I want to dance again.  I want to live.

To really live, I mean, not just survive.  I don’t want to just be or look successful, or smart, or rich, or wise.  I don’t want to only be secure in things like finances and a house and a job.  I want those things, yes.  I need those things, to a degree.  But I don’t want that to be all there is.  Because if that is all there is… there is nothing.

I was thinking about that chapter in the Bible about love today.  It lists all these great accomplishments, and then says that without love, they are all nothing.  And then it goes on to describe love.

I want a life with love.

Love is a risk.  So much of a risk.  To love is to risk rejection, betrayal, and indifference.  To accept love from another is to risk deceit,  abandonment, and abuse.  Both are excruciatingly vulnerable and terrifying.  Part of me would rather just keep things as they were before, before I started challenging myself and my beliefs… before I began my journey in LIFE.  I could survive… for a while.  Then eventually… I’d kill myself.

As much as I sometimes want to believe I can go back, I can’t.  I’m alive.  I can’t undo what I have lived, what I have experienced.  I KNOW there is more than just the boring life of performance, dragging along doing what you have to so you can make it through another day.  I hate that life.  And the thing is, I have tasted love.  I have known unconditional acceptance from dear friends.  I know what it is to laugh through pain.  I know what joy the little things in life can bring… the things that cost so little in money.

Dancing, skipping, puddle jumping, snowball fights and snowman building.  Deep conversations that breathe life into relationships, life and depth and trust.  Drawing and making messes.  Doing the things that you get excited about.  Dressing up.  Dressing down.  Climbing trees.  Reading books.  Watching movies.  Crying, hugs, dead serious challenges or all out silliness.

I know what life is.  And now I can’t live without it.  I have to be truly living, loving, or I don’t want to live at all.  And that’s where the suicidal thoughts come in.  But I can’t do that anymore, either.  I know what this life can hold for me, for everyone, and I don’t want to miss out on it.  And I really don’t want anyone else to miss out on it either.  I want to help, if I can.

I am on a journey toward life, through life.  A journey to love others, myself, and God.  I know I can love others… but it’s hard.  Oftentimes, I want to stop and give up on everyone.  It feels safer that way.  But I can’t… not if I want to really live.  I have to keep trying.  Loving myself is even harder, because that involves believing I’m actually worthy of it, that I’m actually able to be loved.  So much of the time, I can’t do that.  It also means I have to accept love.  Sometimes it’s too scary, even coming from myself.  Loving God… that might be hardest of all.  I still need to learn how to let it be okay in my mind to love someone I’m also angry at, or who I’m trying to avoid.  And I need to accept his love, too.

I know that love is.  It exists.  Life exists.  I want to dance again, to feel alive again.

I am on a journey toward it, through it.  Here’s to living.

1 Corinthians 13

Let the wind pass.

Let it pass in all its fury,

Let it pass in all its fear.

I’ve been held in its embrace for so long,

So long in the hold of fury and fear…

Let it go

And let it pass.

I want to dance in the gentle breeze again, to taste the wild scent of life.

Let go the bitterness, let go the hate…

Ride a new breath this day.

There is life to be lived,

Without the heavy weights I cling to.

Let them go.  Let it pass.

Hold to a new breath now,

One of strength, yes,

But not of fury.

Not fury at myself and what I have done and failed to do,

Not fury at those who have hurt me.

Let it pass,

Let this wind pass.

Hold to a new breath,

One of gentle forgiveness and fierce love.

Forgiveness and love for others…

And also, even,

For myself.

Let the old wind pass.

Stop riding in its addicting folds.

Feel a new wind rise behind

And take the leap to ride it.

I’m realizing lately that I just don’t believe the same things I used to.  So much has changed… when I step back and look at things through big-picture lenses, I truly think I’m rising out of darkness.  There are dark nights still, dark nights and days and weeks… but it’s not as deep.  It’s like at dawn, when the world is just starting to turn gray, but it’s so faint and slow, it’s hard to tell if it’s really happening.  But then I look out and realize I can see the outline of a tree that was hidden in the folds of darkness an hour ago.  And then I know… maybe… maybe dawn is coming.  Maybe the sun is really going to rise.

Looking back, I’m starting to see the outlines, the hints of gray.

I don’t believe that nobody loves me.  So many, OH so many do!

I don’t believe that nobody sees me… I don’t believe I am invisible.  People see me and take interest in me and notice my little oddities… and they even notice when I’m struggling.  I am seen.  I am solid.  I am real.

I don’t believe that nobody really knows me.  People do know me… my quirky humor, my childlike-ness, my darkness, and my dreams.

I don’t believe that I am alone.  I’m not.

I don’t believe there’s no hope for me.  I’m beginning to see that there is, for me… even for me.

I don’t believe I’m too far gone to recover.  I can see my own progress, and I know that I can make it through this.

I don’t believe that everyone will hate me once they know my secrets.  There are a whole lot of people who have proved me wrong on that one.

I don’t believe I am unworthy of love.  As a human being created in the image of God, I am worthy of just as much love as everyone else.

I don’t believe I am unlovable.  Again, so many people have proved me wrong on that.  Especially kids.  They show love without abandon.

I don’t believe I am always a burden.  People really do actually enjoy my company sometimes.

I don’t believe it’s wrong to love myself.  I can’t say I actually do love myself, but I don’t believe it’s wrong anymore.

I don’t believe it’s selfish to rest.  It’s actually good… and not just physical rest, either.

I don’t believe I have to repay Christ’s gift of love and life to me, no more than I would have to earn it in the first place.

So many things.  So much more light.  So much more freedom.  Still so far to go… but that’s okay.  I’ll take it one step at a time.  One day at a time.  One moment at a time.

Recovery takes time.  Healing takes time.  Sometimes I can’t see the point in trying.  But it’s worth it.  It.  Is.  Worth it.

Someday I will be there.  Someday I will look back and realize I love and respect myself.  Someday I will realize I don’t believe I’m a monster, ugly, disturbing, and disgusting anymore.  Someday I will see myself as beautiful.  Someday I won’t be working so hard to keep everyone else happy… someday I’ll learn the balance between caring for myself and caring for others.  Someday, I will realize I don’t depend on other people  for my health and happiness anymore.  Someday, I will realize I don’t dread waking up to another day.

Someday… the sun itself will rise.

It hurts.  I don’t know why it hurts.  I can’t explain where it hurts.  But it hurts.

I had another bad dream, and this one left me shaking and not daring to let myself fall asleep again.  Breathing comes quick… at least I can still get oxygen in.

Okay.  I’m okay.  I’m okay.  I’m okay.

It was only a dream.  It didn’t happen, and it’s not going to happen.  Just a dream.

Breathe.  Breathe.  I’m okay.

Why does this have to happen so often?  In my dreams, my fears turn into huge, dark, all-encompassing monsters.  They paralyze me… they are so powerful.

Favorite stories, twisted around.  The hero dies, his friends abandon him.  All that is good turns bad… all that is bad rules after all.  There is no escape.  Join… or be flung into absolute loneliness and contempt and misery.

Places I’m supposed to be safe… church, my church, the church I grew up in.  Big shows, lots of people, I am invisible.  Nobody sees me, nobody notices I’m struggling.  My siblings, they are a part of it all.  They belong.  This all is theirs.  There comes the part that I love, the part that I like.  But I have to leave, I have to go to the bathroom… I’ll miss it all.  Or maybe I just can’t stand it anymore?  Too much anxiety, too much shaking… I can’t do this.  I have to leave.  I have to escape.

Bathroom.  Someone is there, a dear friend, a safe place.  Arms around me, cheerful words, happy to see me.  I smile, I relax a little.  But then she’s gone, and I’m left with strangers.  Boys come in, tall, laughing boys, and nobody stops them.  Trying to get at me, trying to touch me, trying to take pictures, laughing at my distress.  My family’s there… but they don’t see a problem with any of it.  There’s no escape… it’s too late… my virginity is gone.

Out again, with everyone else, shaking, shaking, nobody notices.  I am invisible.  Crying inside, but stone cold outside.  Not saying anything, not listening.  Church is over, they want to play games, they don’t understand why I’m not responding.  They don’t like it.  I’m somewhere, like a bathroom again… all the crowds are there, friends of my family’s, jeering, teasing, tricking me, laughing at my pain.

Hiding, curled up, not responding to anyone.  AFH there, visiting my church… my friend is there again, the familiar face, the safe place.  I only want her to hold me again, to help me, to comfort me.  I’m shaking violently, jerking around, convulsing, crying, but without tears.  Nobody knows what to do.  I shouldn’t be acting like this.  I’m in trouble.  I’m not letting them in.  I’m in trouble.  I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.  Talking above me, talking about me, I haven’t been talking, haven’t been trusting, I’m in trouble.  My friend can’t help me, she’s not allowed…

Favorite stories, twisted around.  The hero dies, his friends abandon him.  All that is good turns bad… all that is bad rules after all.  There is no escape.  Join… or be flung into absolute loneliness and contempt and misery.  It’s too late.

But it’s just a dream.  Just a dream.

I’m okay.  Breathe.

It’s only just a dream.

But it hurts.m.

Last night was dark, very dark.  Hope failed, and I fell.  I have not felt loneliness to that depth in a long time.  Oh, it had been building.  Apparently I am again taking on the ability to shut my feelings down, to bury them until I cannot hold them in anymore.  But then… it hurts so much more when they all come pouring out, and I have to feel them all in their intensity all at once.  I cried for hours.  I felt so alone.

I am not alone.  I know that.  But the feeling of loneliness is one so powerful, and I have not yet learned the skill of taming and rationalizing it.  And after all, loneliness is very different from simply being alone.

As dark as last night was, I lived through it.  As close as I came to the edge, I did not jump.  As totally and completely hopeless as I was, I opened my eyes today and realized I had not lost the ability to find hope reborn.

This is not the end.  Hope lives.

But dancing on the edge of a cliff is not wise, not matter how many times I survive stumbling.  Yes, it’s beautiful.  Yes, I wish I could learn to stand there while safe and secure.  I wish I could have a fence.  I wish I could keep my balance in the wind.  There’s so much there to love and enjoy and learn from… but I’m not there yet.  I’m not well.  And so… it is not safe for me here.  Hope lives… but wisdom lives too.

I think I need to leave home.

I wish it could work here.  I wish could learn to stand safe and secure here.  I wish I could keep my balance, and not falter and stumble so much.  But there is no fence here… not the kind of support I need.  There’s nothing to catch me or stop me if I fall.  It’s wonderful to be at home with my family.  I love them so much.  There’s so much here to love and enjoy and learn from… but I’m not there yet.  I’m too unsteady, too unstable, and the chance of me slipping off the edge is just too high.

Last night was dark.  I came closer to killing myself than I have come in months.  I’ve been getting worse, developing all the same old unhealthy habits that I’m trying to recover from.  It only comes out  sometimes, but those times are bad.  I can’t afford to have them get any worse without help.

Today I open my eyes and find that I can still hope.  I am choosing to take care of myself.  But oh, this will be so incredibly hard.

"Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it."  - Albus Dumbledore

My stomach is full.  Too full.  I ate too much.  It weighs too much.

I can feel it all over my body, growing, swelling, spreading.  Too much, too much!

Calmly sitting in my room, calmly typing, calmly resting.

But inside I’m raging.

Inside, I’m screaming, tearing at my flesh, trying to get it off, get it out.  How could I have done this?  How could I have piled more layers onto the walls of my cage?

I’m lost, lost to me, lost to the world.  I can’t get past this.  It’s too big.

I have to get out.  I have to get out of this wretched body.  I hate it.  I want to die.  I want to be free.

I’ve been trying… but this feels like too much.  It’s too much!  Let me out!  I can’t do this.  Let me go.  Let me go.  I feel sick.  I feel like I’m going to puke.  I WANT to puke.  I want to get this mess out of me.  But it’s too late, too late.  I can’t get away.  I can’t give it up.  It was too much, too much.  I’ll never reach my goal.  I’ll never be free.  I want to be small again.  I feel like I’m swelling and bubbling… I wish I was little again.  I want to be bones.  Bones are safe.  Bones don’t torture me.  Bones have gaps between them… bones are bars that I can see out of.  Bones are bars that I can live through.  I can accept staying inside them, because I know they’ll keep me safe without isolating me behind miles of insulation.

I don’t know what’s going on.  People say it gets worse before it gets better.  But how can it ever be better?  I am damaged goods.  I have run myself into the ground so much, I cannot run anymore.  I can’t be anything anymore.  I can’t do this.  It’s too much, too much.

I hate myself.  I am disgusting.  People say I’m pretty… they are blind.

I was named for a woman in the Bible who was known for her outward beauty.  But her heart was horrible.  She lied to and cheated those she should have loved.  She helped one son betray his way to the top, while robbing another son of what little gain he was afforded.  Think of the pain she caused!  Think of the loneliness and misery and despair her actions caused.  Her life and death only brought pain.

Those who loved her were blind to who and what she really was.  She was a manipulating abuser of relationships and dear family members.

I feel like I’m that awful.  Whatever beauty people see in me is only a veil over the utter ugliness.

I am too selfish, too weak, too cowardly, to lazy.  I can’t live the life I’m supposed to live; I can’t be the one I’m supposed to be.  It’s too much, too much.

I am too much for you.  I am too screwed up.  I am too deeply engrained in my habits to ever get better.  It’s too much.

It’s too much.

The trees are bare and frozen.  They creak in the wind, bow under loads of ice and snow, and shiver violently in the cold.  It seems like relief will never come.  With each warm day comes ten more bitingly cold ones.  Hope rises, only to be dashed again in another load of freezing slush.  The days are dull, and the nights are dark.  Stars shine bleakly, but no one ventures out to the cold to see them.  It seems they shine in vain.  For what is it to shine with no one to shed your light on, no one to guide home, no one to cheer in the darkness?

Winter is cruel.

As much as people sing and cheer and laugh about the snow and the beauty and the fun, the cruel darkness still remains.

Yes… there is beauty.  But… sometimes we cannot see it.  We’re so overcome by the wind and the darkness and the heavy cold that weighs us down and begs us to stop and rest, to sleep forever away in the snow.  Sometimes our eyes are blinded to all good, and all we see is cruelty.

This is depression.  This is what it is like.  The light exists, but we don’t see it.

But someday… spring will come.

Someday the flowers will be so bright we can’t help but notice them.  Someday the ice will turn to cool squishy mud.  Someday…

Someday our hearts will want to live again.

I pray for that life to overflow in me again.

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