Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, Living Water, mental-health

A Piece of Church


I found church last night in Barnes and Noble.

I left my mom self at home and went out to person for a while.  To feed my soul so that I could feed us all.

I used to be a strictly fiction reader, escaping my world for one more exotic, yet predictable.  Since the beginning, books have been my home, my haven, my safe house.

And then I hatched.  I birthed myself afresh from the confining cocoon of uneasy comfort which held me captive.  I found again my love of learning that had gone dormant out of fear.   I found biographies.  Memoirs.  People pouring words out of themselves about their realness.  Humor.  Growth.  Humanity.

So I drink it in.  There’s always a new Amazon box.  Another podcast.  The next Audible book.  It’s exhilarating.  Life-giving.  In a lonely time in my life I have found communion and companionship in the spoken and written hearts of others who have been down paths that look like mine.  Past landmarks that I have seen as well.  Whose growth and evolution inspires me to lean into change.

At first, I held it all close to the vest.  The tender sprouts of my new understanding too frail to be exposed to the harsh elements of the world outside myself.  And then, like Jeremiah, it became a burning in my bones, lighting my soul on fire with epiphanies of life and love.

I drew courage from others who speak.  From the gorgeous souls who bravely bare themselves for connection.  I haltingly said a thing.  And carefully another.  It did not kill me.  I breathed in this realization.  Pondered it.  Gathered it to me like a gift.

I went to Barnes and Noble to wander the aisles looking for more courage.  For the people from whom my book people had gotten their inspiration.  Down the rabbit hole of the next author.  And another.  And the next.  Trusting that my searching, my craving for life is opening my mind and my heart to the more and more and more love and connection and healing that the human soul longs for.

Someone else was looking too.  Another human on a path of learning, expanding, growing.

We had church in the aisle.

All the burning newness.  The soul fire of love and learning.  The unlearned and the relearned.  The gift of letting the words out.  Another portion of courage and vulnerability.

I left in a glow of glory.  I felt alive with the magic of it.

I take wonder in.  I absorb concepts.  I mull ideas.  But they don’t fully become mine until they move from my brain to my mouth.  From my mind to my fingers.  Somehow, the act of passing them out of me catalyzes them.  They are transformed from glowing embers into roaring flames.

This is my church.  This is where my soul is fed.  This is my learning come to life.  This is where I find resurrection.  In Barnes and Noble with a stranger.  Who is really not a stranger at all but a human who is connected to my humanity by hope.  By the courage to be alive.  By the bravery to grow and change and be made new.  By the capacity to live loved.

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Posted in Insane in the Brain, Thanks for the memories, The Donor Chronicles

#MeToo


Does my #MeToo count?

Does it count if I was groped by my mother “teaching” me what men want to do to me?

Does it count if I had to fear that I would displease my parents while in the midst of my monthly cycle because the consequence was a more humiliating naked beating than usual?

Does it count if kids my own age explored my newly forming breasts?

Does it count if I was warned that my hair wet from the shower would cause my father to lust after me?

Does it count that the only positive affirmation I received in the early part of my teen years was cat-calling and wolf whistles?

Is my #MeToo bad enough to count among the #MeToo’s?

Posted in Insane in the Brain, Living Water, Thanks for the memories

Otherwise, what is the point?


Where to start when I have been a hermit for so long?  Also, I realize writing a blog post does little to reform my hermit status.  It merely makes me a sporadically blogging hermit.  Which is possibly more disturbing than the sum of its parts.  Life and its myriad hand grenades have me retreating into my suburban cave without my noticing the extent of the retreat.  I was tipped off to the seriousness of my hermitage when an audio book I had purchased on Audible concluded with the author’s thanks to various people who had made her work possible.  And I felt a surge of jealousy.  They were all authors that I love.  I was mad that they had been hanging out without me.

Ahem.

Moving on…

Ok.  Ok.  I see a therapist.  I’ll bring it up.  Like none of you have thought anything so disturbing.

Which brings me to what my heart is bleeding to let out.  What my soul has been learning and my mouth does not know how to say.

There is room for me.  My humanity is not too complicated to be sustained by Love.  The scars I have do not disqualify my belonging.

The vastness of Truth has got to be bigger than my doubts and my questions.  I cannot believe that I can dethrone God by wondering if everything I have believed, been taught to believe, is a fabrication.  I cannot imagine that the One who holds all things together is given to fits of insecurity when I deconstruct, again and again, things I had never thought to question.

It is a lonely road, to be sure, this uneven journey of discovery.  It has little to mark it as a path when the truths that once lit my way have been dulled by disaster, pain, and tragedy.  When the roadmap I hold up for guidance is in tatters and is no longer the sure thing I once took for granted.  When everything outside me is a weight of uncertainty that threatens to suffocate the breath from my lungs.  When, in an attempt to beat the hell out of me, someone else’s proclaimed truths also beat the heaven out of me.

Truth has got to be bigger than that.  Love has got to be stronger than that.  It has to have room for my doubt, my questions, my reality, my humanity.  Otherwise, what good is it?

I am made in the image of Love.  Surely a little messiness doesn’t scare Him.  A lot of messiness doesn’t scare him either.  The truth I need to know isn’t out there, ever in danger of flight.  It’s not an elusive, ethereal something always slipping from my grasp, always on the verge of evacuating my doubting heart.

If I belong to Love, if Love holds all together, if I am made in Love’s image, than Love is not frightened by my growth.  Love welcomes the evolution.  Love cheers in pride for me as I take my first tottering steps of liberation from fear.

My truth in this season is that I miss trusting fear.  Fear protected me from so much.  At least that’s what I’m mostly sure of.

But there is no fear in love.  So I am learning how to step out of fear and take Love’s hand.  Love says, “I am already in you.  You need not fear.”

So what if I mess up?  So what if I get it wrong sometimes?  So what if not being afraid makes me do things that are not what is expected of me?  So what if I don’t color in the lines?

I am made in the image of Love.  Truth is not shaken by doubt.

If the proof that I am in Love are the fruits of Love in my life, than I say bring it on.  Because I see Love in myself.  I am seeing Love in the faces of others.  Joy and peace are more characteristic of my life than before.  I am learning patience and kindness, first with myself, and then others.  And autonomy.  That sense that I belong only to Love and Love to me.

That the masterpiece of me is exactly what Love wants to see.

Posted in Thanks for the memories

From Loved


She often asks me, “What do you know?”

I steady my breathing.  Ground myself in the room.  Be in the present.

And then I frantically grasp for something profound that validates my right to exist.  Some existential concept that buys me a place in life by virtue of depth and uncommon wisdom.  Something to make up for the deficit that I am.

If I have to grasp for it, it’s not really mine.  It’s not really what I know.  So I’m learning how to slow down.  To quiet the frantic pursuit.  To be still so the dust can settle.  So I can know.  And when the dust does settle, when the chaos of panicked searching calms, what is there?  Even if I have no answers.  Even if I don’t know what questions to ask.

Loved.

I am loved.

What I know and what I believe is in flux.  Changing.  Evolving.  Making room for bigger and more complex paradoxes and truths.  Because that’s what being human is.  Growth.  Change.  Evolution.  I started out with a disaster of a belief.  A way of existing bequeathed to me by a jagged and broken system birthed in the pain of a myriad of other tales of human suffering.  The human soul wants to live and survive but it also wants to grow and thrive.  So the scrappy, fragile me broke out piece by piece into a new day, a new life.  A life fresh with questions, with terrifying possibilities.

Loved.

I am here.

I am Loved.

And that is what I know.

Loved makes space to ask and grow and learn and become.

Loved says yes to connection.  Loved finds beauty wherever it can be found.  Love has room for all the ways our souls long and question and grow.  Love is not afraid of different.  Love is not put off by doubt.  Love is big enough for you.  Love is big enough for me.  It is big enough for us to figure out our shit together.  Love does not demand a reason for being.  It does not require you to validate your existence.  Love says you are here and that is enough.  You are enough.

So I choose to live from Loved.  I answer from Loved.  I grow from Loved.

It is messy and uncertain.  It is different.  It is wild.  It is not tame or confined.

But it is real.  Authentic.  Genuine.  Organic.  And so very Alive.

There is no adventure like the life lived from Loved.

So I answer her in the quiet space.

What do I know?

I know acceptance.

I know Loved.

 

so loved...

Posted in Insane in the Brain, mental-health, of yore, Thanks for the memories, The Donor Chronicles

Life is a minefield.


There’s a book inside me trying to get out.  It’s called I was beaten more days than not.  It’s called the beatings are still with me.  It’s called I love you and I’m smiling but my heart is crying inside.  Screaming in pain.  The book is fighting with fear.  Fear was my best friend.  Fear kept me alive.  But now fear is keeping the book inside and it’s going to kill me if it doesn’t get out.  It’s going to grow and eat me like cancer.  Or give me actual cancer.  The book wants to be heard.   The book is me.  It’s all the ages I was when Fear was keeping me alive.  Or hope.  Because I think Hope might be Fear’s cousin.  Not that I understand family or anything.  Family, after all, is what Fear and Hope tried to save me from for all those years.  In all those dark moments.  You know, the moments when you’re told by the people who brought you into this world that you are disgusting to your core.  That they never actually wanted you.  That you’re always on the verge of wrath and judgement.  God is looking at you and He wants to vomit.  All that lovely, nurturing honesty that builds loving and confident members of society.  I lived in the dark for years after I left the darkness.  I took it with me.  It lived on in my barely breathing soul.  I pretended to be a living person.  I even fooled myself for a time.  But a living darkness like mine cannot be tricked into dying.  It knows it’s alive.  And when my careful charade of life was struck a blow by another version of what first tried to end me, the darkness began to weep.  It made myself heard.  All the me’s had found their voice.  And gave it to the pain.  The vibrations cracked my shell and I hatched.  I was reborn.  As a newborn, yet less helpless than before.  The metamorphosis startled me.  It knocked my back off my feet.  I tentatively thanked the fear for keeping me alive, and handed the keys to hope instead with trembling hands.  I can see colors I didn’t before.  I can hear sounds I was deaf to.  I can feel the life.  I can see it teeming all around me.  In its glory and agony.  Sometimes I break again from the weight of it.  The darkness is still with me.  Some days it rides shotgun.  Some days I can call it an Uber.  Other days it stuffs me in a trunk and I’m not sure where we’re going.  But then I hatch again.  Another part of me is born and freed to begin again.  Quivering with possibility and apprehension.  Most do not welcome my darkness.  Very few can accept the constant rebirth.  I am too much for many and not enough for nearly all.  But there is a book inside me, fighting with fear to get out.  And maybe when Fear and Hope and Me can walk into the light together, I will feel heard.   And the pain will settle to a dull roar.  Which is preferable to the constant ringing in my head.

Posted in Gifts, Insane in the Brain, Living Water, mental-health, Movies, Thanks for the memories

a Date


Personing is hard.  At any given moment an infinite variation of life is coming at you.

Mothering is hard.  It’s complicated.  Consuming.  4 people’s perfect souls are in my care.  They are all 4 so vastly unique.  They each need something different from the others.  And possibly even different than what they needed 3 hours ago.

Being a wife is beautiful.  Amazing.  Rewarding.  And hard.  It demands that your ever evolving humanity hyphenates wholeheartedly with another person’s ever evolving humanity.

PTSD is hard.  Actually, it sucks balls.  It is vicious.  Unpredictable.  Parasitic.  It is about 5 full-time jobs rolled into one that you can’t clock out of.  Your body is constantly picking up the slack for your brain.  Your brain is all, “Bye, Felicia” when you need it most and your body is left to pick up the fragments.  Flashbacks are always at the most inconvenient times and inappropriate situations.  Scratch that.  When is it ever a convenient time for your brain to unload out-of-context horror?

My soul is tired.  My body is exhausted.  My mind is weary.

Yesterday, I threw an adventure/pirate party for my 7-year-old daughter.  Including my 3 oldest, there were 14 kids here.  I think. Lucky for me, my 2-year-old was napping.  A few parents stayed.  A friend and her husband came to help.  My husband’s participation was on fleek.  My house was full.

I love my children fiercely.  So I asked my anxiety to hold it together while I facilitated the fun.

But I am tired.

I’m getting better at knowing when I’m going to need to recharge.  I’m more mindful of how decimated an interaction is going to leave me.  I’m learning to plan self-care into my life.

A few years ago I read The Shack.  My heart wept with recognition.  When the movie was announced, my heart exploded with anticipation.  As soon as I was able, I purchased a ticket to see it.  For a showing immediately following church.  The day after my daughter’s birthday party.

I need to tell you about church and me.  A majority of the abuse I endured as a child was religious in nature.  Clarification: it wore a Jesus hat.  “Christianity” was the tool that 2 broken and hurting people used on their offspring to make themselves feel less out of control.  They discharged their anguish onto their children in the name of God.

I struggle with church.  I struggle with the Bible.  Hear me out before you burn me at the stake.  The words, the phrases, the settings… Triggers.  A lot of the concepts, though far removed from how I grew up knowing them, look very similar outwardly to their rightful essence.  This is the danger.  While I am rewriting the real version in my heart and mind, there is an incredible amount of scar tissue there.  My mind is rejecting the transplant as it looks eerily familiar.  I’m constantly looking for new versions of the Bible.  Versions that I can read and hear God’s healing love pour over my soul like a soothing balm.  As of now, my all time favorite is The Jesus Storybook Bible.  I am not embarrassed to say that I own it in hardcover and audio forms.  And that when the crazy gets heavy, I hide in my minivan and listen.

So I stayed home by myself this morning.  While the rest of my heart drove away in my van.  They went to church without me because my soul needs some rest.  Church is hard for me.  Church is work.  I pray it is not always this way.  I hope some day to be edified without the complication of very conscious mindfulness exercises throughout the duration.   I long for the day when I can join in with the worship and the teaching without fighting a panic attack.  Someday maybe I will be able to hang after church to fellowship without being acutely aware of the crowd and scanning for exits.

Today is not that day.  Today I am where I am.  Jesus loves this me.  Jesus is fully invested in this me.

So I am going on a date with Jesus to see a movie.  That is my church today.  I am so looking forward to it.

But first I have to find a box of tissues.

Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, Insane in the Brain, Living Water, mental-health, Thanks for the memories, The Future

Ashes, ashes. We all fall down.


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Photo credit: me…

I am a phoenix.

I regularly burst into flame.  And am reborn.

Hurts like hell to burn but I come back fiercer, stronger, more loving every time.  I will burn this mother down as many times as it takes to come out the person that I am, under all of the shit that obscures the beauty of who I was meant to be.

I will burn.  With the fierce passion of knowing that I was made for Love.  I will die a little every time that I may come forth in new and new and new life.  And all of the me that isn’t truly me will burn up little by little as I become.

It is terrifying to stand on a new truth, or a more refined truth.  What if I am wrong?  Well, chances are I am and will be wrong many times and many ways yet to come.  Hence the burning down.  And rising forth.  A baptism of fire.  A rebirth of anguish and glory.

I will burn this mother down.  I will burn this sister down.  This friend.  This wife.  This citizen.  I will be wrong.  And I will be new.

I said yes to life and health and all of the magic and pain that will bring me alive.  I will face the difficult.  I will trod forward in weariness.  I will triumph over the victories and so often weep for the failures.  Because all these things ignite me.  They consume the false and reveal the authentic.  The genuine.  The truly precious.  My soul.

I will burn this mother down.

I am a phoenix.

I feel the fire coming on.