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.

Praying for your Husband

I am constantly hearing women ask, “How do I get my husband to do Dave Ramsey too? I’m on bored, but he is not.” I have so been there. I was so frustrated with my husband for years that I couldn’t convince him, and he wouldn’t hear me. We tried to do it once, but he just got frustrated with how preachy Dave Ramsey can be and wouldn’t finish it with me. I was patient with him about it, but it was really hard for me.

Then this year, I was incredibly stressed and despairing about money. Every time I talked to Patrick, I felt like he wasn’t hearing me. He would tell me everything was fine, or he would just get frustrated with me, and I would just get more frustrated with him. Out of nowhere, I found this prayer that I still pray today:

http://thywordisalamptomyfeet.blogspot.com/2013/06/prayer-for-my-husbands-work-finances.html?m=1

It is a prayer for my husbands work and finances, and immediately I started to see a difference in him. Just a few days later we got into the worst money fight we had ever had. We live with my parents, so there was that cherry on top too. At the end of it, I was just exhausted and I said, “Look, if we don’t do Dave Ramsey, I don’t think we are going to make it.” Miraculously, he said ok.

It hasn’t been sweet sailing the whole way, baby steps 1 and 2 are not easy at all, and staying on the path when you are low income is exhausting sometimes, but we are making progress, and our relationship is getting better, and we are becoming better people through the struggle we are facing, instead of letting our lives fall apart while we do nothing about it.

I still say this prayer as often as I can, I try to remember to say it every day when I can, because it really lifts both of us up and we can feel the grace from it, especially with financial worries. I am so thankful for this prayer, and for all the answers we have received through it.

Dear my love,

I am sitting up tonight writing a letter to you because you have to sleep sometime! I can’t expect you to stay awake all the time, even if I wish we could because I cannot possibly get enough time with you. I still can’t believe by the way how strongly I feel that way-I really and honestly wish I could spend every second with you, not every free second. Sometimes I wish I could quit my job completely because every once in a while it takes me away from you, and I really really really really need you.

I’m sorry we don’t always get the chance to really talk. You’re right-we haven’t done that much lately. We have done so much movie watching and resting, that we haven’t invested in each other. Not really. And I am sorry for that. I feel that I have let you down a bit in that way because I have been so stressed that I haven’t been really communicating with people. I am really having a hard time with all the changes and how stressful everything outside of us is. I am struggling with thinking everyone hates me, I can visualize their their intensely vicious thoughts about me. I fear being around them because I don’t know how to speak anymore. And worst of all sometimes I don’t even know how to deal with everything because my body hurts from how much stress I don’t know what to do with. But I need you, and I need to always give you the time of day.

I really love you, not just because you are around, or because you are my friend. I love you because we really relate on a very deep level. I love you because we hear each other when we talk. I love you because you are my best friend and my lover. How could I forget that? How can I get so caught up in our fights and in our craziness that I can’t hear that we really just need to be with each other sometimes? How can I not remember that we promised to always rekindle our love? Please forgive me for letting myself drop the ball when I entered the three point line. I am going to try to be more attentive to you, and to let you do the same for me. Please hear me that I am struggling and help me to be there for you in yours.

I love you with a power and substance beyond anything I can even understand, and I refuse to ever lose you. I cannot wait to find out just how close we can be.

With love,

~Julia

Fire Within and Without

Maybe it’s a desire for the end of the surreal
A craving for something beyond
comprehension-to become real.

Maybe its a vindictive self abuse
A desire for a pain that speaks
To others and your crueller self

Maybe its a question of worthiness
Am I worthy to be worried
Only if its me too

Maybe it’s even worse
A desire for the attention to center on yourself
A narcissistic disease

Maybe that ‘s why the fire crawls
Into the heart and begs
That you ask for the end of your own

Destroy my property, Destroy my house
Only  because its my real-est fear.
Just do it, So it doesn’t hurt so bad 
When it’s over.

Flaming like the fire itself
This violent desire creeps inside the ribcage,
All to be done is beg God,
Please don’t listen to what I ask

Face The Red

Well, you know a problem has gotten bad when non-profit organizations are made in its honor….but this video is comforting, at least for me. There is something about art that levels the playing field. It reminds you that you are only human, suffering the same nightmares as everyone else, and somehow the monsters become less real.

Brainstorms

Well, now that the rant is off my chest, now I’ve got to get some ideas out so there can be some sort of resolution to the frustration.

Candlemaking
Poetry Writing
Painting
Cake and cupcake baking
Cooking
Consignment stores
Crocheting
Maurice’s
yoga
personal training

Red Letter Day

Well today was another red letter day. One of those where the terror slowly grows in your heart until you explode in tears and everyone starts telling you, “Hey it’s just life. This is how it goes. Because THAT is somewhat comforting. ….except it’s NOT. Hey it’s life. Well then life sucks. And the answer to that? Yeah it does. 

WHAT?!

How can someone look at life, say it sucks, and then be like, OK, let’s just live it. Again…what? My reaction is like, NO. That is not ok. There has to be a way to fix that. Except there isn’t. So we end up knowing life sucks and grinning and bearing it.

I don’t like it. 

 

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