The Thing About Grief..

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

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The Thing About Grief..

Waiting Out The Storm

It’s been a quiet summer on the writing front, as if all of my creative juices sputtered out to a halt like a car emptied of gas on the side of the road, and they are only now just picking up. Summer is over and fall is almost here; the time of year where everything inside of me comes alive. It’s been and interesting summer; processing grief, loneliness, changes, and hope deferred, whilst at the same time, entering new seasons, Heavens supply being multiplied in my life, a home found, and new friendships being made.

It’s interesting processing joy along side of sadness. I’ve always felt this impossible weight to try to be ok, and wanting to “count it all joy.” But instead of that, it became an uphill struggle, fighting for joy and peace, finding no joy in the process and shaking my head at God, sure that he had lost his frickin mind. Joy has never come easily for me, nor has optimism.

I’m finding myself in this place in my life where I don’t hide my face from grief, I don’t cover it up, I don’t pretend that it’s not there, but I also am learning to not let it consume me whilst I wait for breakthrough. It’s funny, in churches people want to pray things away, and if those things are not removed then you are either a) living in sin, or b) not in faith for healing therefore you will never be healed till your heart changes. But what if neither of the above are true? What if you are pressing in, not giving up, setting your sights higher and still not seeing a breakthrough- Then what?

I remember my first taste of depression and anxiety when I was in third grade. I didn’t know then, but it has been a battle I have faced for the majority of my life. And for a time, a lot of it was intensified because I didn’t know how to let go of pain. I clasped on to it and all of it’s lies, letting heartache define me rather than teach me. Now, I’m not sure why it lingers. I’ve been prayed for, had hands laid on me for deliverance, oil put on me, chastised, condemned, and corrected.

But it’s wild, because in the midst of it all, while people are giving me their solutions for how to fix my heart problems, God Fathers me through it all. Through my anger and unbelief towards him, through my frustration with Christians not loving, just yelling. Through my tear filled nights where I feel like every breath has been knocked out of me and I could very well die. I know the bible says that Jesus is acquainted with our grief, and for some reason that doesn’t really permeate my brain and it doesn’t comfort me. But what does comfort me is the fact that He holds me through it all. even when I don’t want help and I don’t want to be held.

I’ve received so many solutions from people, and have asked God for grace and humility to receive and be taught by them. But what I haven’t received, outside of Jesus, is someone who doesn’t get tired of me walking through this. He doesn’t give up, he doesn’t quit. He doesn’t leave when I get pissed and want to end my life. He fathers me through it. I long for answers, and more than that I long for healing and freedom. But moreover, I’m grateful that while it has not arrived yet, Jesus is still teaching, leading, and loving me through it all. And that has meant more than any possible solution that has been brought to me.

“Cheer up, don’t be afraid. For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you.” Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord himself exulting over you in happy song. “I have gathered your wounded and taken away your reproach. And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones, and bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory to my former exiles, mocked and shamed.” Zephaniah 3:16-18

Waiting Out The Storm

Hot Pink Fingernails

2017, why have you been so discouraging. This has been a challenging year in so many different ways. And I’ve decided, resolved within myself, not to give up when things get hard. And it’s so unfair because this year has been so hard. Honestly it’s been like I’ve been on the receiving end of an electric shock, and I don’t think God is trying to zap the hope out of me but honestly my brain is so fried and I am emotionally exhausted.

At the beginning of the year I made resolutions, which isn’t something I do. But I made them with the hope of seeing God come through and believing that He is good. And the first month I met someone who blessed me above and beyond and paid for $135.00 worth of bills. I was so blessed and grateful and believed that Jesus was preparing me for a year of a new perspective on the world and my version of hope. I left all the kink stuff, and committed myself to Him.

Since January, I’ve been so misunderstood and accused by people who are christians. I’ve been grieving trauma from last year that I haven’t even had a chance to work through. My grandfather passed and a month and a half after Pierce passed. The people I’ve worked for have hurt me and fallen short on their commitments putting me between a rock and a hard place. I have family stuff that’s awful and not mine to talk about. I have bills that I need to pay and can’t. We are movsing and I am exhausted. I haven’t been sleeping well.

I’m not making a list to say people should feel badly for me. Empathy is helpful, sorrow is not. But y’all, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t exhausted. I thought Dad said this would be a year of breakthrough and vision and hope. And I’m finding that almost 7 months in, it has felt like the exact opposite.

Today I got MORE tough news lol. I was literally laughing at this point- amazed that my life could be going so wrong when all I want to do is follow Jesus. I was driving home, fully aware of the details of a situation before they were brought to me. I was crying, then laughing, laughing, then cussing, then repenting. I didn’t think anything else this year could go less in my favor than it already had.

I finally arrived home, sat on the couch, gritted my teeth through a tough conversation with someone I care about but was also bringing me not super great news. Once off of the phone, I shook my head, cried and then laughed, made my way upstairs, closed my bedroom door, locked it and snuggled in bed as I shared with my friends the news and tried to grit my teeth through their shocked responses. After a few minutes I made my way back downstairs, and grabbed some nail polish and the buffer and cuticle removed. I wanted to paint my nails black, because it’s my favorite color, but there was also hot pink in the box. I stared at the two colors and frowned. And in that moment I felt like I heard the Lord say (though idunno cause it seems like I’ve been off all year) that I shouldn’t wear the black nail polish because I’m not in a hopeless situation. I rolled my eyes and poured as I grabbed the pink and just shook my head.

I have felt like a joke this year. My life is a joke. I didn’t have much dignity and now it’s been wiped out with a flood. I didn’t have much vision for my life but I had was dashed in a few seconds. I didn’t have much hope, but I placed the little I had in Jesus.

so I painted my nails pink. Because today [expletives] Sucked. But at some point this will allllll turn around? Or Jesus isn’t real? Lol not ready to give that one up 🤷🏾‍♀️

Hot Pink Fingernails

December Drive (december, 2016)

A week before Christmas and I find myself snuggled on the couch next to my roomie, stuck in the house due to a snow and ice storm the night before. I haven’t written much this month as I haven’t really known what to say. I feel like I’m in a loop of the unknown and I don’t know where I am going or exactly what I am doing. My constant sickness let up for about a week or two and that was an awesome reprieve, though that very week I managed to fracture my foot and then catch a cold.

December.

December Drive (december, 2016)

Words Unspoken… (Valentines Day 2017)

I haven’t written in a while, mostly because my blogging became journaling and I needed a different outlet to do some deeper though processing. At the beginning of February I began watching Kinsley. Kinsley is an adorable 3 year old girl with sass for days. I’ve got little to no maternal desire to have my own kids, but I do enjoy watching kids. The last month and a half has been a journey of learning who I am, what i believe, and what is and isn’t truth. In the process I’ve felt like my insides are being pulled to the outside and laid upon a table and cleaned. That’s a really gross picture but it’s reality.

While watching Kinsley I’ve learned a lot about myself as well as about my perception of who God is. When Kins gets upset, she throws tantrums. I mean she screams and yells and loses her shit. She doesn’t mean to, but she doesn’t know how to communicate and so she just loses it. In the same way, I stuff all of my emotions to the pits of my heart and deal with them by myself. In the process, I’ve become emotionally immature and unable to think through my own feelings and thoughts without getting caught up in the whirlwind that is my own being. I hate confrontation because I don’t know how to communicate what I am feeling. I don’t know how to tell someone that I am hurting.

When I was a kid, we weren’t allowed to argue with mom and dad. We weren’t allowed to talk back or really even talk when we were in trouble. It was now listening time, and you were expected to answer the questions that you were asked. When I was asked these questions I was consumed with anxiety. I immediately retracted and believed that my emotions weren’t important. That the things I was feeling weren’t important. This has easily transferred into my adulthood, because even when i do know what I am feeling I am too scared to say it. I feel as if I say that what I am saying is wrong or could be perceived as not listening, so I tend to cower back and not say what I am thinking which catapults me into self destructive behaviour.

All this to say- even though looking from this side of things it feels scary and gross to learn all of these things about myself, it’s also relieving to know these things about myself. It brings clarity to different aspects of my life, different destructive ways and patterns that I have lived in. I’ve been horrible at communicating to people my feelings and even worse at communicating to God how I feel, or even receiving his heart towards me because I believed that all I would get is a reprimand.

But happy valentines day to me, because today I know that He is listening, and He does care and I and my thoughts are so so so important to Him. And that is one of the best things I could ask for.

Words Unspoken… (Valentines Day 2017)

Last Night (From June 3, 2017)

Last night a good friend died. He was like a little brother to me. He had a way of walking in to the room and lighting it up. He liked to be the center of attention. He was young and craved a love that no one could give him. When i met him he had just moved out of his parents house. He told me that didn’t have a good relationship with his dad, and his sister didn’t invite him to her wedding. I tried to love pierce the best I could, but I’m sure I didn’t know how the way he needed. My heart hurts so much.

Last Night (From June 3, 2017)

Pierce

Tonight was the vigil and in less than 10 hours I’ll be sitting at your funeral.
Pierce, it’s weird being in a room of crying people who miss you.
Everyone leaning into the others embrace as they process that you’re gone.
Everyone talking about you and how well they knew you.

It’s hard to grieve in a room of crying people.
I hold myself together to ensure that they will be ok and that they have a shoulder to lean on.
But Pierce, when I’m at home, the home you visited often, I start to fall apart.
I hear the echo of your laughter dancing down the hall.
I hear your voice when you talked and bragged about all the things you’ve done.
I feel you.

In my anxiety tonight I felt like I couldn’t breathe…
Walking down the line, greeting your family…
Finally reaching your mom and dad at the end. My heart sank.
I couldn’t even look at the casket.
I knew if I looked inside it wouldn’t be you.
It wouldn’t be little Pierce.
And as I walked past not daring to look in, I started to hyperventilate,
I felt like the world was closing in on me.
I couldn’t breathe even a little. I wanted to hide.
I walked outside and hid behind a wall just craving to catch my breath.
My hands were shaking.
And my shoulders and neck get tense every time I start to think about the fact that you’re never coming back.

I don’t want tomorrow to come.
I don’t think I’m ready to accept that you’re gone.
Your body, going into the ground- decomposing…
That’s not the way it’s supposed to happen.
That’s not the way my friends die.

Pierce what are we supposed to do.
Are we, our little family that you left behind, going to be ok.
You wouldn’t believe it but J and J both got in car wrecks on the way to the area for our funeral that is happening because of a car wreck.
I feel sick Pierce. And in a group of people I’ll hold it together.
But the night time is hard and I just find myself once again wishing that you were here.
You were my little brother and you were my friend.
And I just don’t know what to do, knowing I won’t see you till Heaven.

Pierce