Monday, August 14, 2017

Not for the Faint of Heart

Some people are afraid to be alone with their thoughts, afraid of what they might find in the dark places.  They’re afraid to face the pain and demons of their past, to hold the mirror and confront what lies behind and what lies ahead.  I’ve always celebrated the quiet times.  I thrive.  It’s been close to a year since I’ve put the pen to the paper (metaphorically) and alas, the time has come.

Fear not, dear friends, this is not a cry for help, just the honest musings of a girl unhinged. It’s time to tear down the walls and practice a bit of authenticity.  Some people are simply drawn to the beauty in the dark places and I have always fancied myself one of them.  I don’t long to dwell there, but appreciate the opportunity for growth that lies within.  I’m not the girl with a thousand Facebook friends, but the few friends I do have are there because we share a desire to scratch more than the surface, an understanding that we all fall short.  We have the intrinsic ability to extend a level of grace to each other not commonly found in this day and age.

Three people in the last week alluded to the fact that I have chosen to no longer walk the career path.  I took that as a sign.  Perhaps it’s time to explore what feeds my soul, the trappings that have greased the wheels thus far and where the path now finds me.  I’ve been fortunate and blessed enough to be home with the littles for 10 years now.  Oh that I could joyfully admit that I am a wife and mother fulfilled to the core!  Call it a midlife crisis or mere restlessness.  It almost pains me to admit that there is still a yearning, still a seed unplanted and in need of watering.  Please don’t judge me.  Being a mom is my greatest accomplishment to date and I would gladly trade all my wants, needs and desires for the sake of their happiness (insert literally any scene from Bad Moms here).  Yet it somehow seems not enough to still this wandering heart.  My greatest accomplishment falls painfully short and it literally destroys me to say that out loud.  My soul aches.  My spirit cries out for more.  

Let’s get the elephant out of the room straight away.  To say that I am distant in my faith would be the overstatement of the century.  Truth be told, forsaken is the only word that comes to mind.  No need to panic all my sweet Christian friends and family members - and definitely no need to try to fix me.  If you believe it as you say you do, God will make a way and will go after the one.  The Prodigal’s daughter will return in His timing.  But the journey finds me here and I’ve never been one to feign contentment.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I value honesty above all when it comes to my Abba Father.  Pure exhaustion has set in and this girl has finally reached her breaking point.  No longer do I have the desire to “cling to the truth,” to “walk the road less traveled,” or “store up my rewards in heaven.”  Truth be told, I’m spent and threw in the towel quite some time ago.  Again I say, don’t judge me.  I’m fairly certain my God can handle yet another rebellious tantrum with the grace and patience that I wish I could extend to myself.  Maybe I should start there.  

Why is it so difficult for some of us to love ourselves?  I am certain on levels beyond comprehension that it is my picture that appears beside the definition of self-loathing in the dictionary.  Why do I continue to tread water until I’m literally gasping for breath when I’m standing in the shallows and need only to touch the bottom?  How can others see the beauty in me when I can only see the deficiencies, limitations, shame and regret?  Why is it so easy to forgive the ones who paved the road I attempt to navigate and yet I cannot forgive myself or deem myself worthy of such grace?  Self-loathing can be a funny thing - a scary thing - and also a highly destructive thing.  I assigned myself an identity when I was a very young child in the throws of an alcoholic family.  I decided who I was to become and the storyline I would write for myself.  And I penned every moment as it unfolded - from looking for love in all the wrong places to repeating patterns I swore I would not.  I chose my truth and made the conscious decision to fit every event, moment, interaction and thought into that truth.  My truth?  That I am utterly and irrevocably unlovable, unworthy and beyond redemption.  

Sometimes I feel as if I’m watching myself flail around trying to surmount insurmountable obstacles.  I’m angry that I’m not one of those people who can use my adversity, rise above and emerge with a great story of redemption and glory - at least not yet.  I’m angry that I have been so “blessed” with the ability to see the imperfections, destructive cycles and dysfunction in my life, but cannot seem to break free.  I’m angry that the desire to be better, stronger and healthier is there, but the carrot is always dangling just out of reach.  I have become comfortably numb.

So I spent the day binge watching my top three faves.  Not much to be said about Reservoir Dogs other than it’s beyond amazing!!!  But there is no better flick to tap into the part of your soul that cries out for understanding than Almost Famous.  Maybe it’s just me, but music speaks louder in my time of need than any friend, lover or family member can.  Give me Zeppelin.  Give me Floyd.  Give me Free Bird when I’m running full speed ahead downhill trying to escape.  So I replaced half the songs on my iPod and went back to my roots. Call it a rebirth. There is something profoundly cathartic about rediscovering a song that carried you through a difficult time in your life, something that has the power to awaken a sleeping soul and brings with it the promise of better days ahead.  Almost Famous is pure gold.

But the movie that spoke loudest in the silence of this night was Into the Wild.  If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it.  Based on a true story, it chronicles the life of Christopher McCandless, son of a wealthy couple who trades all the niceties of his well-constructed life to follow the longing for something more, something truthful, something real, something born into the very core of his being and never fully satisfied by the successes and accolades accumulated in his short life.  He runs, escapes.  He leaves the comforts of home and takes to the open road to find his truth.  He meets people with stories, people with pasts and demons, people in need of truth.  He sheds the knowledge instilled in him, the traditions bestowed, the ideals handed down as indisputable gospel.  He trades it all to follow the yearning within.  And in his many encounters he meets a hippie wanderer, a mother separated from her son for one reason or another and offers his insights into her agony.  “Some people feel like they don’t deserve love.  They walk away quietly into empty spaces trying to close the gaps of the past.” I fancy myself a loner.  I am always walking away quietly into empty spaces.  Oddly, I can be the life of the party in any given moment and in the next feel a burning desire to run like hell and escape everyone and everything in my life.  In fact, the desire to get in my car and drive thousands of miles away on a minute-by-minute basis is so strong sometimes it’s all I can do to continue to inhale. I am the introverted extrovert, the dichotomy.  I am wild and tame all at once, brave and fearful, truthful to a fault yet unknown.  To say that I struggle with my demons would be a gross understatement.  I can name them, recognize them, see them coming long before they catch up with me and yet somehow cannot flee from them, defeat them, or overcome them.  Hence the current frustration and not-so-tame ambivalence.  

Time to stop circling and bring this baby in a for a landing!  How does one reconcile the wandering spirit within and the demands of family, faith and friendship?  Oh that I could hit the road and follow the voice inside that cries out for freedom and space, the voice that whispers, “Just go.  Leave it all behind and go.”  But we all know you cannot escape your own demons.  Wherever you go, there you are...right?  And so the adventure begins, right here at home, right here in the quiet of this dark night.  I’ve been asked why I don’t write every day and truth be told, I can only write when inspiration comes and so there’s that.  Tonight I have no burning words of wisdom, no hopeful diatribe and frankly no humor to lavish on all you night owls.  Tonight I write for me and hope you will indulge my selfishness.  We’re all on a journey, right?  Tonight mine begins.  In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness...give me truth.”  

No comments: