until i turned 30 i never hated a day of the year.
no dates were avoided, overlooked or dismissed. i enjoyed them all. in addition, my empathy was on permanent hiatus. i lived in a perfect little bubble that allowed everyone, including myself to believe that my life was ideal. a healthy marriage of more than 10 years. heightened levels of self confidence & independence. powerful goals and expectations. happy, happy, happy.
i masked my troubled life to you and to myself by dumping my energy & emotion into other things…
my children. they are truly amazing, well-behaved, intelligent gifts of joy. my small little design shop did grow into a successful business. the friendships that sought me and knew me when i could barely recognize myself… & they continue to reach in deep to pull me out of the darkness.
i still cannot fully explain how it felt when i ran into the brick wall that one night last winter. the reverberations unraveled me. that for my entire life i had stood up for, fought for, packed up and moved for, given up my identity for, reduced my desires to non-existence for, accepted mediocre for… was for nothing. pointless. absurd. my life was a big failure.
that was a hard day.
it took months & months & months, but……. it was a good day. it meant that i could be free. it meant that i too was broken. i could understand & give empathy. it meant that my path was changing and i would be at the mercy of God’s control; since i had lost all control. it meant that i would be free of being used for someone’s gain. it meant that i could learn how to live away from co-dependency.
i stayed quiet. i smiled through it. i could not accept the failures, flaws, the explanation, the story that truly is behind the story.
i pretended to be strong while my insides turned black and sticky with tar. my heart sunk. i blamed myself. i hated God. i yelled & cried & demanded an answer. why me, God? did i deserve this? did my children deserve this? what did i do wrong?
i continued to smile.
then someone spoke. an unthoughtful, mouth-gaping, full-of-shock comment that spun me inside out and upside down. it was the very realness that literally snapped me out of the world i was in and launched me gasping for air into my true reality.
Do you think you are as perfect as your parents taught you to act?
with stunned silence, i felt the large gulp forming in my throat preventing me from speaking or breathing or responding. i wasn’t sure if i should defend myself & my childhood with vengeance or cry and fall to my knees admitting my defeat.
my parents taught me to be strong. to succeed at whatever my heart desired. to be honest & just & loyal & loving & caring. to represent our family name with pride & dignity. they encouraged me to look ahead and learn from my past. they encouraged me to seek the rock solid Christian faith that i had developed over the years; my walk with Jesus and the testimony that was forming amidst the battle.
i dug in. i dug in deep.
a paradigm shift began in my heavy and hurting life… and i slowly crawled out.
i am strong. i am courageous. i can & i will.
some days are harsh. they are reminders of days past that strike a chord. they are dark, deep pits of unfriendly brokenness. difficult, choking reminders of decisions, actions, abusive words and changes that altered the life course.
my head pounds, my belly seeks no sustenance, my mind closes in on the date and i overlook the moment.
these days are fleeting. being replaced by joy, wholeness, contentment, miracles, stories of truth & memories that smile.
i look ahead.
i am better right where i am than i was 1 year ago. far better than where i was 2 years ago. i see progress, hope, potential. i feel happiness & joy.
choosing to appreciate the small things. choosing to uncover the darkness to let in the light. choosing to remove the toxic to make room for the healthy.