Pitiless, Penniless, and Free.

Perhaps you will not have to brace yourself for impact. We know how all things that are not meant to be end. At the beginning, we are so full of wistful expectation that we fail to see the oncoming doom in all its glory.

You were not meant for me.

I whisper this thought internally, because saying it out loud will force me to accept its reality. If I keep it to myself–maybe we can escape the anger and pain that comes when people disappoint you. Maybe being silent keeps us of ignorant of the truth.

But we both know this isn’t true.

Instead, silence rears its ugly head at the exact moment you need to speak. It glances over restoration and latches onto apathy. Now I do not care to fight anymore or try to make things work when I have given all I’ve got and you sat there unchanging.

Famous for painting pictures that no one else can see.

Pity comes from a place of superiority. You “feel bad” for someone–but fail to see how close you are to your own painful story. I was broken in ways that I will never repeat.

Now all I want is to be set free.

 

When Home is Not Home. (350 words)

Parents are the first homes for their children. We exist to welcome and nurture them–as the protectors of their souls. This is not a perfect job, nor one where you can take off when you are exhausted. We were chosen. Given an opportunity to pour purpose and breathe life onto their innocent, blank slates.

Slates that are always, always influenced by their surroundings.

Parents/mentors/extended family have an important responsibility to guide children away from hardship–but to stand firmly by their side when pain is inevitable. We are NOT meant to wound these innocent spirits with self-righteous ideas of who we THINK they should be. Especially, when their idea of who they are conflicts with what we were taught to believe.

If home is not SAFE, children will learn to outsource their needs. They will run–into the arms of others who may give them false information and take advantage of their hearts. They will lie and tell you what you want to hear when they think you cannot handle their truths. They will form guards against any connections to you.

I am reminded of children who “come out” to conservative parents. And parents who then attack the very thing they were meant to protect. There are parents who refuse to listen when their child is screaming for their attention. And parents who later blame themselves for the consequences.

I am reminded of myself. When I was younger I did everything I could to get away from home. I felt invalidated and broken. So much so, I delayed my potential for nearly a decade before I discovered that I was worth so much more.

Now I know that I am my home.

Sometimes, parents fail and we are left to keep our home safe. This is okay. Things like this happen to people everyday. We fall off our paths and run in a million different directions. We chase after things we do not need and leave our homes open without any security. We make mistakes then drag ourselves back in the game.

But with or without them you will find your way.

home, worry, hope, blog


Stay Connected!

Instagram – @jen.cosby

Twitter – @jen__cosby

– Jen Cosby

Reality. (300 words)

Pull me back to reality. Because as of right now—I have given my whole attention to this alternate universe that only leaves me feeling incomplete. I stand up in my unhappiness, and look around. Seeing the anger and frustration I chose to bury.

Wondering if I will ever find my way back out.

Now, the ground quakes with rage and I know it is only a matter of time before I crumble beneath this pressure of my own doing. Eventually, we all must answer for the raw nerves we neglected to cover. But I am never given the opportunity.

When I am not actively healing, I like to believe I am living in a place where nothing goes wrong. I sleep through the night and spend productive days hoping to “do better” when the chance comes my way. I pick up my cross and carry on.

But I am just as broken as I was last year when I had to accept that I was on my own.

Some nights I dream of the innocent souls I sacrificed for illicit conversation. I think of the crimes I committed when I was unrecognizable to even me. Most people do not try to see the full picture. I am guilty of focusing on the side that favored my parts in the story.

It means nothing to say you will be there, or to pledge allegiance when you do not have to prove yourself. It is easy to believe you are the martyr, when you refuse to acknowledge another person’s scars.

I am guilty of caring too much about other people. And I am guilty of not doing more for my self. But I will set this Earth on fire, before I burn my light out for anyone else.

Strength Under Pressure.

I keep my worries bound in a carefully tied knot, held in place to my everyday obligations. I want to be free of concern–to get a break from doubting that I will eventually get what I need. Because honestly, I recognize that plenty of people go without. There are an innumerable amount of people who have nothing. People who regardless, always find a way to be happy. People who stand up and decide to keep moving.

It is believed that the more you obtain, the less satisfied you will become. I remember the months and years when I had little of the material but still felt I had everything. I remember being jobless and nearly homeless with a 1.5 year old. How I lived in a 3 BR apartment with 4 other adults and slept in a shared bedroom on a twin sized bed with my daughter. I remember when my first brand new car was repossessed in the middle of the night with my daughter’s car seat & stroller in the trunk. I remember walking miles back and forth to the library to spend 30 minutes applying for jobs because I did not have access to a computer at home. Running 3 blocks to the bus stop with a toddler on my hip and 2 bags on my shoulder.

It was here I could have decided to give up and accept that life was going to keep throwing punches that I was never going to be able to dodge. I could have sat down in the mess I created and allowed failure to reign in my thoughts. I could have ignored the silent roar for better in my heart. But I continued to fight in spite of everything I thought I had lost.

I feel a familiar twinge of panic now because struggle has a history of infinitely repeating. We will not be free of trouble in this world and it is one of the few things that we are absolutely guaranteed. Now, instead of complaining that “life is not fair” or blaming others for my circumstances–I try to take full responsibility for the gains and the losses. I cannot blame other people for my failures or ignore the consequences when I make mistakes. I can however, opt to face my sorrows and behave with the utmost of integrity.

Right now, it feels like I am being pulled in opposing directions. I feel like everything I fought so hard for is in constant jeopardy. Truthfully, sometimes we have deal with the consequences of our past decisions for decades. Even if I learned my lesson the first time, I still have to make peace with the fact that I deviated from God’s perfect plan for my life.

The beautiful thing about messing up is that it does not mean that we are:
unfixable or
unloveable or
unable to fix our stuff.

It just means we have to fight harder, get stronger and remember to get back up.

 

Change in Gravity.

Last night I dreamed that I was getting married and nothing felt right. I was wearing the wrong dress and the wrong shoes–I did not recognize the people around me. My father, instead of standing with me behind the scenes–was in the crowd and took his time getting to his place. The pastor even called the wedding a funeral.

But worst of all: I was marrying the wrong guy.

I knew him, but we were friends a long time ago in high school. I have no idea how he appeared in my dreams–but it was obvious that we were not in sync. We missed each other’s cues and I kept looking around expecting someone else to show up instead.

In short, I knew he was not the one for me.

change in gravity_blog_jencosby_relationships

 

Today,  I feel the weight of my actions and wonder if I can reconcile them to my beliefs. I feel like a victim who does not know they have been harmed. It is as if I am a prisoner who does not see the open, waiting door. It should be easy to move when you live for excuses, but I have taken intentional steps away from the disease of harmful decisions and repetitious cycles of apathy.

I thought I was past “triggering out” and using my previous abuse as an excuse to wield unforgiveness as if I have never done anything wrong. When I personally make mistakes, I want understanding–I need the person I hurt to see the pain behind my mask of pride. But sometimes, we have to be broken beyond what we think we can take.

It is only after we are shattered that we are open to being saved.

In my weakness, I can admit my truth. I can tell you that I have issues. I have mommy issues and daddy issues and issues with authority. I have issues with accepting people who say that they love me. I have a hard time believing sorry when the behavior does not change. I have a hard time reconciling with people who chose to walk away.

My dream reminded me that I am not perfect. It reminded me that I can want something so badly, that I am blinded to the danger staring me in the face.

I pray my reality does not reflect the same mistake.

For The One Who Birthed Me. (excerpt)

I used to pick fights with
the parts of myself that
seemed to resemble you.

The idea of me that lived up
to your impossible expectations
and the lies I told so often,
they eventually became true.

The difficulty I have now comes
riddled with self doubt because
the one I relied upon did not
know how to meet me half way.

Captured by your adverse opinion,
when all feelings are fleeting.

I will miss you, yes–but I know now that
I am not responsible for your unhappiness.

I will not cut myself open
because you refuse to let me grow.

A Decade to Go.

jencosby_blog_parenting_decade to go_3
In less than 2 weeks, I will have a 9-year old at home and it amazes me how fast time flies by. I miss being able to pick up and carry my daughter–who is now almost as tall as I am. I also miss seeing her try to walk for the first time or experience new things with a sense of awe and wonder. There are still many big moments to come–some of which, like dating, I have no desire to experience ever. But I look forward to surviving and thriving through them all, regardless.

One of the things I aim to have with Jenesis is an open communication policy. I want her to know that she can come to me with anything, no matter what. Sometimes, it is difficult to drill this type of policy into the hearts and minds of children. Their ability to see the long game is skewed and their overall opinion of time is that it is torture. They also do not want to suffer consequences for their actions and fail to see that hiding the truth only makes the problem worse in the long run.

For instance, Jenesis has a habit of “forgetting the truth” when she does something that she knows is wrong. Last week, I found her watching a mature show on Netflix, “Glee”. It is Rated PG-13, and I have allowed her to watch certain episodes–particularly the singing portions when we are together. When I brought it to her attention she told me, “You said we could watch it together”. She failed to realize that watching it by herself was not the same thing as watching it together.
I try to limit her exposure to a lot because innocence cannot be regained once it is gone. I want her to remain young and carefree for as long as it is in my control. However, children have a natural curiosity for adult things–always wanting to know more when they are not quite ready.

I was raised with two differing styles of parenting from my childhood. My parents are divorced and thus had different ideas of how to handle/or not handle adult content in the home. My father and step-mother allowed us to watch adult content when they were present but told us to “cover our eyes” when an adult scene came on. The funny thing is, we could still hear sounds and conversations and I feel this approach only served to increase our desire as children to see what was going on behind our hands. Pretty soon, when we were not being supervised we found ourselves secretly watching adult stations trying to figure out what our parents did not want us to know.

My mother similarly watched adult content while we were around, but did not instruct us to cover our eyes. Part of the time we would cover them out of habit, but other times we would look to her for direction. When no direction came, we figured it was okay to keep watching. I can tell you as an adult now, that it was not. Passive parenting inspires confusion and leads the child to make mature decisions with little to no guidance. A lot of my adolescence was spent making poor choices based on my limited point of view.

jencosby_blog_parenting_decade to goAs a parent now, I chose to go a completely different route with my daughter. I did not want her exposed to anything that was not meant for her age. I do not watch adult content in front of her or listen to music with adult themes. The problem with my method is that she spends a large amount of her life in a school where I cannot protect her from the influence of peers. Everyone she comes into contact with has a unique home background and when you mix all of these kids together you are bound to get a host of conflicting information. If I do not give her the right information at home, she may eventually make bad choices based on what she learned from her friends.

So, this past week I chose to sit her down and have an open and candid conversation about this mixed up world around us. With her growing interest in adult material, I know it is my responsibility to give enough information so that she is informed but not enough to taint her innocence.

Some of the themes in “Glee” include: teenage pregnancy, homosexuality, drugs, sex and the list goes on and on. I wanted to know which of these themes she saw and what she thought or knew of each one. I explained my expectations of her as a little young lady and addressed what was right vs. what was wrong for her age. I felt the need to even detail her upcoming menstrual cycle and the changes that will come along with that.

I know parenting is not a perfect process and many mistakes will be made along the way. But children are the highest blessing and it is our responsibility as parents to give them the absolute best we have. I will never take this honor for granted. I pray God will continue to give us all the grace to grow and teach our children well before we release them into the world, on their own.

jencosby_blog_parenting_decade to go_2

-Jen.Cosby