Depression and The Boundaries Book

I started to read a book called “Boundaries” a couple of months ago. I had bought it a long time before that, but I hadn’t read it. I was nervous because I have talked to several people who were very callous and used this book as their excuse, but I have also talked to others who say it changed their life. Now that I’m actively reading it, although slowly, I have to say I understand why.

“Boundaries” is simultaneously comforting and terrifying for me. Te first time I read it, I had a legit panic attack that I am such a worthless human being who does nothing but take from others and I have nothing to give and I don’t deserve to live. That’s dramatic, but honestly, it was kind of dramatic. I got so lost in the way they break down how much help to take and not take, and grew terrified that I take too much, or not enough, and I talk about my problems too much but not in the right way, etc, etc, etc.

The basic thesis of the book is that it is ok to set boundaries, and say “No” to someone who violates them. It gives Biblical support for that which is incredibly necessary for Christians especially who are taught to “Give until it hurts.” It was comforting in some ways to hear that I don’t have to just always give in, and it’s ok to take care of my needs too. I needed that. However, it is a hard time for me to be reading the book, because I hate needing help, and I am in a season on life where it seems like no matter how hard I try not to, I need more and more of it.

My senior year in college, I went through what I now know must have been an incredibly severe period of depression. I had nightmares, a weird kind of sleep paralysis, anxiety, thoughts of worthlessness, and at the same time, I lost many of my friends to a crazy whirlwind of drama. Meanwhile, I was writing my thesis about Hell, so that was great. Every time I tried to talk to anyone about what was going on, it seemed like they would stop talking to me. I had very few friends left by the end, and I still treasure every single one of them for sticking with me.

One Sunday, at a household meeting(for those who don’t know, households are a religious version of a sorority, basically) I broke down. I started sobbing in the middle of the meeting(and I was leading it so that was bad.) I ran out of the meeting and collapsed in tears on the floor. No, I don’t know why I broke down on the floor instead of the perfectly good bed next to me. Maybe the cold felt good on my body, sad people do weird things. Minutes later, a couple of my sisters came in and they listened to my story. Really listened. They heard out what was happening throughout my year. I will never forget what one of them said.

“Why didn’t you tell us?”

I will never forget that, because I DID. I told them, over and over and over again. I tried my hardest, but I couldn’t get across what was happening. I couldn’t express the magnitude of what was going on in a five minute conversation, and I was paralyzed by the feeling that they were done with me because I was talking about my hard time.

This book has brought that feeling back to me over and over again in the last few months. I will read one page and feel like a monster for talking about my feelings, while the next page, I feel like maybe I need to be better about sharing them. I just keep thinking about that moment, I felt so alone, and even though I had tried to tell them, no one knew.

I think this is a problem for mental health issues. People get annoyed if others “complain too much,” or are “Debbie-downers” or “sad all the time,” and I get it! It is so hard to be happy when you are around others who are not. There is even self-help advice to stay away from these people, and murky psychological articles accusing them of being narcissists, or energy vampires. Of course, I am not saying these people do not exist, but I do think that people who are genuinely struggling may sometimes look the same as a narcissist or energy vampire or just a downer. What happens though, when someone is just genuinely having a hard time for a long period of time? What if someone is just grieving and they aren’t feeling better yet?

The point of the book isn’t just about talking about feelings, but it is an example of the things that has been hardest for me. The author uses two images to demonstrate when to ask for help and when not to. It’s ok to ask for help when you are carrying a large boulder, but when it is just a backpack, you can carry that yourself-the backpack symbolizes daily struggles. What happens though, when the daily struggles feel like a boulder, like they do with depression/anxiety/grief/whatever?

How do we decide when someone is upset “too often” or “too long” or “too much” or “too upset?” How does someone struggling with this know when they are upset too long/too much/too often/too upset? I had a huge wake up call to this a couple weeks ago when I took a hormone balancing medicine and all of a sudden the whole world was a different place. I spoke with hope, I believed in things again, I was able to focus on other people. Unfortunately, the medicine had tons of side effects, so my search for something better continues, but it was literally a night and day difference. I felt like someone had taken a blindfold off of me. How does someone in that kind of fog for any reason figure out how much upset-ness is too much for everyone around them, and yet still express how bad what is going on is?

So, I struggle with this book. I really do. I know, and appreciate, what it’s trying to do, but I also know what it feels like to be told everything is ok and you need to handle it yourself when you are screaming out and begging for help. I also know what it feels like to swallow pain so hard you think you will die from it, and that is a dangerous mess I refuse to start up again.

I guess what I’m saying is, if you struggle with depression/anxiety/grief/sadness, please don’t hold it in because you are afraid no one wants to hear it. Even if some people don’t, some do, and you may not know who they are, so keep going until you find them. If you know someone who is struggling, please be patient with them. You may not know how bad what they are going through really is, and you may not know how badly they want to fix it.

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5 Years Ago Today: Trigger Warning-Miscarriage

Trigger Warning: Miscarriage

5 Years Ago Today was the day I lost my first child.

5 Years Ago Today was the day she died.

Today, I lived my life like nothing was wrong.

I played with my double rainbow babies.

I did the dishes.

I cleaned the house.

But I saw a butterfly and I asked if it was her.

I asked her to be with me, but only if she wants to be,

Because I hope she’s happy in heaven without me,

Even though she’s without me, and I’m without her.

5 Years Ago Today, I screamed like I had never screamed before.

5 Years Ago Today, I held her body.

5 Years Ago Today, there was blood all over the floor

Of the tub. I didn’t know that that could happen.

Usually I don’t bleed when I shower,

But when you’re losing them it doesn’t stop, even for the water flow.

5 Years Ago Today, I thought I would die if it didn’t stop.

5 Years Ago Today, she died and I did not.

Jaded

Ever since I grew to adulthood,

I hear the echoes

of everyone who told me,

“That’s not real.

That’s a fantasy.”

Most of the time, I silence them

With a wave of the hand,

And maybe a deep breath,

But then,

Sometimes, a wave of grief comes,

My heart begins to ask,

“Were they right?

Does God give us dreams to take them away?

Does He dangle hopes of a beautiful future,

Just to laugh when you are in pain?

There are times in my life when I believe them,

When the hope that God is listening grows as faint as a fading heartbeat,

The ache swells until my chest begins to cave into itself.

I cease to breathe in in terror of reality,

I force myself to breathe and anger overtakes me that God has turned His back.

But He hasn’t turned His back.

He is here when hundreds have told me He doesn’t hear me.

He is waiting for me when I can hear Him through the despair.

He hears me when I cry out in the pain of the skepticism that is our world.

Cast behind you the words of those who condemn you for belief in hope.

Cast behind you the belief that grief will win.

Cast behind you the grief that God doesn’t hear you,

And doesn’t love the real you.

There is a place for you.

Just because you haven’t found it doesn’t mean you won’t.

Use your wounds to heal others until you escape the chains,

And then free the slaves.

Sometimes God answers no, but not when it’s His promises to you.

If you are called to something, He will bring you to it somehow, I believe.

I believe.

I believe.

I believe.

Even here in the darkness.

I believe.

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.

Walls: Start with Love

Lately, I keep finding things that people say are rules or how things should be that are hard for me because I have walls up because of things that have happened to me. I learned this because I read a blog post about giving God our pain, and as I have been offering up my hurt to Him, God has repeatedly comforted me, and then shown me where my pain is making something I have learned impossible to understand.
This lent, I went to confession shaking and consumed with guilt and shame. The priest condemned me and even maybe mocked me, and it made it even worse. When I came out of confession though, “Reckless Love” was playing and it was as if God was telling me, “That’s not how I feel about you, I love you. I love you. I love you.” That gave me the courage to pray with some people who were there, and they prayed through my fear and pain with me. Only after their prayer, and God’s reassurance was I able to see that the sins I was accusing myself of were not sins, they were barely even mistakes. I felt like the most evil horrible person in the world, when in reality, I am just going through some things that make it really hard to keep up with doing everything.
The most intense example though, is seeing how much of my anger and hurt at the Church, and resentment of her teachings, came from my pain from being pregnant with and losing my first little girl. I was not treated well by the Church when I lost her. I was snubbed because groups thought I used birth control. I couldn’t bear being in Church and hearing the litanies of how holy people were if they had a ton of children, I was looked down on because I didn’t want to try again.
At the same time, resentments started to build in me against the Church. Pregnancy was my worst nightmare, and the Church demanded that women be pro-life. I was so angry about it. I felt like a baby-making machine, and if I was not making babies, I had no worth, not only that, but I felt punished by all of these Church rules that kept coming up to rule over my married life that was already hurting enough. I had experienced a loss I could not bear, and instead of being given comfort, I was given judgement. I was lost, and I was condemned, not loved. I wanted to hate the Church, I wanted to hate children, I wanted to hate God. Instead, I subconsciously put up walls to protect myself, and I waited to deal with what I was feeling until I felt like I could handle it.
That is not what the Church is supposed to be. No one should ever feel condemned or abandoned when they come into Church, let alone cry when they feel like they have to go to Church because it is the most painful place to be in the entire world. The Church should be a place where we have an encounter with the living Christ, where people pray for healing for us, where people embrace us in our struggles, and help and heal us. There are places where the Church is that way, but it is far from universally that way, and even in the Churches that are that way, it is easy to get missed if you are not good at saying what you need, or don’t know the right person to talk to.
I don’t know all of the answers in a practical way for these problems, but I do know that Love is the only thing that will change any of it. Everyone needs to stop fighting each other about rules and regulations, and LOVE each other. Only when I felt loved did my walls start to drop enough that I could understand anything I was learning. Only when we start to love will we be able to heal the crisis of pain that our world is consumed by.

Embrace Your Cross

“Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabbactani
My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?”

My God, My God, why did you abandon me?

I gave You everything. No matter how hard everything was.

I gave You my childhood. I gave you the feeling of being invincible that I never got to feel.

I gave You my obedience that destroyed my dreams, and my spirit for years.

I gave you myself, no matter how bad it got, and it got bad.

No matter how much I give, you always ask more.

How could you ask of me my child?

I was faithful.

I was strong.

I followed You.

What could I have done to deserve losing her?

I wrestle with any imperfection in my life before that moment.

Is this why He took her away? Was it this fight? Was it this day of work? Was it the juice I drank? Was it that I wasn’t healthy enough? Is it because I didn’t do something?

What did I do?

I thought I was following You.

What did I do? I never said I was perfect, but what did I do that was so bad that You would give me hopes and dreams I never thought I even had only to destroy them immediately after?

I can’t stand confession now, because I don’t know what my cardinal sin was.

My entire life I was afraid I was evil, and You hated me.

Do you?

Why?

What did I do?

Was it the moment that I was so afraid about the money that for a split second I wanted an abortion? I never meant to think that thought. I never wanted to lose her. I was just scared. I loved her.

Was I not motherly enough? Do I not have what it takes to be a good mother? If that’s why, am I good enough now? Please don’t take away the babies I have now. I love them. Please don’t take them away.

Why would you do this to me?

I was faithful through horrors that only You understand, and You gave me more.

“When will you make it end?”

I keep hearing you say, “when I am finished,” but God, finished with what? Is my suffering not over yet? Do you hate me so much that You created me only to hurt me?

Are some people just meant to be tortured by you, and some are just loved?

Do You know what it took me to stay alive because You said so? Because You would hate me if I didn’t? Do you know what it took me to cause pain to the most important person in my life, because my parents told me to, and you said to obey them? Do you know how much it hurt, and hurts, to have lost the life that I see in others, before mine even began? Do you know how much it hurts to hope when some dreams can never be fulfilled?

How do you even manage to grieve what is lost, when no one would understand?

I lost my wedding to the kindness I thought you asked of me. I lost my dreams to the curse of the ones you gave me. I lost my sense of self over and over and over and over and over to the One you entrusted me to. I lost my hope that You might love me.

I lost my dream of a mother who supports me and my dreams unconditionally because she believes in me and loves me, before I could even dream it. I lost my dream of a father I could trust to hold me when I cried. I lost my dream of even knowing my father at all, and the dream of having a better one too. I lost my dream of someone seeing me in pain and holding me. I even lost my dream of a husband who would hold me when I cried, what a cruel joke that is. He is amazing and healing and emotional, but I have to ask him to hold me when I cry.

I can’t bear this. It’s too much. It hurts too much for the human heart to bear. It is too much loss, too much pain, too much grief, just too much. I can’t breathe when I can feel the loss. The years and years of loss. The knowledge that I am not alone in the loss. I can’t breathe.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” CS Lewis

I had locked it up, God. You know how completely I had shut myself off.

I asked you for this. I asked you to heal my “dry bones.”

Don’t stop. Make me feel again. Make me ME again. Don’t let me close up again, I can feel my body trying to. I keep catching myself holding my breath and thrusting my tongue into the roof of my mouth to block whatever is happening in me. My body is terrified. My heart cries out to you, Oh God. Oh God, Oh God, why have you abandoned me? Oh God, Oh God, why have you abandoned me? Oh God, Oh God, why have you abandoned me?

The fear might be the worst part for me.

The fear that since You have done it before, You will do it again.

Mother Teresa felt abandoned by You for FIFTY years. How could you?

Would you do that to me?

If You did that to her, would you do that to me?

Would you abandon me for that long?

When you protect me, I am afraid You will stop, because You stopped.

When you lead me, I am afraid there is only worse pain ahead.

Miscarriage taught me how little I know of pain.

Childbirth taught me it can get even worse. Childbirth taught me pain can get so bad, that you think you are going to die, and you really don’t care anymore. It would be better than living this moment.

Motherhood has taught me to scream.

I am losing my joy to my attempts not to feel.

I am losing my joy to every moment I hold my breath so I can’t feel the hurt.

I am losing my joy to every moment I am so consumed by despair that I can’t convince myself to try anymore.

I am losing my joy to everything I already lost, and my fear of what I am going to lose.

 

“There are things we can do
But from the things that work there are only two
And from the two that we choose to do
Peace will win and fear will lose
It is faith and there’s sleep
We need to pick one please because
Faith is to be awake
And to be awake is for us to think
And for us to think is to be alive
And I will try with every rhyme
To come across like I am dying
To let you know you need to try to think”

God, it hurts so much to think. It hurts so much to be as me. I want to be me.

Redeem me here. Redeem me in the pain that goes so deep it never ends. Redeem me in this fear that You are not for me, You are against me.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”

But if God is against us?

For David and Karly <3

She did not look like anyone I had seen before. There was a red shape on her face that terrified me. I thought then that it was because I thought she was ugly, and I was so ashamed that I never talked to her. I think now, that it was because it scared me. I didn’t know what could cause something like that and I was selfishly afraid it could happen to me too if it happened to her. I think I was also afraid of what caused it. I was afraid she had gone through something really painful. I was afraid of the possibility that kids may have made fun of her. I was afraid to make it worse, and to be a part of her pain that was unimaginable to me. So I never talked to her.

Still, she was a sun-kissed beauty, radiant with love and affection. I will never forget the image of her laughing sweetly on the handlebars of David’s bike. Her hair was iconically hers, the shape of it was completely unique to her. It was blonde and brown at the same time, and the humidity frizzed it, but just enough to make it come alive. Her head tilted to her left shoulder as she balanced on the hard metal beam, clutching the handlebars so hard that her shoulders rose inwards and up to her chin. Her 50’s style skirt billowed around them, and yet remained perfectly tucked around her legs. It was khaki, and the fashion police inside of me couldn’t stand that, but they were happy.

He was just beside and behind her, as he always was. His olive skin was covered by a brown beard and shaggy haircut. He looked like an underdone college professor, if they grew like trees looking like themselves from the very beginning, complete with rimless glasses. At the same time, he glowed with the glee of a twelve year old boy, effusive with Karly’s presence. She was everything he needed, and everyone could see it.

I never talked to them, but I watched their sweet romance unfold with awe. They were so simply beautiful and happy, in a way that I had never been, and really could not understand. She was blissful when he picked her up with a rose from class. The night they became engaged their fingers intertwined and the twist of their hands around each other pushed their shoulders awkwardly into each other, but it did not matter. They were joy and romance incarnate.

Whenever I see scenes from Roman Holiday I think of them, but there was an innocence to them that surpassed even Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. There was this classic ordinary-ness that made their love real, but I never knew any of the flaws or silly arguments that everyone has, so they were still perfect. I still don’t fully understand my own fear of them.

Many years later, I found out that David had gotten sick. What seemed like no time at all later, I found out Karly was too. I was so upset, but I ignored it, and I went on with my life. Occasionally, I saw their posts, and everytime I saw them, I would want to cry for what they were going through, but I would close the page, so that I couldn’t see. I told myself I was protecting myself, which I was, but I was denying myself the power of praying for them, of hearing their beautiful story, of watching their beautiful life.

They have four kids now, who are all so beautiful and perfect. They have been joyful through so much suffering I cannot even fathom how they are doing it, if not for some miracle from heaven. This week, David died.

I am so angry for them.

I am so angry that Karly has lost him.

I remember the pain when I lost Emma. The moment when I felt a pain in my heart so intense that I thought I would stop breathing, or worse that I somehow would cease to exist. What was even worse was the pain of being alive with that pain in my heart, existing while my heart exploded out of my body in an ache that choked my lungs.

I know what it feels like to lose someone. I can’t stand that they are going through this.

This morning, I was doing dishes and making pancakes, and my body started to slam pots and pans, throw things roughly into the trash, and it wanted to scream and break every piece of glass in the house. I thought I was angry because my husband is struggling with biology, and I’m living with my parents, and I don’t have a car, and I’m going through a lot. So I went outside. I exploded out the door with fury, as if going outside would somehow free me from the anger igniting inside of me, fully expecting to rage to God about what’s going on in my own life. Instead, my rage was for them.

I started muttering underneath my breath, trying to appear sane, because I do not live in the middle of nowhere anymore, and there are people everywhere. Thankfully, none outside, so I could somewhat pretend to be alone, but anyone could have been watching, and that’s embarrassing, but oh well.

“I cannot believe you would do this to her…
She did nothing but follow you!
Why did he die?
Why him?
They did nothing wrong!
They were so beautiful!
They were so kind!
They never hurt anyone!
How could you do this to them?
Haven’t they suffered enough?
I can’t believe we live in a world that they could suffer so much.
What kind of a world have you created?
What kind of monster creates people just to torture them for their entire lives?
Why would you create us just to watch us burn?
How could you do this to her?
She has 4 kids.
She needs him.
They love each other.”

It didn’t stop there. I raged through falling snow and sobbed for them. I hid behind the pool house, and let my own heart bleed for her, and I prayed. I prayed that everything I am suffering right now would heal her heart so she would never feel what I felt when Emma died. I begged God to take that pain from her. I screamed at Him about letting that pain exist. I cried for her, I cried for me, I cried for my children, my parents, my husband, my friends, my neighbors, my people, acquaintances I have read about on Facebook that are just trying to get ahead.

“What the Hell, God?”

Then, like a flash in my head, I remembered writing about Shonda Rhimes using Grey’s Anatomy to comfort people, and I knew my purpose.

See, when I was a kid, I would grieve like this for others, but I slowly closed myself off. I told myself that I could not survive with everyone else’s pain and my own. I had to shut off everyone else’s so I could just feel mine. Closing off emotions doesn’t mean they aren’t there though, so everything that happened to me hurt worse than it would have because it was a symbol of all the pain I was ignoring. I became bitter and angry, and I didn’t help people anymore. It hurt too much. I felt stupid for bawling at funerals of people I barely knew, so I controlled my emotions.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

My heart of stone is broken. I worked so hard to create it, to hide who I really am, to pretend I am not meant to be there for others, to pretend it wasn’t my whole purpose in existing. It wasn’t my fault. I was a kid, and that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. My writing was given to me for a reason. My writing was given to me so that with every word I could take away a little bit of someone’s pain. It was given to me, as a gift, for the body of Christ, which is everyone on earth. Every. Single. Person. No. Matter. What.

If I could, I would go back in time and I would touch young Adolf Hitler. I would hold him, and tell him everything is going to be okay one day.

If I could, I would hold every single one of you who have ever thought about suicide, and I would tell you to wait. I would tell you to stay here, don’t leave us, you don’t know who is out there right now crying for you.

If I could, I would hold you as you cried, and I would tell you that God does love us, and there is goodness in this world. Sometimes, even I don’t believe it, but I can hold you until we can see it again.

We are all struggling. “We are all in this together,” High School Musical lyrics in the face of evil, screaming back against the night. We will not let it overtake us.

I am here for you. I do not have much to offer, everytime I try to do something for someone it falls apart, but I will sit here with you in your pain, and I will pray, and I will offer my tears for you, and I will touch your heart however I can. I will fail, and I will miss what you need me to say, and I will say the wrong thing, but let every word I say be a comfort to you anyway. It’s not enough, but please accept my presence with you, my love for you. You are not alone.

Karly, I am praying for you now, and I always will. My entire life I will remember you and David as the beautiful couple who suffered unimaginable pain and did the best they possibly could with every day they were given. I will think of you for years to come, and I will pray for you, and I will offer my struggles for you. I would move heaven and earth for you if I could take away the pain you are feeling right now, but I can’t, so let me offer you this. You are not alone, and you will never be alone.

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

An Impossible Task

Babies are born when a mommy and daddy love each other,
And the stars all align,
And no one gets sick,
And all the genes add up correctly,
And the mother is perfectly still,
But not so perfectly still that the baby dies,
And if the mothers doesn’t take hot baths,
But takes warm baths,
And if the mother doesn’t drink,
But maybe if she drinks just a little red wine,
And if all the mothers hormones are perfectly balanced,
In a world that jacks up your hormones with everything you eat,
Milk, GMO anything, lunchmeat is bad, some veggies are bad
Which ones depends on who you talk to,
Doctors don’t really want you having babies either,
So it’s not like they get it.
Having babies is easy,
Just natural old childbirth.

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