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Life's Little Lessons

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." – Emile Zola

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voice

worth more than glue

When I was sixteen, my father beat with the shoes I took off my feet upon coming home from work after taking my boss’s mother to her house. She did not drive and I was later than normal, home later than expected, but I was honest with my accounts however my honesty did not help. I was still beaten for being late because I supposedly was lying about where I’d been.

I ran out the door that night in my barefoot, in the pouring down rain, desperate. I ran across town to my boyfriend’s house and his family welcomed me and my tears into their home. They called my parents and told them I would be at their house for the night and I knew it would be a very long night for it was the first time I ever told anyone that my father beat me.

The next morning I went home to silence and for weeks that silence continued. I had shared our families secret and heard the message loud and clear.

“You are to be like glue and keep our family together. You do not come undone and share our secrets.”

Fast forward years later and it’s weeks before my wedding day. Same thing: sudden rage and a beating. This time I am standing outside my parents farmhouse holding a laundry basket of clothes my mother had just folded for me, my two-year old daughter nearby.

I go home afterwards and cry for hours nursing a headache that won’t go away.

But I am glue. I keep our family together and I don’t give myself any consideration. My father walks me down the aisle despite my knowing deep within myself I don’t want him to but since appearances are everything, I take his left arm in mine and smile.

I’ve hated myself everyday since and it has nothing to do with abuse and everything to do with a little girl who gave up her voice at the expense of squeezing herself into a mold she was not made for.

Now, many years later, I find myself sitting nauseated in a lawyer’s office. I realize that despite whatever the outcome, being there was one of the bravest things I’ve ever done in my life. In my entire life.

I was standing up for me. AS me.

All my life I have found my worth and value in other people and in things, in doings and the like and when those things are good and pretty, when all is going well, I am enough.

And when things aren’t…well. You can imagine.

I have tethered myself to the whipping pole because it’s what I’ve deserved. Surely it must be what I’ve deserved becuase I’ve done wrong and I’ve done right and the results are forever the same: I am not valuable.

Because who beats their grown daughter in front of her own?

I’ve felt like a dog.

Oh to go back to that day and say, “Enough.”

But I can’t go back. All I can do is make peace with my enemy and forgive myself for doing the best that I can, even if the best that I can was not right for me.

“You are the glue that holds are family together.” My husband said these words to me a couple of months ago and I bore the weight. I felt the heaviness of “Suck it up and carry on.” I should want to be glue. Glue sounds capable and strong, almost noble. Like something I could robe myself in as a woman, especially as a mother. But I don’t want to be glue. I don’t want to keep on keeping on, my right arm interlocked in the cusp of everyone else’s for the sake of what?

For the sake of WHO? Jesus?

Is that what it means in real-time with my every-day-life to take up my cross and follow Him? Is that what “laying down my life for my friends” looks like?

Please someone tell me because all I know is that I have this voice inside of me telling me to listen. That it is o.k. to listen. To listen to what I’ve always known deep within myself but been too afraid to stand in.

Because it’s easier to tie myself back to the whipping pole than it is to stand firm in my own truths, which at the end of the day are rooted in His.

I am worth more than glue.

HE says so.

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fester 

I can feel it flowing through my veins. Toxins are trying to poison my soul. There are things that have not been talked about recently and I take the lack of initiation on any part, other than mine, poorly. 

The long and the short is this: I want to stop reaching becuase I want to be reached INTO and my “ I wont if you wont” attitude is seemingly costing me a great deal. Anger is festering. Communication has been waining and open to interpretation, which becomes a free-for-all for assumptions, which I know better than to make. 

I appears we are not on the same page and that feeling adds extra weight to my gut. I don’t know how we’ll ever move forward because at the end of the day, weeks later, here we are. Same ole. Same ole. Time and space have crept in and the hot water has slowly turned to not so hot at all. Nothing has really changed. Nothing has really been talked about and as much as I sit, telling myself, “Just focus on yourself. YOU keep moving forward,” there is this undeniable reality that I’m not the only one here.

We both are. 

So I go back to “Who am I?” 

I AM a communicator.

“If that is WHO you are, march yourself downstairs and communicate.”

Sometimes I really loathe the voice of reason and wisdom within myself.

And I do. I bound down the steps and plop myself in my chair and as much as I don’t think it is my turn or duty (which often feels like an obligatory noose) to continue to reach forward, I do. I initiate. I communicate.

“I think we need to talk.”

And there is agreement from both sides in this statement.

Not much is solved but we both walk away and doors are left opened.

I have a picture in my head of taking the doors of my heart off its hinges. I see myself throwing them into the flames along with our very dead Christmas tree that lays on the ground outside our house…watching it disintegrate into nothingness.

I don’t think my heart was created to find refuge in doors.

 

 

 

The Fray

I woke up this morning and came down the stairs. Same ole, same ole. Get the coffee brewing, load the dishwasher and get the kitchen in order for the morning. It’s my morning routine for almost ever. I made my way to the living room and opened the front door to take the dogs out and that’s when I saw it. Carpet shreds were all over the floor. I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee yet here I was, standing in my living room needing SOMETHING to make sense out of all that I saw. A lump formed quickly in the pit of my stomach and I no longer needed to make sense, I knew. The dog had dug a small little hole in the carpet right at the edge of where the hard wood from the dining room connects with the carpet from the living at some point in the middle of the night. I looked at her as she looked at me.

This was not how I wanted to start my day.

This has happened before. Same dog. Same carpet, different tiny edge and that time I blamed it on the kids for their lack of caring for her while we were away but here I was, caring for her and still.

I could not cover this up with a rug. I tried. Believe me I tried. “Maybe no one will notice.” This is my thinking because if my husband sees yet another small area of our carpet missing, our new carpet, our installed-less-than-a-year-ago carpet, he will dislike dogs even more so than he does now. Then I think to myself that maybe no one will notice, maybe I am the only one that walks with their head down in their home looking for dirt or socks and shoes or pieces of frayed and dug up carpet. Maybe.

Then the idea hits me. I will try hot gluing my carpet back together. Yes, that may work. I will plug in the hot glue gun and lay on my stomach just so and piece by piece I will put my carpet back together again. I resolve that this is what I’ll do and I say not a word. My family wakes up and one by one they come downstairs and I was right, no one but me looks down. No one cares quite like I do.

This is what I tell myself.

And so I begin. Piece by piece my carpet is put back together, made whole, and I wonder how long this will last. Maybe if we step delicately around it, it will stick. I realize this is what I do. I fix. I mend and I patch. I step delicately. I get scared that someone is going to see the empty places, that even having empty and barren patches is bad. It’s not right. No one else around me seems to be secretly struggling yet here I am, on my stomach fixing wondering why Jesus hasn’t yet fixed me.

I am still broken and I feel it.

“Jesus take this hot glue gun and make my frays stick so my edges are straight again.”

I realize that most if not all the struggle is within myself. There are large parts of my life that have been boxed up and put away in some room of my house. Boxed up out of shame. Boxed up out of guilt. Boxed up because unboxing would most likely make others feel bad or would implicate them negatively in some way. But that is me, always thinking  about how me being me would make others feel and how can I protect them from my truth and all of sudden, that thought makes me feel so sad and I feel as naked as the carpet patch I am trying so hard to repair.

I realize that it’s just not certain areas of my life that are boxed up but that I am. I wrote about abuse last week on my FB wall and encouraged men and woman to SCREAM, to speak up if they are being abused in any way and it was the first time I’ve given myself permission to speak publicly because I’ve denied it for so long except to a small circle of family and friends. I had no idea what suffering through 23 years of abuse and another 21 years of silence would do and how it would erode away my very identity and cloak me in layers of lies that are not so easily dispelled but here I am, still afraid but no longer silent.

I need to make friends with my enemy and I know it. If I do not, my enemy is going to drown me and I feel it. The water is far past the point of lapping around my feet.

 

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