for example, since we’ve just recognized the fourteenth anniversary of that tragic day. Millions of Americans were impacted by the same situation, yet each person reacted in a different way entirely. Though we can all remember that day very clearly, the experience varies for everyone. We’d all been involved in the same situation, but in ways that altered our personal perceptions and ignited unique coping mechanisms on an individual basis. A fork in the road is found, and we can either retreat back to our fundamental truths to cope or try to forge our own understanding without the help of others.

An identity crisis holds that very essence. I’ve found that I’m in the middle of an identity crisis because I took a wrong turn at the fork in the road. As I’ve said before, my fundamental truths lie in Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible. My problem is not that I retreated back to my values when my world was shaken, but rather my problem is that I didn’t. Our generation has such a concentrated focus on autonomy, but nobody tells us how lonely, difficult, or unsteady it is.

Autonomy whispers, “You’ve got this! You don’t need anyone else, they’re just going to let you down!” It is just a glass ceiling that superficially holds us up in the face of gravity. It wasn’t meant to support us when the world comes crashing down, because what happens when the world shatters the glass on its way down? Are you going to fall through the ceiling and land on your foundation, or do you keep falling through the air waiting for someone or something to catch you?

The whispers of autonomy are wrong, because salvation is an external entity only. I strongly believe that if salvation could be self-governed, suicide would be impossible. If we could handle anything on our own, suicide wouldn’t overcome the depressed or lonely. Autonomy is merely an illusion, and fuel for the flames of an identity crisis.

Departure.

The Almanac Of Life

I wish to slip away all from my life, all that I have known of it. To hide, in the comfort of darkness.
It’s an inexplicable notion of solitude which pulls me into itself. I crave it.

To leave and depart, away from friends, family and mindless acquaintances. Live a life alone among strangers. Maybe in the echoing mountains. They aren’t too far from here.

Its sometimes gets too much, running the rat race, failing to even excel despite pushing myself to, incessantly We have stopped living for ourselves. Our lives have crumbled away, leaving a simple, meaningless existence.

I hate to put on different masks for different situations, places-school, home, road, friends. Every day. Every moment. Mentally taxing, emotionally draining events being repeated in a monotonous note.

We photograph not to capture memories, but to make our lives seem better than they are. We are making our lives shallow…

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