Today I woke up with an ache in my chest. I have been wandering around in a daze for so long that I’m not even sure how to label this feeling: This yearning, hopeful heartache that makes me excited, terrified, sad and angry all at once.
What do I do with it? I write. I bleed the feelings out through ink on paper. I capture and release them, instead of fighting to control them.
I struggle to find the balance between controlling things and just not caring about them. I want all or nothing. Perfection or disaster. I want my life to be the way it “should” be. If it can’t be that way, I just want to buy a bottle of tequila for dinner… I want a man in my bed… I want the power and the pride that comes from eating less and less. I want to throw it all away. I want oblivion.
But as great as it all sounds in the moment, I know how it ends. I’ve stumbled down that path many times. And it always leaves me with is the same dull heartache… with pain… with tears… with longing for more.
And I’m reminded God is the one real source of hope and joy and peace:
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I wish I had a great reason for why I’ve been procrastinating when it comes to blogging lately…that I had some amazing story about where I’ve been. But the truth is, I’ve been here. I’ve been hiding.
My default setting is black and white. If it’s not good, it’s bad. It’s either right or wrong. But I’m trying to learn there is room for grey. That things don’t always fit in a perfect little checkbox, and that’s ok. Sometimes things are neither good or bad, they just are.
It’s not easy. There are days (and weeks and months and even years) I avoid things entirely rather than admitting to myself they are anything but perfect. There are times when it feels like everything is just plain wrong. And there are the moments when I find myself searching for the middle, but have no idea what it even looks like. (Which frustrates me because I SHOULD know, I’m a smart girl. Which makes me feel bad because the whole point is to not judge things as good or bad. Which means I am failing at not judging. And on and on, in a never-ending cycle.)
So I have been keeping myself busy for the last couple of weeks in order to avoid thinking and the unpleasant, not-so-perfect feelings it brings. Which is why I am exhausted from searching for a dress to wear to a wedding on Saturday when I ALREADY BOUGHT THE PERFECT DRESS TWO MONTHS AGO. But there could be a more perfect one out there… and if not, there might still be better shoes than the ones in my closet, or jewelry that I won’t even realize I need until I see it…
Was this a good or bad use of my time? Neither, it’s just how I chose to spend it. (Does anyone actually believe that though? Is it only me fighting an eye roll?) I often explain to my counselor that this is much healthier than my old methods of coping, like doing shots of vodka. She never really seems convinced that it’s a solution. And I guess there are more helpful, less exhausting ways to deal with my feelings…like actually feeling them. Like sitting with them, even though it’s uncomfortable. Like bringing them to God and trusting Him to walk me through it, rather than around it.
So here I am, back where I left off. Ready to stop hiding and keep fighting…not to be perfect, but to be real. To be who God made me.
I don’t hide my past, but I certainly never go out of my way to tell people about it. But I shared my last post on Facebook…and now it feels like everyone knows. I was struggling to put this feeling into words until I came across the daily post prompt for today: exposed.
It’s a hard feeling to sit with: even though I have come to peace with my past, others may struggle with it. They might not understand. They might judge. They might see me differently.
But it’s also freeing. And kind of beautiful. They have caught a glimpse of who I am behind the fake smiles and false bravado. And the world did not end. Apparently they already understood I’m not perfect. Who knew?
So… I have a blog. My inner perfectionist is a bit terrified. I’ve never pictured myself as one of those amazing bloggers. (You know, the ones who have their life so together that they not only have great stories and insight to share, but somehow also think to document the event in photos WHILE it’s happening. Or maybe a photographer follows them around all day.) Below is a picture of how my day started, and will likely continue.
I’ve never wanted to let people in to the messy parts of my life. But lately I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the masks we wear and the roles we play. When did it stop being okay to be the person God made us to be? I have this niggling feeling that just won’t go away: Maybe the beauty of our lives is in the struggle. Maybe it lies in our brokenness and God’s redeeming grace.
Maybe there are more options than “perfect” or “fail”. Maybe we need to be real. Maybe we need to spend more time being honest about where we’re at, and less time waiting for a Pinterest-perfect moment to share. And that I can do.