the thing about grief. For the majority of this year, I have tried to explain how I’m feeling. A lot of people have asked me, “how are you?” And my lips are prepared to tell a lie that has come so easily over the last two years. A few years ago, when I was having a hard time, I started a blog. I had 1000s of followers, watching and reading my life intimately. And when I faced great trauma, I used my writing as an outlet to process all of my thoughts and feelings so I wouldn’t drown in overwhelming pain. Though I am grateful for the resource, it also became painful. My life, which I had desired to keep as an open book, quickly became a novel for the critiques of the masses. I felt open and vulnerable, which I thought was a good thing, but it had come back to bite me in the ass.
As the years have progressed, I have wrestled with how open I should or shouldn’t be, wanting to invite people in, but also wanting to protect myself from others motives. It wasn’t long before I became really good at over sharing, and I spent more time conseling and apologizing to people for my experiences than talking and processing through for my own good.
Fast forward to last year. I have always been pretty self destructive, ready to go into spontaneous combustion, waking up in the mornings asking God if today would be the day I could finally die. Drinking too much and hanging out with the wrong people. Two years ago I became friends with the wrong kind of people, and last year I was made aware of how wrong they were. That same day I started my half sleeve, looking for something to ease the pain of hurt that I hadn’t quiet figured out. A few weeks after, I spoke with a friend, and what should have been a moment of release and healing became a moment of shame beyond anything I’d ever experienced before.
Thought that conversation has since been clarified, the remnants of it have lingered. Last year was my most self destructive year since 2012. I was plummeting quickly, making decisions that I don’t even want to speak of. I was in a fury of agony, careless with my life, done with everything. And then, January brought a beacon of hope. For the last 10 months I have battled with sorrow and shame that feel like a riptide, dragging me below the surface, into the dark deep. And the only headstrong decision I made at the beginning of the year was, that no matter what happened, I wouldn’t give up, I wouldn’t quit, and I wouldn’t back down in the face of adversity.
I don’t have a language for my grief. I don’t have a proper way to say it where it doesn’t sound extremely offensive. I don’t have words for the sleepless, tear filled nights, the nightmares and consistent pain I feel in my body, on my skin. The nonstop throwing up and the headaches and vertigo that come when I’m most upset. More than anything this year, I’ve wanted to package my grief in a neatly, so that when I felt depression and anxiety consuming me, I’d have a nice way to present it so that no one felt overwhelmed by the words that I use. But it’s not in a neat. It’s a storm, brewing to fever pitch, and if I slow down too much, the clouds get darker and the thunder cracks and I hide within myself. So I tuck it away and bring it to the feet of Jesus. I sing because that’s what I know how to do.
I don’t have a language for grief. I more than anything want to. I’ve fallen somewhere in the cracks between the Pentecostals telling me to repent and I shall be healed. Pray and I shall be delivered from my demons. Reformed Christians telling me that trials and tribulations do come, but wait till Heaven because things will be made right then, but maybe not now. To the world, offering me a place to lay victim to my experiences and build a huge wall of offense around me to protect myself from anyone who threatens my peace and safety. And I have tried all of these things, thinking maybe if I just try one, everything will be ok. But, everything is not ok. I have cracks and fissures at the core of my being and outside of the kindness, grace, and mercy of God, I feel ignorant as to this season of my life.
Grieving, trauma, disappointment, tragedy aren’t neat and pretty welcoming boxes, that come open and shut quietly, with a bright red ribbon that reminds one of Christmas. They are lonely without context, they are an innumerable amount of “I’m fine, how are yous.” More than anything I wish they could be beautiful. And more than anything I wish I had a language, or maybe just a relatable ear to hear what’s actually inside of me, where I don’t feel the need to utter the same “I’m fine life.” I always want to point my posts back to God, remind myself and readers that He is good, and He is faithful. My world doesn’t make sense right now, and the wounds are too fresh to be touched let alone gazed upon by anyone that doesn’t quiet understand. I’m awkward in conversations, I feel myself stuttering and overthinking every interaction. Most of the time I’d rather not talk, but somewhere between my anxiousness and people pleasing, a whole train wreck of words spill out.
The thing about grief is that everyone experiences it in their life, no matter what. It’s not beautiful, it’s trying. It’s messy and scary and lonely. It strengthens our resolve, and builds deeper wells of hope that maybe couldn’t have been created in any other place. And some people need days, some need weeks, months, years or even up to eternity. I don’t have a language for grief, but fortunately, I don’t have to.
“You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:8-11