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If I Could Go Back

If I could go back, I would go back to waking down Nan’s dirt driveway to the creek. I’d go back to singing Trisha Yearwood and swinging in the backyard. I’d go back to the small bookstore where I found Anne of Green Gables. I’d go back to summer nights catching lightning bugs. Or a rainy night in that small kitchen where we made cookie dough and used red plastic cookies cutters to shape them into farm animals.

I’d go back to when life was innocent. When I walked barefoot in the grass and where I spent magical summertimes in Tennessee, collecting fossils and picking wildflowers and twirling on the back porch. I’d go back to yard sales with mom and watching Saturday morning cartoons with my brother. I’d go back to playing with our dogs in the backyard and jumping on the trampoline and helping dad water plants.

I’d go back to family nights at the park when we’d fish. I’d go back to going to work with dad and him stopping at the gas station to buy me powdered donuts and chocolate milk, and when I’d bring a backpack full of Barbies. I’d go back to mom driving us across the country from Arizona to New Mexico through Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas and finally getting to Tennessee, taking the scenic route through small towns. I’d go back to walking into Nan’s house when we arrived and seeing her excitement and greeting us with a big hug. I’d go back to waking up and looking out the guest room window, seeing the fog and dew lay on top of the grassy field. I’d go back to when I didn’t worry, when I just soaked up every moment. When my little self just took in the beauty of it all.

Sometimes, on nights like tonight, I go back to all of it.

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Processing

I’ll be turning 30 in a little under a month. I really don’t want to carry baggage into my 30s, but you know, maybe we’re all a little screwed up. My screwed up bits come from broken relationships, dating back to non-existing friendships as a little girl, wanting to be accepted by the kids at school, but never feeling known. Liked. Certainly not loved.

I gave my heart away quickly as a 16-year-old in her first relationship. The first time being kissed, feeling like the desires of my heart were being fulfilled. It started on March 7. Foolish because on Valentine’s Day, a few weeks before, he left roses on her car. The car of the girl he’d eventually go back to. The girl he’d lie about, pursue, cheat with.

It’s funny just how much my first broken heart relates to my last. In my mind, they are two extremely similar people. The two narcissists I’ve dated. Both three-letter names that are interchangeable in my mind. Sometimes I get them mixed up. They were two boys rejected by other women, and used me to fill the gaps in their heart. Both abusive, the first physically and on the edge of sexually.

I question how I’ve ever let myself be so foolish. How and why did I let those things happen? Why did I break my rules and give myself to men who didn’t deserve it? Men who lied and never cared about me. Who wanted someone else and just used me as a distraction until they could finally get what they wanted. And the thing is, why does the last one still sting?

I didn’t want to be with him. I don’t want to be with him. I had a choice and I made it.

So why not just sit and be thankful that I’m lucky enough to have once been truly loved by another man? The only man I loved unconditionally. A man, to this day, I consider to be the kindest soul I’ve ever met. But a man who God clearly told me wasn’t mine.

I don’t know what my point is with sharing this. I’m just… processing. I guess.

I need to forgive. These men. The women who intentionally got mixed up in it all.

And mostly, I need to forgive myself.

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Maybe it's okay…

Somehow everything has changed in just a few days. Everything feels heavy. The thing is, I made a dumb decision. And then briefly lost my mind. We’re talking one night I wanted to set things on fire. (But that’ll have to wait until I go to my parents this weekend and literally burn two pieces of furniture. P.S. Don’t ask.) Then last night I just started boxing. (Lemme tell you, my arms are sore.)

Anyway, here I was. Completely happy this past weekend. And stupidity ensued.

But then…

I heard about things that are going on with several friends. Friends who I love. Friends who are dealing with the heaviest of heavy. And it makes me stop. It makes me look at all that I have. It reminds me that I have a God who cares for me. And cares for these other wonderful human beings who have so much that is hurting them. And gosh, it sucks.

I know they’re feeling that type of pain that just takes over your entire body. Where it’s hard to breathe and your chest hurts and you don’t know if you'll fall asleep and you’re scared and you just wonder if it’s always going to feel this way. Where it feels like literally nothing could make you feel better. That you’re just alone. In darkness.

Doesn’t that break your heart?

Every time I turn on the radio lately, I start to hear Maybe It’s Okay by We Are Messengers. & I feel like God has been trying to talk to me through that song. And I keep thinking to myself, no God, really, I’m okay. But then I started paying more attention to the words outside of the chorus.

If I didn't know what it hurt like to be broken
Then how would I know what it feels like to be whole.

. . .

If I didn't know what it cuts like to be rejected
Then I wouldn't know the joy of coming home.

. . .

And if all of my shame hadn't drove me to hide in the shadows
Then I wouldn't know the beauty of being free.

. . .

Maybe it's all right if I'm not all right
'Cause the One who holds the stars is holding my whole life.

God, I get it.

I hate. Hate! That my friends are going through shit. That we all have shit. But I am in awe that there’s a God who’s always there. In those times where it’s hard to breathe and I find myself apologizing and asking Him to just please take care of me. It’s then that suddenly the sobs start to soften and I’m overcome with peace. And hope. And love. Because He has me. And there’s the reminder that there’s always purpose. And from every bad feeling or experience or just plain shitty day or being treated shitty, He can turn it around. He can make something good. He can create good in you. He can create good in me.

And I just pray for my friends, for me, for you that we embrace the beauty of being free. He’s got us.

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