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


I’ve always dreamt of home as a place

Where I can kick back, and take a deep, long breath and just be.

I’d curl up on a deep, cozy, couch, wrapping myself in a blanket, knit with time and love by hands that have wrinkles that tell the most mesmerizing stories.

I’d have a cup of coffee and a puzzle before me, 1000 pieces, because there’s no such thing as too many pieces

A little bit of rain, or even a little bit of snow, reminding me it’s good and well to slow down.

Some music in the background to fill my ears with melodies that sing my heart and harmonies that sing peace for the days when i forget.

A fireplace to keep me warm, blue, orange, and yellow flames flickering while their shadows dance along the hard brick fireplace to the beat of the music, a slow, steady, dance.

I’ve always dreamt of home as being a person.

The person with deep, dreamy eyes that stare right into my being.

A stare that makes me want the hide and strip bare simultaneously…

With hands that know every imperfection and crevasse of my body, and a minds eye that sees beneath the surface down into the garden of my heart, where lavender bushes and peonies and honey suckle reside.

They’d brush away the cobwebs of years past and inhale deeply upon the scent of my potential, just as mindful of the delicate nature of my garden as I am.

They’d leave goosebumps on my skin and morning dew on the flowers of my inner most being.

I’ve learned that home is a constant state.

I carry with me the scent of coffee and firewood, ever reminded that peace is always a choice that I get to make.

The puzzles I love represent every opportunity to see things differently and to sit with my fragmented parts long enough to recognize that each part has a place of belonging.

The dancing flames remain burning, reminding me that even when it hurts, I should never give up.

That blanket, oh I carry it daily, wrapped within the generations of love that fought for my existence so for the days that I grow tired I remind myself not to quit this beautiful, complicated, worthwhile life.

And those eyes. Those eyes that know me, whether they belong to a lover or the eyes of God Himself, I know full well that my heart can call those beautiful eyes home.

Behind those bright shiny pupils, I find consistency and kindness, I find patience and hope. I find the belonging my soul has always longed for, the belonging I was made for.

And I’m reminded everyday that this home is a place where I can sit back, take a deep breath and remember that all I need to do is just be.


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

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