Original Sin

When I gave birth the third time,

Everyone told me what a perfect birth it was.

They marveled at how calm and “unafraid” I was,

How I “roared” my baby earthside.

I’ve ached in that lie for a while now,

Lost in their awe and my own despair.

What they didn’t know is that

While they were calling me calm and unafraid,

I was facing the endless exile of humanity

With trepidation, anger, and despair.

While they were resting and calm,

My head bowed over the water’s edge

And realized nothing will save me.

This is an effect of original sin.

My husband leaves every morning for hours,

Like so many other husbands.

He’s far away, but not as far as many others;

I’m not blind to my own privilege.

He feels so far away to me though,

A piece of my heart leaves with him,

And the hole aches inside of me.

But, “the man shall work…

and the woman will long for her man.”

They tell me, “it could be so much worse,”

My own voices, and others sometimes,

And I know they are right.

I am lucky to be alive, lucky for my family,

Blessed even.

But they are missing the point.

It’s not about my pain being so horrible,

It’s about pain being horrible.

It’s not that my struggles are the worst,

It’s that they are the least.

It’s not a little pain,

It’s the largest pain there is.

It’s the anger, it’s the fear, it’s the hope,

In the face of a God who will not relent.

Or sometimes won’t. It depends….

On what?

On His mood? On my merit?

If God shall number our sins,

“Lord, who can stand,”

But if God does not hear our merits,

Lord, who can stand that either.

Eve may have fallen, and so have we,

But we have also begged you to return.

We have made you king.

We have fallen again and gotten lost

In this terrifying world you have created,

But we have come back to you and we have begged you to return,

No more to go away.

But you won’t hear us, Lord.

Please forgive me, my anger Lord,

My heart breaks over nothing, I know.

My heart breaks for the whole world,

I cry for days over a 6 month old boy I never met,

I break in half over a family who loses their father and almost their mother.

I shatter over shootings, over bombs, over countries, over worlds,

That cry out like violent small humans for your help.

Oh God see us in our weakness and have mercy on us.

We are so desperate for your love we are destroying each other,

God, we want you in your fullness,

We just don’t know it yet,

Have mercy on our misguided attempts to find you.

Reveal yourself, and hold us until we stop crying,

Like a mother with a flailing infant,

Hold us in our fear, despair, rage,

While I kick my legs against you and scream,

Hold me and receive my tears,

Understand that I am lost in your exile,

And I just want You to come home.

Ugly Cry, or, My Awakening: The Tension Between Cultivating Joy and Feeling Heard

Lately, I have been feeling like a ping pong ball in my own head. I’m learning a lot about a lot of things, but the problem is they all seem to contradict each other. I am learning how to cultivate joy, but I am also learning how to give myself space to be sad, I am learning about how to let good things in, and bad things out, I am learning about how anger is a secondary emotion, and about whether or not acting it out in some way helps, I am learning about healing, and I am learning about how much hurt can hurt, and I am learning to love and trust myself, and I am learning all of my weak spots all at the same time. I read an article that talked about how ugly real-life awakenings are, and if that’s the truth, it makes a lot of goddamn sense.

I’m so pissed off about this awakening. I’m humiliated and angry and frustrated, oh and presently actually literally sick. I am so aware of every single one of my flaws and yet it seems like every day someone thinks of a new one to add, not that they are even meaning too. I’m as sensitive as a porcelain doll right now because I feel like I’m trying to become this new person and every single move I make could change the world or end it. And to be fair, I don’t blame them, I can’t stand being in my own head anymore than they can stand what a mess I am.

I’m bouncing between all of the things I’m learning at the highest extremes of each trying to figure out who I am and where I stand inside, and just knowing I don’t belong on any of the sides I see. I see flaws everywhere on everything and everyone especially myself, but I am also seeing beauty in a way I haven’t in a long time, and for the first time in a long time, when I see the flaws I am doing something about it, or at least trying to. Sometimes I feel literally on fire because I’m so angry when I see someone else get talked down to, when I see anyone being ganged up on or feeling isolated. I’ve become, possibly a little too much, intense about standing up for the people who feel alone in that particular way.

I want to be a crusader for the lonely, and the misfits. That’s how I see who Christ was, and that’s who I have always wanted to be. I want to heal broken hearts, I want to hold those I can’t heal in my figurative or literal arms, I want to wipe away tears, I want to scream as loud as I can with people who need space to be angry, I want to pull dreams out of people who are afraid to dream, I want to answer despair with hope, I want to dive into their mud and muck and I want them to breathe again.

The problem is, I’m not big enough yet. I feel like a three year old looking at my life and realizing I’m not a grown up, and I keep throwing tantrums that humble me beyond what I thought was possible. I am so deeply angry at fate for whatever it has dealt everyone who is in pain including myself. I don’t want just answers to my problems, I want my answers to be the answers for everyone. I want to revolutionize how the world does life right now, because people are hurting so freaking bad. So the problem is, again, I’m not big enough to do all the things I want to do.

My answer to this, that bothers some people around me, is to complain. To live the truth of my struggle instead of sucking it up and pretending everything is ok. There’s been several articles out lately about society keeps giving “self-care” advice to people who really just need HELP. A prophets/artists job in life is to state the truth, and I am living that curse right now. There are things in our society and culture that are seriously fucked up. There are things in our Church that are horrifying. There are things in our world that are disastrous. I am a ball of positivity sometimes and I love to see the good in people and in the world, but let me tell you, there are some awful things happening right now, and the only space for my positively right now is my all-consuming hunger for helping to change it all, so I write, and sometimes I hate my negative confusing messy scribbles, but I’m not writing them for me. I am writing them for the little girl who wishes she was dead, so she knows she’s not alone. I am writing them for the mom who can’t stand up another day, so she knows someone else is fighting the war with her, I am writing them for the people who think the Church hates them, so they know they matter too. There is beauty in the truth even when the truth is ugly.

I catch myself sometimes feeling like I am trying to excuse the fact that I’m having a hard time. When I do that, I try to just stop writing right there, because it gets insincere real quick. Sometimes, I have to just push through it to get to the other side, and sometimes the other side is excusing the fact that everyone in my situation is having a hard time. I try to write letters for those who are struggling, or write comforting words to them, or write about their struggle, but sometimes it seems like the most powerful way I am able to struggle with someone is to stand with them and say, “Yeah, this fucking sucks. I’m here.” I catch myself defending people from themselves, other people, even myself sometimes, saying, “What you have been through is really hard, it’s ok to have a hard time.”

And ok, that is partially selfish, because when I am sad that’s all I want-my loved ones to see that I’m struggling and accept me through it, but it’s not just selfish, because I think the whole world needs that. Mother Teresa said that the people in America were suffering more than the people starving in Calcutta because they are lonely. That hasn’t changed, if anything, it’s gotten worse, and I believe one reason why is that we have this standard of perfectionism that no one can ever attain, but everyone is expected to, so no one is accepted for who they really are because everyone is so desperately trying to keep their mask on. Even the women who share their makeup free selfies are sometimes hiding how insecure they really are about it, and how scary it is to put themselves out there.

The thing is, that cultivating joy and choosing the good and all of that, do matter. I am not great at them and I am practicing, and failing, a lot, but sometimes, when someone is going through something really hard, just choosing joy isn’t enough. Sometimes the whirlwind of problems are so much that choosing joy seems completely impossible, and the litany of different medical and physical and emotional things that could be wrong with you are so overwhelming that all you know is that you are all wrong. Everyone else is happy and you aren’t, so something is horribly wrong with you. I am here to tell you, it’s okay to have a hard time. It’s even okay to have a hard time if you are STILL having a hard time. Recovery from grief is not an easy process, recovery from abuse takes titanic strength, recovery from addiction takes insane amounts only effort, recovery from anger at fate for what your life looks like seems almost impossible. It is ok to struggle.

If you are reading this, and you are not having a hard time, try to remember a time when you felt completely helpless and powerless, and if that’s never happened in your life, thank God and the people who have made that happen for you. If, though, you are reading this and you are having a hard time, know, you are not alone. We are here for you, all of the other silent people longing to be heard, we are here for you and we love you. It is ok that you are having a hard time, you will see better days. Try to get there, cultivate joy where you can, but let our love hold you while you struggle to get there. You are loved, completely, accepted completely, somewhere, we just have to find the place where we belong. Until then, we love you.

A Good Friday Style Easter

This Easter was a hard one for me so far. On Friday, I saw a headline out of the corner of my eye, “When Easter feels like Good Friday.” I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

As I crawled through lent this year, my refrain was, Easter is almost here, Easter is almost here. Now that it was here it was almost harder in some ways. I felt like everything was supposed to be happy, we are supposed to be feasting, but I think I was in tears for half of this Easter week. I was exhausted from trying to reach the Resurrection and feeling like it’s so far away.

I repeated over and over “I believe,” because I choose to believe in the Resurrection and hope, but I heard myself in my head being like Martha, “I know we will rise, at the Resurrection of us all,” and then I crumble in fear for all of our struggles here. Jesus rose Lazarus after weeping with Martha when she said those words. I kept asking Him to understand where my fear is coming from and to be with me, and help me.

It feels arrogant though sometimes to ask for help when my worst problems are nothing compared to the horrors going on in the world. Every day there’s a new tragedy. Over 200 people died on Easter. How can we feast when the entire world is crying out in fear and pain? So I feel guilty for my joyful days, but then when I am caught up in my own misery I feel guilty for thinking my problems are anything in the grand scheme of things.

This Easter in particular was a weird one. How do you reconcile the birthday of Hitler/20th anniversary/national pot day with each other, let alone with Easter the next day? How do you reconcile incomparable world ending joy with unimaginable evil?

I think there was something happening this year. Something we couldn’t see. This lent it seemed like everyone was dying. Everytime I got on Facebook there was a new notification of someone dying. And these were not just any normal expected deaths, many of these were out of nowhere terrifying horrible things happening. The fire in Notre Dame was like a symbol for everything happening.

Yet there have been little moments when I have seen hope in the world. One night when the world seemed so heavy, and so many terrifying deaths had been announced, I fell to my knees(and I hate kneeling) and I just begged for mercy. The next day was the most beautiful day outside, the sun was shining and everyone was happy. So many people were talking about how the world felt so much lighter. I know that my prayers were not the only ones going up that night, but that time I felt prayer work.

I didn’t realize during lent that it was the 20th anniversary of Columbine. I found out on Holy Saturday, and it seemed only fitting. Something about the gravity of this year made sense with that being the case. I had hoped that on Easter there would be some great turn around and this year would turn into everyone’s most amazing year ever. I know that’s a little crazy, but I’ve always been known to have high expectations. I can’t help being an idealist.

Well, there wasn’t a huge immediate turn around, but I’m starting to see little changes in people and even bigger changes in me, so I don’t know, maybe it’s a battle we have to fight the long way, maybe we have to feel like we have earned it or we won’t appreciate it, or maybe it’s just too big of a battle for one moment to win, but whatever the case, I am working on fighting every little battle that is given to me, and I believe that one day we will see the battles we have won.

The Silence

For the last few weeks, I’ve barely posted on here. I felt guilty and I insulted myself for it, but it wasn’t until tonight that I realized what I was doing.

I have a bad habit of getting too caught up in what everyone else thinks about me. We have all heard that one, I guess, but for me it’s true. I am such a people pleaser that I have almost literally served myself to death at times. It takes a superhuman amount of strength for me to pull myself out of the shame spirals that result from this, because no matter how hard any person tries, you cannot please everyone every time. Which means that if you try you will just end up in a tornado of failed attempts.

Well, I got into my drafts this week, and I got to see concrete evidence of me letting my people pleasing kill my creativity. There was post after post that I remembered being so excited about posting, but then I felt awkward or embarrassed, or afraid. I doubted myself, and I let it keep me from posting and from writing.

I have fought this battle before and I will fight it again, but today it’s time for me to pick back up the pen, (figuratively, I don’t write with a stylus on here. 😉 )

My Worst Nightmare

I had every writers worst nightmare happen to me today. I got a good look at everything I don’t have. I don’t have writing credits, I don’t have many connections, I don’t have time, I don’t have so many things it hurts. I posted my own rec post, but I don’t know that it’s really meant for people like me. The other writers all seem to have something more than me, confidence, support, experience, again, time.

It’s an age-old problem for artists. I know this. Ive been trying to tell myself that all day today. This is the curse of being an artist, feeling like you have nothing to offer, and offering it anyway, and sometimes even acting like you have the world to offer, and sometimes thinking you do.

I read some entries for contests I was going to enter last night too, which didn’t help. On some level, I knew I was not at the same level as these people. I’m not a genius with dialogue, I don’t write character studies-yet. I’m not the perfect seasoned writer. But I did think my movies were worth seeing. Now I don’t know.

Today, I don’t know why I even bother. Today, I wonder if screenwriting was just a fantasy I made up in my head because being a kid was too hard. Maybe my parents and everyone who told me not to dream were right. Maybe what I have to say really doesn’t matter. Maybe I’m supposed to give it up. But I don’t want to. It is in my blood. It was my hope and my dream my entire life, and it never leaves me. No matter how hard I try to shut it up, or pretend I don’t want it, I breathe this.

It is what gives me hope while the entire world seems to be falling down around me. It is what gave me shelter when the whole world seemed too bleak to survive. I prayed, yes, and prayer matters, but deep down amidst the despair I need my voice to be heard, I need to do what I’m meant to do, and I do believe I’m meant to do this. God knows me, and He knows my heart, and He knows I have this in me. Even if I sound like a complete idiot to everyone around me.

I am terrified that I have this need and desire for no reason, that it’s some sort of joke from my own stupid psychosis and a God that doesn’t care. There have been times when my entire life is defined by this fear. I want to believe that God gives us our desires for a reason, and that He will fulfill them. On this, I place my hope, and I pray everyday that I’m not wrong.

Fiction: Prologue

You guys, I just wrote this, and I am so proud of it. I’m going to be working it into a book, and I am really really excited for it.

A few months after my first miscarriage, I started having a burning desire to have a threesome. My husband and I were struggling with intimacy because sexuality represented unanswered prayers. It represented the little person who was missing from our lives. It represented the loss of all our hopes and dreams of what our family was going to be. It represented unity, but in despair.

For months and months I struggled with this, I prayed about it over and over and over. Finally, in prayer I believed I felt God telling me, “This is a decision you need to make. If it is a mistake, you need to make it.” I’m a huge perfectionist, and I have struggled with scrupulously my entire life, and I have had the joy of many things destroyed because of how religion was taught to me. This time, I believed God was telling me it was ok to be human for a second.

We had a friend of mine over. She was beautiful and free. She represented everything we weren’t. But we loved her. She had been our best friend forever, and she had ended up closed out of the friendship because of our marriage. I think a part of me thought this was how it always supposed to be. We had done a trial run of just me and her and it had been exhilarating and free, but I had felt sad afterwards, because my husband was not there. When it was her and the two of us, it was the whole world in one room. We were hot and heavy and compassionate and sensitive, we were caring and loving and sexy and passionate. We were tangled together and gazing at each other. We were everything.

We did it again and again and again.

I would like to say that we were evil for doing it, that it was misguided and a mistake, and that it was sinful. It would be so much easier. It may have been sinful, but even now writing it, my entire body feels full and alive. My blood runs warmer through my veins. I think of unity with all of mankind and what that would feel like. I think of the promise of community in heaven, and I long for a unity that feels that profound. I long for complete union and passion with every single human being in existence.

I used to joke in college about how I believed that heaven could be an even deeper unity with all of mankind, like sex, but even deeper. What I didn’t say was that I meant it. I believe that Communion is like sex. I believe that the Eucharist is actually God, and because I believe that I believe that He wanted to be literally a part of us. He wanted to LITERALLY be inside of us. Every Sunday, I go to communion and I believe in Him as my bridegroom. I have fights with Him throughout the week about how He handled things, I complain to Him when my feelings are hurt, I ask Him to hold me at night when I’m sad, and when I am at Church on Sundays, I believe that He is creating complete intimacy with me.

Someone said once that sex is the closest we can get to heavenly ecstasy in this life. Insofar as sex is the same kind of unity as Communion, I believe that. I believe that when we truly love someone there is a moment when we cannot get close enough to them, when we cannot get them close enough in to us. I believe that union is the answer.

I should clarify before I am denounced as a monstrous heretic and declared a false prophet that I am not advocating polygamy on earth. Personally, I believe that on earth there are far too many risks and complications to that kind of relationship. However, I have a very secret fantasy that in heaven there will be some sort of heavenly unity or act, either sex or something like it, that will bring about a kind of ecstasy like nothing we have ever known. I have been so carried away in sex before that I begged my husband to stop, so I wouldn’t die from the heart-pounding, breathless exhilaration. I like to think that heaven will be that, but without the fear.

Lea Michele: What I wanted to say to you back then

Lea Michele,

I haven’t forgotten you. For years I have had the image of you plastered in my mind from the tabloids after you found out Cory Monteith had died. My heart bled for you. There was one that talked about what he said to you in his last voicemail. It struck me as cruel to report about such a sacred moment in your life. It still does. I have this image of you clutching the phone, crying, and maybe smiling, with paparazzi and flashing cameras all around you. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been to go through losing him.

Who knows, though? I don’t know you, maybe you were always fighting, and you wanted out of the relationship. Maybe he was abusive and you couldn’t stand him. Maybe you never really loved him at all and it was all just for publicity. Or maybe you loved him as deeply as I love my husband or any of the people I’ve lost, and maybe your entire world fell apart when he was gone.

The truth is, I don’t know, but I do know, that whatever the case, you deserved alone time to deal with the loss. You deserved the space to process all the stages of grief without every moment being reported. You deserved time to mourn however you needed.

I want you to know that I pray for you still. I don’t do it everyday, I’m not a stalker, but every once in a while you come to my mind. I think of what a hard time that must have been, and I hope that you have found peace and happiness now. I hope that sometimes you forget it even happened. I hope that it doesn’t hurt too much when it crosses your mind. I hope that you have healed as much as time can heal. I don’t believe time heals all wounds, but I believe it softens even the worst of them.

You may think I’m crazy for writing this letter, honestly, even I do, but I am learning to be true to myself and I write this to honor who I was when I wanted to cry for you, but I felt too silly. I wanted to honor the compassion that I was filled with back when everyone got angry with me for being obsessed with celebrities. I want to let the light I had shine, because I don’t know you, but I love you. I wish the best for you, no matter where or who you are now.

Love,

Me

Thank you, Jussie Smollett: Sending love

 

The first thing I saw when I searched for news of your attack was,

He “turned down extra security before the event.”

My mind started spinning with conspiracy theories from every TV show I have ever watched. If this was the CW, you would have perfectly orchestrated the attack for some money-related reason, or some politician would have done the same, but so that they would get the vote. I caught myself, and I couldn’t believe that was where my mind went. Then, I felt myself question, what if he did make it up, what if I end up feeling stupid?

On the other hand, my heart broke for you, and I was so angry that someone would be so petty. What if you were in a meeting and they told you that they could provide you a second bodyguard, or third, or you could buy more time with one of them? I can honestly say, I don’t think I would have chosen extra security either. How could you have known that you would need it?

Then, I caught myself again while reading the accounts, “Oh, the rope around his neck was a thin one, how convenient,” and I recoiled at myself in shock. I don’t know when I became so un-trusting, that I would look for the smallest detail and use it as an excuse to believe the worst in someone. I used to believe that everyone was good. When I was a kid, I would have prayed for you every day, though I would also have been terrified for my life because my empathy couldn’t understand that I was not the victim of any and everything I witnessed. (Note: I am not exaggerating about this, I once had a dream the KKK tried to burn my house down, and I have never fully recovered.) Some people in my life scared me, though, and now I guess I have hardened my heart to keep from being embarrassed.

The truth is, though, Jussie, is that I am so upset that you would be hurt. You are such a beautiful light to the world, and I am so grateful for you. Your performance as Jamal in Empire inspires me, every time I watch it. Kindness, compassion, and empathy radiates from you through the screen. Your every word, your every song, echoes throughout my life, a butterfly effect of hope. I want to thank you for everything you do.

I saw your family on The Chew a while back, and each of you inspired me with stories of surviving financial struggles as kids. Your mother was your world, and I relished those stories, as I lay pregnant and sick on the couch with my first baby playing on the floor. I admired the joy you and your family brought to discussions of food and family, and I aspire to create a family with that kind of spirit.

Amidst the fear, anger, skepticism, empathy, and sorrow, I happened across articles about the support for you from your Empire family and twitter feeds, and then articles about what you do for people. I already admired your courage for playing a character that would make so many people feel so much that it would emerge as anger, hatred, or worse, but now I discovered that you live the values you perform. I admire your work for LGBTQ, and AIDS. In my own life, sometimes, I don’t know how to feel about the religious and political war of gender equality vs. the traditions with which I was raised, but you have always advocated KINDNESS, and anyone can get behind that.

Thank you for being that kind voice in the world. Thank you for having the courage to perform a role that would make others feel powerful emotions. Thank you for being the kind of person who would deny extra security, because you don’t live with all of your walls up. I am so grateful for who you are as a person, and I hope you know that the whole world is not made of these people, who are willing to hurt others. There is good in the world, and there is gratitude for your place in it.

Thank you.

Please Accept Me

That was an overshare once again,

If I was poised enough I would have made a joke about it.

Sorry I didn’t mean to get too serious again,

I’m really not that funny.

I promise I’m not obsessed with myself,

Or am I? No one likes being around me.

Why do I always seem to be the wrong person?

I’m working on it, but I also want to be me.

I’m haunted by a comment a friend made about someone I knew.

He just wants to be accepted too much.

It echoes in my brain every time I’m lonely.

I just want to be liked so much that I’m weird,

An amalgamation of longing and genuineness that nauseates passers by.

Not to mention the bleeding heart in my chest that no one wants to look at.

Let’s be honest neither do I.

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