This Weary Tattooed Body.

I wanted to write something this last week, but I found myself drawing for the first time in over two years, and it felt so good that I just couldn’t take a break to post a new blog. My hands were moving freely, unlike the stiffness I had become so used too. And for four days, I did hardly anything, but play around with my pencils, getting my hands dirty, pushing graphite over stark white paper and spilling my imagination across the torn out page of my sketchbook.

If you draw, paint, or create anything with your hands really, you know what I mean when I say, I had gotten used to stiffness. Where movements that once felt natural, have now become tense and strained. The fingers and wrist are rigid, pushing back against you and leaving little room to create the thing you have swirling around in your mind. It’s frustrating as hell. But, this time, it wasn’t like that, and it felt amazing.  It felt amazing because, in all honesty, my body, mind and heart haven’t allowed for that kind of thing lately. Life’s been harsh and sharp, and some of the most authentic parts of myself had fallen asleep. Laying dormant beneath the ash and rubble of a life once lived, and now only endured.

So when the pencil hit the paper, and things were happening the way I wanted them too, I couldn’t put it down. For the first time, in over two years, I felt a part of myself alive and breathing again. Rubbing my fingers into the grey powder, the metallic smell lingering. Pencil shavings filling my ashtray, smudging line after line, until the shapes began to come to life, impelling the weight to lift from my shoulders, and wander away to the place it belongs. In God’s hands.

It gave me hope. And it validated, that I was still here. That I was alive, and somewhere in this weary tattooed body, I was in there.

So, day after day, in my joggers and baggy t-shirts, one cup of coffee after another, cigarette after cigarette, I created a piece of art that I am proud of. Too some, it may not seem like that big a deal, but to me, it’s everything right now. It’s a piece of tangible evidence that I am not dead. That I’m still rooted in my body and that I can still create something beautiful. That I can DO SOMETHING. That, I still have a loud and passionate soul, willing to expose itself, vulnerable or not, to my fellow-man. To my creator and Father, who shaped these gifts within me.

At the end of the day, it had made it known, that it wasn’t too late for me. As depressing at that sounds, I was tip toeing on that ledge of deep despair, and now I had some hope back in my life. And I think that’s the beauty of creating something, it confirms our authenticity, mirroring our own mystery and showing us a piece of ourselves we may have lost or simply forgotten was there. It is a form of expression that can untangle our own inner web of chaos, simply because of the release that can happen there. Taking down the guard, to liberating something beautiful and unique from within, in turn, maybe even smoothing over those jagged parts that have become so raw. It gives the creator a chance to look at oneself, and perhaps decide, that they still have something to offer, even under the suffocating soot and residue of things past by. Things past by, but at times, and often for myself, relived everyday.

At the end of this post, are a few shots of the piece I was working on all week, if you wanna check it out.

As I said earlier, I needed a break from telling my story. The beginning of the week was rough, and after a few sleepless nights, waking up in tears, I decided I needed help. So, on Tuesday, I found myself sitting in the doctor’s office, mid panic attack, covered in tears, emotional and weak as hell. It took a lot of courage on my part, to expose and vulnerabilize myself to a man I had never met. I’ve never been one to trust doctors, and asking him for anxiety medication was hard. I was embarrassed it had gotten this bad, and I was really nervous about the whole thing. Talking about cancer screening was even worse, and it left a kind of pit in the bottom of my stomach. I’m not looking forward to those appointments, at all. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my Moms death, that she was a young 48 years old, and I’ve unknowingly taken on a deep fear, that the same thing will happen will to me. I’ve even caught myself counting how many years I’d have left with my son, if I died at the same age. Just like my Mother, and her sister, who also died of cancer before the age of 50. I have to stop myself when my mind goes there, sometimes violently, because in all honesty, I’m terrified. And so, these are the thoughts that wake me in the night, my pillow case drenched in tears. Amongst other terrors from within. The old fears, and the new, swirling around my subconscious, creating a circus act of horror I’d do anything to escape. And so, the doctor’s office and the newness that came with it.

I promised I was going to walk you through each and every detail, the details of a fight to save my own life.

To rise to the place I belong.

The fight to tell the truth about what happened to me.

The reality, that on all scientific counts, I should die of cancer within 20 years, and the way that I have chosen to deal with that.

To not only heal, but to overcome in a way, that the story of my life represents a truth I would die for. The truth that, not only can each of us survive absolutely anything, but that God can take the cruelty and suffering each of us has endured, conquer it in all His strength, and wrap them up into stepping stones towards a life that would baffle the enemy. Stealing away his efforts to destroy us, and instead, building a house of truth over his lies. A house, a life, that represents what trust in God looks like. Free, and beautiful, and overflowing with gardens of abundance. Loved.

I believe God can do that in my life and I believe He already has. Even in the tears, through the panic attacks and the sleepless nights. Through the death, and in the worry. The dark, and back to the light, through prayer, where I always reunite with my authentic self. Because that’s where Jesus is.

And so, tomorrow, I’ll go back to the place I was before, and continue telling my story. Until then, I thank you for being my friend and for reading.

“Although the world is full of suffering, it also full of the overcoming of it.” Helen Keller 

 

 

Getting used to my pencils again.

Getting used to my pencils again.

Coming together.

Coming together.

Hit it with some graphic overlay and editing, and voila!

Hit it with some graphic overlay and editing, and voila!

 

What Granny Said.

“You be a good girl Angie,” her eyes fixed on mine. “You be a good girl for Granny or else Granny won’t let you see Mommy ever again. And you know Granny can do that don’t you?”

I am five years old. She is sitting on the edge of my bed, it’s nighttime and I’m in trouble again. I did everything she asked me too. I put my pajamas on like a good girl and brushed my teeth when she asked. I crawled into bed without a fuss, and did my best to finish all the food on my plate at dinner time. But, she’ s angry with me, like she is most of the time.

She grabs my jaw roughly, it’s invasive and controlling, my little heart beating so fast. She’s digging her fingers into the sides of my cheeks and it hurts. I want to move under the weight of her grip, to pull on her forearms, and twist out from under, but I know better. Yanking on my chin, she pulls her face up close to mine. I am frozen. Her eyes locked onto my eyes, the sharp sting of her nails pressing down on the soft skin.

“You remember what Granny said.” The heat of her breath, mixed with cigarettes and coffee and she just lingers there for moment, her gaze tearing into me, before she whips her hand away in disgust. It is harsh and unrelenting. And with that, the room goes dark and I am left to stare at the crack of light beaming in through the hallway. I had forgotten to breathe and my exhale is shaky and strained. I’m terrified to make a sound, pushing my face into the cotton pillow, the warmth rushing to my cheeks with the release and I can hear my Mom downstairs. I want to tell her what happened, but I’m scared. The fear ran through my body like a current and I wouldn’t, couldn’t move.

I had to stop,  and reach out to my God, two paragraph’s into writing this post.

Jesus, give me the strength I need to see myself through this evil maze of sickness. This torment, Lord.” Repeating verses from the bible, that have held me up during my most fearful of days, through the deepest of shameful nights, those powerful words striking through the fear and lifting me with His golden staph. I am so grateful God is real, and alive and with me. The residue, of these moments in my life, can be crippling. I often find myself, staring off into the ground, my thoughts overlapping each other in a frenzy of anxious shock, and I can’t find my way out. I get lost in this unbelievable reality of my past, and when the child inside me can’t make sense of it anymore, and my adult self is raging with a hate that frightens me, all I have left is God. 

I have a husband, and a son, who think the world of me and this isn’t lost to me most days. I bask in that light with them, and pour as much love into them as I possibly can. But every survivor knows, each in their own way, the loneliness that comes with the mark of abuse. It’s a solitary experience. One that traps you within the confines of your own painful existence, tearing you away from being able to share it with anyone, a place set aside just for you and no amount of explaining or clawing away will ignite an understanding between you and the world. Because the thing is just too evil, and you know that if you were to really expose the truth of it, your comrades would turn away in disgust, tummy’s churning and your tears would turn to dust with the reaction, the regret pushing around in your gut, and so many of us stay silent. As I have for the last two years. Until I chose not too anymore. I believe, that by staying silent, I am allowing her to still have that hold on me. That I am welcoming the harsh grasp of her hand. Letting the fingers dig into my cheeks, her nails gripping my face and falling weak under her weight. 

I can’t let her do this to me anymore. I refuse to lay in that bed any longer, the fear running through me like a current. I think of my five-year old son, the pureness of his heart, the innocence of his soul and I have to stand up for that little girl. 

Right? 

“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr. 

She Was In There.

I cried all night, the day I published my last post.

It was September first, and one year prior, to that very day, was the day I lost my Mom to cancer. It happened at Elizabeth Bruyere, the palliative care building located in a beautiful area of downtown and  my husband, myself and my son, were the only family left to visit that day.

Somewhere, deep inside my gut, I knew she was going to die that day. I knew, in the same way, I knew it would rain. How you taste that cool breeze in the air, and even though the sky is bright blue and the sun is beaming down on the flesh of your shoulder, that coolness running over your bare skin, tells you the truth. I knew it in the same way as this, and I tried to put it away, but could not. And when my Grandpa left  that afternoon, shuffling away, with those sad, heavy shoulders of his, I knew I would be the one to call later, and have to tell them him truth. That she had died.  And I was right.

She had been in a morphine sleep haze for two days now. The little machine laying at her side, the tubes pumping a never-ending supply into her veins. The tumors in her cervix had grown so large, that she was now unable to relieve herself, and go to the washroom.  They had spent hours trying to insert a catheter two days before, but the tumor was just to big. There was nothing more they could do, and we had nothing to offer her, but the small comfort of our presence.

The doctor informed us that because they could not successfully help her relieve herself, that this would cause the urine to back up into her kidneys, and that she would eventually pass of kidney failure.  It was a peaceful way to die, they said.

“We recommend you say your goodbye’s and do your best to make your peace with this.” The nurses were kind and understanding.

There was so much to say, I didn’t have the words. I still had so many questions, so much anger within. And the contrast between my love for her, and my hate, was almost too much to bear. You see, during the Spring that had just passed, I had come to learn a dark truth. One that, stole away all the seeming  innocence of our relationship and the morsels of trust that had been left. Not that there were many.

She had known what they had done to me, the abuse I suffered. And she had not only turned her back, no, she had not only turned her face away. She had once..

It’s been almost an hour since I typed those last three words. Every time, I  begin to finish that sentence my mind goes blank and I find myself staring at the screen. Repeating it over and over again in my head. She had once….participated. She had once….participated. She had once…participated. I’m stuck here, and it hurts. A lot. I can hardly remember what I began this post with, because just having this thought run through me, is enough to bring me to my knees in tears. I love my mother. And, I hate my mother. It has made my grieving process a terrible and confusing thing, and every single day, my heart wails in pain at how much I wish things could be different. That I could say goodbye to my mom in peace, without the constant tug of war between these two opposing feelings. How my heart contradicts itself equally on both sides, is disconcerting, even though I understand it. 

Moving on. 

She had not only turned her face away, she had once…participated. That memory resurfacing itself just four months before I got the phone call. And so as I sat there at her bedside, with the sound of the beeping machine, of it pushing the drug into her veins, I knew this. The crayons in my son’s hand dragging over the white paper on his lap and the soft weight of my husbands strong hand tracing the lines of my back, I knew.  The smell of food wafting through the halls, the elevator opening and closing again. And as I listened to the sound of my mothers breath, so strained and forceful, I knew what she had done. Cringing internally at the phlegm rising up and down her throat from all those years of smoking and rattling within. That terrible sound. My internal chaos and pain, for the now, and the then, mixed with the soundtrack of this all too painful reality, that my mother was dying.

When my Grandmother was in her final days, the nurses had taught us how to remove the extra phlegm that had spilled into her mouth,

(gross, I know, but I wouldn’t tell you unless I had too)  

…with large kind of que-tips, teaching us to remove the stuff not only because it was needed, but because a person could choke this way.  The thought of my grandmother choking to death scared the shit out of me, but they reassured me how normal this was, and that it happened to almost everyone in those final days. Normal or not, it still scared the shit out of me.

So when my mom began to choke, I knew this was why. It was such a terrible sound. My heart falling to the pit of my stomach, and I ran out into the hallway for a nurse. The attending nurse grabbed this kind of large glass jug, with measuring cup units in red print up along the side of it and followed me into the room. She began to lift my mother’s head in her hands, at the same time asking me,

“Do you want to stay for this?” Breaking me out of my own haze of disbelief and plugging me back into life. I look down at my son, only five years old.

“No, no I won’t stay.” And she gets to work as the three of us head towards the hallway, and into the elevator. It felt like I smoked an entire pack of cigarettes in those fifteen minutes. My hands shaking, my heart screaming, the sound of my mother choking like that. The walk back to the elevator was entirely surreal, the bell ringing as the doors opened on my mother’s floor. The slow walk down the hallway, turning the corner with the thudding of my own heart, and Landon’s little five-year old hand in mine. My husbands strong, warm hand in my other, and I see her. I see the nurse standing in the hallway, and she’s crying. She’s shaking, and she’s crying and she looks up to see me there.

“It was horrible,” she wails, “It was so horrible.”

And all I can do is look at her, because I don’t know what she’s saying to me. And she’s still crying, as she lifts her hand to her mouth, and this look of shock comes over her face. And she says to me,

“Oh my goodness, you’re her daughter! I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry. Your mother has just passed away, I couldn’t clear her airway, and she asphyxiated. She could not breathe. I’m so sorry.” And that was it. As I turned my head towards her room, the tears rimming my eyes with heat, she was in there. Still and lifeless, and gone.  I held her hand and played with her hair until her skin started to get cold, and with that, I kissed her forehead and said my last goodbye.

I love you Mom.

“Someday, you’re going to look back on this moment of your life, as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing…” ~Elizabeth Gilbert

The Phone Call

Don’t do this Ang. It’s stupid. No one’s going to believe you anyways. Satanic ritual abuse? are you fucking kidding me?! That kind of shit doesn’t happen in real life. 

My hands are shaking, so I grab my pack of cigarettes, and pull one out. Filter to lip and drag my thumb across the metal ridge of my black lighter. The flame sparks and I inhale deeply, close my eyes, and turn my face away from the glare radiating from my lap top.

I’ve been jumping back and forth between doubt, and confidence.

Between fear, and courage.

Most importantly, in my opinion, between the chains of shame, and freedom.

It’s tiresome, but I knew something like this would happen.

 You’re making a fool of yourself.  People are talking about you behind your back you know, and they’re saying…you’re just doing this for attention. 

I take a deep breath, and try to be still. Try to be still underneath the weight. Be still as the unease crawls up my throat, and the flutters in my stomach, turn to waves of folding queasiness.

God is on my side. God is on my side. Deep breath.

Fingers to keys.

 

My entire world changed the day the memories surfaced.

I went from being very confused about my emotions,  pain, depression, and life experience to feeling, for the very first time, understood.

For the first time, in my entire existence, I made sense. At least to myself.

And as sickening and terrifying as it was, I was grateful to finally have an answer, to the question that had haunted me for so long.

What is wrong with me?

For the first time, I was able to put a name to face of evil in my life, and for a little while, along with the rage, tears, disgust and hatred, I felt empowered.

But that didn’t last. It washed away piece by piece,  as everything began to sink in and make a home for itself inside me. Tucking itself away in the bleeding parts of my heart. In the saddest places of my soul and I began to slowly shut down.

In the beginning, I was relieved. Relieved to have found the truth, and have the opportunity to expose what had been done to me. But in time, like I said earlier, as it made a home within, I began to panic. Because the reality was, I had no where to put it. I had no idea what to do with these horrifying memories, it was like something out of some sick horror movie and I felt like I was going completely insane. It was very hard for my mind to wrap itself around such evil, let alone, the truth that this evil had touched me in ways that could destroy a person, and I wondered how I had made this long. I wanted to scream it out in the street, smash and break everything in my grasp, and on the same hand, the shame was suffocating me, forcing me down to a tight lipped mannequin version of myself who wouldn’t, couldn’t, speak a word.

I lived like that for a long time, trying to face it alone, and then falling into a bottle of vodka. A two liter of wine. A 12 pack of beer. Sobering up and trying again, only to fall into a pool of booze again. Eight or nine months of this messy fight, and then I got a phone call.

” Angie, I have something to tell you. Are you sitting down?” I’m sober today, and sitting on my back patio. It’s one year ago, and it’s summer time. June.

My heart falls into my stomach, that all too familiar feeling, and my eyes are already filling up with tears.

I’m so fucking tired, I can’t handle anymore. Please. Please God. 

” Angie, I’m so sorry to tell you this but, you’re mom has been diagnosed with cancer. It’s spreading rapidly, and they don’t think she’ll make it through this.”

There’s a pause, I don’t know how long, but I don’t make a sound. My mind is spinning, and at the same time, everything feels so slow, so surreal.

Cancer. You mother fucker. You can’t take my mom. YOU CAN’T TAKE MY MOM. 

But, it did. It did take my mom.

And the one person who could validate my memories more than any other.

 

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord”. ~ Romans 12:19

 

 

The Monster

I could feel it in my sleep.

The pounding heart in my chest.

The tightening of it in my throat.

Gasping for air.  

Breathe Ang, breathe. You gotta wake up. 

I try to yell out His name, but my voice wont make a sound.

Jesus. Jesus, I can’t breathe. 

I’m used to this, it happens all the time. 

I’m asleep, but I’m not. 

My body won’t move, but my mind is totally aware of itself. So much so, that I can talk myself awake, but asleep enough, that I’m still dreaming in this state. 

Ang, wake up. WAKE UP! 

I don’t want it to happen again. I’m terrified. 

I don’t want the monster to come. 

Please God. Please.

Jesus, JESUS! JESUS!!! 

And finally, my eyes start to open, and the thudding of my heart fills my ears. 

I’m dizzy, everything is spinning, and my eyes fill with hot tears.

The room is dark, and my breathe is so fast and so forced, I feel I might just fall over and pass out.

It’s happened before.

But, I’m grateful. Because I got out, before the worst of it came. 

I got out before the darkness enveloped me. 

Before the hands reached under the covers.

Before, they wrapped around my throat.

Before it was too late. 

I turn and grab my phone….3.a.m on the dot.

It’s always the same time. 

Every time. 

“Baby….baby!” My voice is frail and frightened. 

I can hear my husband coming. 

It’s been a long time since we slept in the same bed, and I hate it. 

It would be so much easier, if he was here. But he can’t be, because he has sleep apnea. 

“My love, oh my love…” and he rushes to me, wrapping his arms around my shaking body. 

Sometimes, I can feel his tears on my shoulder, and I hate that I am this way. 

I hate what they have done to me. 

A lot of the time, I hate myself.

If only, I could “Let it go.” or ” Get over it.” But I can’t.

The memories only came back two years ago, and I’m choking on them.

Sometimes, I think they’re going to kill me, and in the darkest of my moments, I wish they had. 

I am a constant reminder of the thing no one wants to talk about. 

I am a survivor of Ritual Sexual Abuse. 

It is violent, it is evil and it is my reality. 

Most days, I refuse to admit this. It’s too sick and twisted to bare. 

But at this point, it is seeping through my very pores and there is no where to escape the truth of it. 

Not anymore. 

My memories start at the age of four, and even saying that, brings vomit up my throat. 

 I am haunted daily.

Chased down in my sleep.

The “triggers” are becoming more frequent, and because of this, I have chosen to face this head on. 

I’m tired of running. Of coping, of white knuckling it at every turn. 

It’s time to face the monster. 

To get the help I need. 

Ritual Sexual Abuse is a dark and evil road. 

It is demonic, and most of the time, unbelievable. 

I ask, and demand, that if you choose to follow my posts, and support me during this time, that you respect my family. 

I will be sharing my truth, as I see it, and nothing else. 

If you choose to join me on this journey, my journey to freedom, you are brave.

And I thank you, for not being afraid, of my nightmare.

And the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.” ~John 1:5 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set It Free.

When I had first decided to start writing a blog, it was so I could share my story. One simple, but complex desire. The need, and the want to put what was inside of me, outside of me. Carrying the newborn hope, that perhaps something I deemed as dark, shameful and useless could one day exist as a tool of love. I wanted so badly for my story to be known, even if I was terrified to tell the truth, because I knew there were people out there, heavy loaded with the same scars I wore, and wear to this day. I had spent years trying to “redeem” myself to my family, friends and even God Himself, and I had become tired. I needed a way out, even if it would take me back in, as all stories do, each in their own way.

I knew that, just like I did, they needed someone with whom they could relate. Someone who would be honest enough to share the truth of things, even when it left them vulnerable to being misunderstood, judged and labeled. I wanted to expose myself. To “un-hide” the parts of myself, so many of us, do our best to keep behind closed doors.

The truths I had denied. The morals I claimed to have held, but would bend, when faced with an easier choice. My battered self-esteem. The tears hidden behind laughter, the grief packaged in new clothes and expensive shoes. The drugs beneath a seemingly sober face. The alcohol in that water bottle. The sleepless nights filled with terrors I knew no one would believe, if I gathered the courage to tell them. The memories, the stories, the passions and the burdens. My story runs deep. It is long, intense and full of a myriad of emotion. I have faced things that would destroy some, and I myself have been on the brink of destruction many a time.

Anyways, I just finished reading this amazing memoir by Cherie Currie. The lead singer of the 1975 band “The Runaways”. Not only was the book one of the best memoirs I have read, but it instilled in me a brand new outlook on telling my story. I am not afraid anymore. It can be very hard, actually fuck hard, it goes deeper than that, the thought of sharing some of the violence and abuse I’ve endured in my life, brought vomit up my throat. And I think I was still terrified of my own memories. But reading Cherie’s words, and experiencing HER reality of abuse, drugs, rock and roll and the shocking insanity she went through on the road, opened up a doorway for me. Even in her filth, in her drug induced delirium, I respected her. After experiencing the kind of abuse that would run your blood cold, I respected her. I even loved her in those moments. And so, it was in this realization, that I decided I was truly ready to start writing my book. On my own terms and in my own way. And that is exactly what I’m doing.

There is still so much to be told, so much no one knows. So, I look forward to the late nights, the binge writing, the power in vulnerability and the fire it ignites in my soul.

“The truth is like a lion, you don’t have to defend it, let it loose, it will defend itself.” ~St. Augustine

 

 

Call Your Bluff.

It’s been a really long time since I wrote anything, and because of that, this entry will probably be far from elegant or perfect.

I haven’t touched a piece of paper or keyboard, in hopes of sharing my heart, out of fear and hurt for far too long now. No journal entry, not even a note in my phone, and for a little while,  I thought I’d never write again. For a writer, to say, I am done with this, is a form of death. And to leave behind every creative outlet in my soul, felt like a kind of death.

Since my last entry, I lost another baby, this time I was four and a half months pregnant, and gave birth to a little lifeless boy, in tears on my living room floor, before rushing to the hospital.  Nine Months later, I found out my biological Mother had terminal cancer. She lost her battle to the disease, on September first, of this year. At that point, I had come to a total stop. Grief had made its way through me, devouring my hope and faith. I’m not saying I didn’t love Jesus anymore, or that I had taken my life back from Him.  I’m saying, I was not strong enough, to overcome it this time. I had been fighting too long, and too hard, to stand up against it anymore. Take in mind, I was also still healing, from learning that I was horribly abused and molested as child. The repressed memories had pushed themselves through, and surfaced that same year. The battle against the nightmares and hatred still raging strong. I can say, even in the safety of my own home, and the love of my husband and son. this was one of the hardest parts of my life. I guess I can say, I’ve gone though worse. Even if that’s hard to believe. The difference with this time, and the times before it, were that I had become weary in a way I had not before.

I fell into a state of detachment, and because that was so far from natural to me, I felt almost dehumanized. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a joke. When I searched my heart, I felt like a joke. My body, a useless vessel that could not hold life. My heart and soul, unseen, unappreciated, and discarded. My hopes and dreams….garbage that no one but myself cared about. And I didn’t have the strength to fight for them anymore. Every time, I picked myself up again, by the grace of God, something would come and slam me back down to the ground. For while, I felt like I had a target on my back, and I often still feel that way. How can one life hold so much pain? the searing question being…when will this finally stop?

I had cared, and loved, and fought and stood for so long. And because the chaos seemed never-ending, I lost myself. The saddest of it was , even if the urge to feel hope again walked towards me, all the other bullshit pain I carried, ate it up before I could even hold it.  I kept a brave face for my son, but inside, I was terrified I would never be me again.  I knew how pathetic it was, or at least it was pathetic in my opinion. I hated myself for feeling this way. After so many years of climbing the mountain of faith with Jesus, look where it brought me. To a dead-end, and I felt like I was being mocked by my own hope. My feelings and beliefs about my God had not changed, what had changed was the idea that I could follow through with His will for my life. I stopped believing I could, and I think, out of everything, that’s what hurt the most.

As for today, I feel less like a joke, but I still fight with it every day. Because I lost so many people close to me this past year, rejection still burns me on a daily basis. I have to tell myself everyday, that I am seen, even if it’s not by the people I want to be seen by. I don’t feel as pathetic anymore, because I know, I’m a powerful and strong, and wise person. I know, I was being very mean to myself with those thoughts and words, and I need to re learn how to be kind to myself once more. I know that bad things will still happen, and I’m slowly starting to understand, how beautiful it really is, that myself, and my little family, are still standing strong in the name of hope, in the name of Jesus, and in the name of all things good in this universe. Even though, at times, it appears we are all crawling, it means the world that we are still moving. I still cry almost every day, and I’m still very afraid of whats to come. But, for the first time in a while….I’m willing to say,

This WILL NOT take me out.

To the enemy, to the darkness that took over my heart and mind…… I call your bluff. And if you have anything to say, you can take it up with Jesus.

“I will persist until I succeed. I was not delivered into this world in defeat, nor does failure course in my veins. I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my shepherd. I am a lion and I refuse to talk, to walk, to sleep with the sheep. The slaughterhouse of failure is not my destiny. I will persist until I succeed.” ~Unknown 

The Whisper.

Her enemy had never been tangible. It wasn’t something she could point at, or pick out of a list. It wasn’t a person. It wasn’t memories. It wasn’t something she saw when she looked in the mirror, or a place that scared her. It wasn’t loneliness, or depression, or anxiety. She knew these things pretty damn well, but that was never it. It was something else. It wasn’t just because the world was a scary place, or that people couldn’t be trusted for the most part. It wasn’t that a teacher had put her down in front of the class, or that she felt as invisible at home. It wasn’t any of these things. It wasn’t something she could write on a piece of paper. It wasn’t that she drank a lot, or that she found comfort in only drugs, above anything else. It wasn’t that thing. It was something else.

It was more of a whisper.

One that would creep up the back of her neck. Pulling on the small hairs that gathered there. This kind of thing.

She noticed it most often when she was with other people. Her own internal differences, being exposed to herself, as she watched how the others lived. How they reacted. When she heard their opinions, and felt them express themselves. When she compared. And it was so hard not to compare. Because she did feel so utterly different, when standing next to another. No matter their person, she wasn’t biased. She knew, there was something wrong with her. She could taste it, in each hug. In each hello. In each touch, or look or caring glance. Sometimes she would wonder, if they touched her, did they feel it? and so she would pull her hand back. Or not, fully embrace that hug. The whisper, the tugging of the back hairs, like a ghost. Made her hide, and on every normal day, this made her feel crazy.

Isolated.

Because it was always behind her. This nagging. This yanking of her shoulder. It had been with her since she was just a little one. And every year, every month, and every day, it became even more of a “something”. This berating feeling, this internal and external pull, dragging her away into a confusion about herself. She couldn’t just be. There was no such thing for her. There was always the comparing, the questioning. The self loathing, the insecurities. She wanted nothing more than to breathe, and settle within herself, and yet…the tugging, would not ease. No matter how hard she prayed, or how many psychiatrists she spoke with. The ever-changing bottles of prescription antidepressants. Never the answer, never the relief. Waiting around every corner, without fail, the rush of her own torment. Nameless, and paper-thin, the mocking ghost, of all things left un answered. That she desperately wanted to escape.

28 years.

It would take that long. Twenty eight damn years, before she would find its name. Turning her eyes to see the truth, and find herself, staring in the face of evil, growling a righteous anger. Loud, and fierce, like a lion.

She hadn’t expected it, this answer to come, or understood what it is was to embrace the sheer magnitude of it. Coming softly in a quiet place, to then tear her heart to shreds. Sometimes, the truth really hurts. And, she had gotten used to the whisper, the never-ending interruptions of her soul. Her mind. Even her own body. The voice that stood between her and everything else. Even, and sadly most of all, love. The hard wall she could not break through. Her knuckles worn and scarred from trying. But it came.

Year, after year, the twisting insides finally bursting forth, and making her sick to herself. And in the wake of her own truth, she would be free. Pale faced, nauseous and full of rage, she would crawl towards her restoration. Grasping her hands to pull on the heavens. Her memories turning to vomit, dragging herself to God’s feet. Finding refuge in the war. A peace in the midst of a great fire. And He would save her.

Her enemy had never been something tangible. It wasn’t something she could point at, or write down on a piece of paper.  It wasn’t loneliness, or depression, or anxiety. She knew these things pretty damn well, but that was never it. It was something else.

Her enemy, was a secret.

A bitter adversary of the heart.

Buried deep within her own body, the places she could not touch. What a scary thing.

The shameful word echoing in all the places she knew existed.

Molested.

Tearing it out of her own chest, like a foreign implant.

The abortion of a lie, and her own deep scream that came with it.

Molested.

This rotten and festering thing,  dying in her own hands. Twenty eight years ripping at her own chest, and now the thing was out. The exhaustion taking her over and she would decide to sleep for a little while, because this wasn’t the end. This was the beginning of the truth in her life.

She knew it.

And so, she thanked God for the lion on her heart, that mighty roar he drew up inside her and she let her eyes roll to back of her head. The eyelashes laying still. Her hands limp at his feet, her hair washing over his toes, and she slept. For the very first time, in her entire life, she truly slept. While He stood over her, mighty and glorious. His robe draped upon her like a blanketed child. He whispered words of safety over her as she slumbered, washing the blood and filth from her hands, with his breath.

Taking back His daughter, and for her, it had been a long time coming. He knew that.

Dusting off her feet, and drawing up the light around her, He kissed her face. And watched her sleep.

Just Drive.

I’ve been remembering what it’s like to look through the eyes of a child.

The beautiful ignorance.

The unfailing trust.

The light of joy that literally pierces through their eyes.

The thing I find I’m most often missing, when I look in the mirror.

Tired eyes, a hint of strain.

An adult, and there’s this pressure.

Have I forgotten what I need to remember?

When I was young, maybe four, five years old. My best friend… was my Dad.

I used to ride next to him in his car, music flowing around me, the wind blowing in through the pulled down windows.

A little girl never feels so safe. Then with her Dad at the wheel.

We’d pull into the parking lot of some local home improvement store, and he’d come around the side to unlock my car door.

“Hey bud, you ready?”

Reaching out that big Dad hand, that only little girls know so well.

I think about this.

That simple act of trust…

Of  holding his hand through the parking lot.

The clunky metal vehicles pulling in and out around us.

Remembering how safe I felt.

Not even the notion to watch out for cars, because he was doing it for me.

Not concerned with what we we’re doing, or what it was that we needed.

Just holding his hand, me and Dad.

The warm palm, I was so used too. The black oil mechanic stains on his fingers. Safe.

Mine.

Dad.

I so often forget Father, to take the hand you are reaching out to me.

The scar that bumps over your palm, there is nothing you haven’t done to be with me.

The world teaches me, I’m not to need anybody.

Keep your hands free.

Find your own way.

Never rely on another.

But I don’t want to do that.

I want to hold Your hand Father, just like I held my Daddy’s hand.

I don’t want to look out for cars, because I know…

You are doing it for me.

I don’t want to think about where we’re going…

I just want to go there with You.

The country wind through the pulled down window.

Music flowing around me…

A girl never feels so safe as she does, as when her Dad has the wheel.

Take the wheel Father.

While I close me eyes,  and listen to the tires tread over the black cement road.

The soothing, dull rhythm.

Drive Father….

Just drive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Hands will Bleed, but Our Hearts will Beat.

It is through the deepest of our pain, that we are asked to stand.

When darkness stalks us, a black oil suffocating… faith.

When our weakness’s mock us, and stare us in the face.

Grim and shameful a thing.

When all strength has left our limbs…sitting fearful at the edge of the cliff.

That the deep breath fills our bodies.

Fill me up, Lord. Fill me up.

The breath, of life.

Called in the night of our dreams, in the weight of our tears.

The whisper tugs at the straps of our souls.

Be of hope, child. Be of hope.

The earth beneath your feet, cracks with uncertainty.

Tree roots lifting, clinging.

White knuckles, grasping.

The dust catching your eyes, that awful burning.

You curse your own flesh, in its weariness.

Our hearts pulling to catch up, when things change…too fast.

The place between your mind, and heart, a criss crossing of wires. Sizzling.

But He calls.

That cool wind, to sooth the burn.

A love ointment, for a mind infection.

An intimate pull of heat, a love that runs deep.

To the very nature of your cells.

The voice upon the waters.

Be of courage, child. Be of courage.

Catching each tear, in His mighty hand.

Storing them up in the Great Heart.

Restoration. Is a promise.

Do not fear, child. Do not fear. I hold the stars in my hands.

Joy comes in the morning my love. It always comes.

A lullaby of Truth.

And even though the world around me, shakes, it crumbles…my hands are bleeding…You Father, ARE BIGGER.

The cool wind to sooth the burn.

The love’s breath to heal the torn.

The All. The Is. The Forever.

Yes, child. Nothing in vain.

Nothing….in vain.

It is when the tidal wave hits, that we are called to stand against the crashing waters.

Hand in hand.

The salt waves whipping our cheeks, matting our hair, stinging our eyes.

A wall of brothers and sisters.

Our hands will bleed, but our hearts will beat.

Oh they will beat, the glory of God.

My hands are ready.