Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel.

I wish I could express to you clearly…

I wish I had the words. My life is brighter because of you. My heart is fuller because of you. My hope is greater because of you. My confidence has grown because of you. The way you smile Daniel lights up a whole room. The way you are so animated is like watching a show that I just can’t turn off. Your eyes light up and get crinkles around the corners when you’re really happy. You’re hands may be rough but I feel so so safe inside of them.

The way you kiss my cheek, my forehead is the same way you kiss my lips, like I am the most precious, valuable, beautiful girl, something i have never felt in my life. The way you cup my face when we are snuggling, makes me close my eyes, and I genuinely feel like nothing can get better than that moment.

You have opened your heart to me, let me in to see all the corridors of your heart. You let me brush off the cobwebs that hang on the ceiling rafters, even though sometimes it hurts, because you’ve understood the value of connection and intimacy, over the value of hiding in shame.

You gently ease your way into my heart, goofy laugh and bright eyes, weakening my defenses and every lie I’ve believed to push people away. You stay. You don’t quit. You don’t leave. You are resilience in its purest form that I have ever seen. You are happiness even when you’re a grouchy grandpa. You’ve grown in humility and taken a dagger to your pride and selfish ambition, to love both yourself and I better. You make me want to know the depths of God in a way that I’ve been struggling to see my entire life.

You make life so happy. You are the surprise that I never saw coming. You are the song that I didn’t know the words to until it began. You are the whisper on the wind that entices me into the quiet autumn days that i love so much. You are the heat of the sun that causes my skin to glow. You are the heartbeat, pounding in my ears, you are the you are colors that I refuse to wear but can’t stop staring at, taken by their beauty.

You are what I never thought would happen. You are everything and more. You are my love. And I am honoured to have everyday, today, tomorrow and forever by your side. I no longer wait for a moment to arrive. My everyday life is that moment that I never thought would come. You are my best friend. And you are the greatest gift that has ever been given to me. I love you.

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Dear Daniel

To My Younger Self

To my younger self, and for the young ones yet to come. There’s a lot of weight in being able to love yourself properly. There’s life changing, breathtaking, endless possibilities in allowing yourself to be wherever you’re at, 100% of the time. Even if that somewhere is in the floppy untied shoes of a pimple faced teenager, that feels so uncool next to all of the “actual cool kids”

We are young, and we are naive, and we are so desperate for independence. We are desperate to leap from the nest, with outstretched wings, ready to tell Mom and Dad off, believing we are ready to be on our own. But, I’d say to you, wait a little longer. Hold off just a little bit longer. Let your Mom kiss your head and hug you tightly. Let your Dad tease you about your silly teenage ways a little longer. And if your parent is a single parent, well, wait even longer. Ask your parents for help. They love you, and want the best for you, even if it’s not what you think is best. Because in no time at all, you will look back, and that time will be nothing but a vapor, a memory that you can’t even remember properly.

I look back at me as a kid, from what I can remember. And honestly, it kills me. I wish I knew that I was loved. I wish I knew that I didn’t think I had to sell myself short with the hope that someone would notice me. I wish I didn’t waste all of that time, lying to my parents faces, hiding behind fake smiles and a fake personality. I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself. I wish that I had learned that I was good enough so that I would value the friendships I had instead internally battling with anyone I thought was better than me.

I wish that I had known that it’s okay to speak up when someone hurts you. I wish that I had known that I had the ability to change the course of my life just by speaking up, becoming brave, simply by asking for help. I wish that I had known that if a man touches me “there or there” that I could tell an adult and I didn’t have to be scared and that I wouldn’t have to perpetuate a cycle of abuse for years, even into my adulthood.

I wish that I didn’t need more than two hands to count the number of friends who have died, living to fast, too eager to grow up that they forgot to slow down. I want to bring them into the future with me, but all I have are memories. Fragmented memories.

To the younger ones who are reading this: Slow down. The world will not go on without you. There is no one on this earth that is worth forsaking your happiness, dreams, hopes, and peace of mind for. There is no one that can love you better than your parents. And if you don’t have any, then think of someone who loves you most, even if that’s yourself. Life is so short. It’s a vapor. You, believe it or not, are not invincible. You can be broken. You can die. One day you will look back, and you will wish, just like me, that you had slowed down just a little more.

Enjoy each moment to the fullest. Hug your family members, whether they be blood or by choice, a little longer. A little tighter. More often. Forgive when you can, and always move forward. Don’t lose yourself trying to be someone else. You, are one of a kind. Infinitely valuable. Ridiculously talented. Exceptionally needed. Eternally wanted. You are bright, beautiful, and full of life.

To My Younger Self

Finding My Voice

The last few weeks I’ve been on edge, sitting on a cliff and holding my breath. Hyper conscious of every inhale and and shake, every nerve in my body. I’ve felt more happy than I thought possible and more sadness than I have before. It’s trying, feeling two polar opposite emotions at the same time.

I’ve started going to therapy. Which is great and awful simultaneously. Great because I’ve been able to untangle a lot of fine pieces of yarn in my thinking, but awful because I’m a whirlwind of emotions as I piece together my life and remember more and more things I’d like to forget.

Psychologist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified the way humans process grief in five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Now I did study Psychology in High School and College, but never truly caught on to the whole five stages. Mostly because, as I am now realizing, I opted to go straight for depression, not purposely. But I was trapped within events, and social pressures, and personal pressure, and people pleasing. I didn’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill. I didn’t want to be a burden, which left me alone to carry all of my burdens.

Therapy has encouraged and pushed me to find my way back to those very first stages of grief, and I’ve realized in my efforts to protect other people from what I was feeling, it only encouraged mindsets of isolation, fear and anxiety. My life had becoming a breeding ground for every negative, unresolved emotion and I didn’t even realize it.

I’ve tried in these last few weeks to begin taking steps to properly heal. And in the process I’ve encountered more disdain from loved ones. I’m not one for speaking up for myself, but for the first time in my life I tried, and I was immediately shut down. I’ve shame spiraling through loneliness, anger and confusion. It was as if as soon as I made a step to free myself from grief, I was met by a massive do not enter sign. This has taken a toll on me emotionally, and if you ask my boyfriend he’d tell you that I’m a glass bottle, ready to burst and shatter at annnyyyy moment. He says it’s a good thing, I’m not so sure.

Despite what has happened, I’ve decided to go ahead with being brave anyway. For years I have compromised my joy for the sake of protecting those that I love, in an effort to keep the peace and not “rock the boat”. And that’s great and all but it actually isn’t. For people who have experienced abuse and trauma, the most important thing to hold on to in that process is their voice. And I’ve allowed my voice to be the voice of reason for everyone but my self. I made concessions to others’ fears and experiences as if I had none of my own. That’s has suffocated me, and additionally suffocated my relationships with people.

The hardest thing to do, when you’re facing great loss or grief, is to find your voice. And I’ve seen the quotes about not letting anyone steal my voice and yadda yadda And I thought I had done that. But instead I was screaming behind a wall that formed as a 2,000 foot enclosure. Inside the wall are spiders and bugs and hungry lions and bears, eager to eat me alive. While outside there’s banners and streamers and balloons everywhere. Funnel cakes and cotton candy and all the things that welcome people to stop and stare and take and be merry. Unbeknownst to the visitors, there’s a side door for anyone and everyone to enter in, if only they’d look past the candy and music and decorations. The music and laughter is so loud that no one would have a clue that’s there’s a screaming girl just behind that giant wall, limbs being mauled by everything that wishes to destroy her.

Therapy is giving me a voice. It is taking the wall down, brick by brick. And with each brick that is removed, the guttural screams are finally reaching the outside of that wall, and like an earthquake, the cries are shaking down the streamers, causing the ground to rumble and shake, and brick by brick the wall does fall.

We all have a voice. Some a whisper, some a roar.

If you can roar, roar for others.

If you can only whisper, keep trying.

Every roar started small.

M.L. Shanahan

Finding My Voice

The October Air

3 years ago I overdosed on a load of pills. It was my last attempt at committing suicide. It’s crazy because It didn’t work. LOL. I was inpatient at this hospital where my socks always got stolen and where people would wake up in the middle of the night screaming and yelling about how Obama was out to get them. There at the hospital, 2 hours away from where I live, I met my plug, the weed man, who just so happened to live 10 minutes from me.

When the dust settled, I found myself four years out, questioning who I am and what I want to be- where I wanna go and what I want to make for myself. Hope has never come easily for me. It’s not something that stirs inside of me. I wouldn’t call myself a dreamer. I don’t dream. I live realistically and aim for the best. If I hope anything I hope that my life doesn’t implode on me.

I’m learning to navigate my emotions like a ship in the storm. A lot of people would say don’t let your emotions effect you. That’s been my problem all along. I haven’t let my emotions affect me so much so that I can’t even figure out where they begin. But I’m figuring it’s worth a shot.

Four years ago, September 2012, was the first time I tried to commit suicide. I spent a few weeks in the hospital, only two leave for a day and come back. When I walked outside it was a crisp October day. Hurricane Irene was coming through. I hadn’t been outside into freedom for weeks. As my friend Ricky picked me up in his fancy camaro to take me home, I almost fell apart. Being outside was amazing for me. I saw the clouds and I felt the cool fresh air. And though it took some time for me to grasp, I found that the October Air brought me some much needed clarity. So here’s to October. And here’s to hope.

The October Air

When It’s Time To Write

When it’s time to write, I sit before my computer screen for quite sometime. I twiddle my fingers nervously, trying to decide if I am truly brave enough to say what I am thinking. Fifty million topics flutter across the chalk board of ideas in my mind-  but I quickly erase them all, too afraid to write what I’m thinking because it makes me vulnerable.

I have been a blogger for 5 years, and it’s always nerve wrecking as you realize that you are a story teller- of your own story. My story is neither graceful nor pretty. It’s full of tragic mistakes that brand my heart as I seek a God to mend and restore. Lots of tears and lots of process, but it’s mine.

I used to blog with the hopes of impressing  my hundreds of followers with my love for God. LOL. That is so gross.  Now I blog, knowing I am so fragile and breakable. That my writing is for my own sake, to help make sense of my story. I’m writing for my health, because talking just won’t do.

My name- Ariel- means lioness of God. But I’ve been nothing but fearful. But I am learning the importance of my voice and my sound. I am learning how to be free.

So when it’s time to sit down and write, more than any other time during the day- i feel brave.

 

 

When It’s Time To Write