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


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– 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.

Flames of Glory.

Flames of glory for the one who lost all control.
I picture this broken body with its propensity to feed
off my soul. Truth bears down on me, forcing me to
overcompensate. For my vanity. For my sadness.
For the bittersweet memory of my never forgotten
mistakes. You dropped your intentions in the middle
of a losing battlefield. Breaking dawn with our
destructive tendencies. I create out of darkness
what you can only obtain in peace. They said
there is no real hope for you or for me.
Tears wet my face as I violently shake the truth
from my mind. We are better together, no matter
what happened the last time. I wish declaring
what you wanted had the power to set you free.
But smoke is in the way and this fire is all-consuming.

300 Words or Less.

“You could die and it wouldn’t matter at all to me.”

Words like this ring in the ears and consciousness of a person who is mentally unwell. Most of the time the words are not verbally spoken but the feeling of distance grows until that person spirals out of control. I could tell you that this type of reaction is dramatic–that the person feeling this way is unreasonable. But the truth is, some of us were gifted with an abundance of emotion.

Sometimes, that emotion has nowhere to go.

I run from confrontation. In the middle of a conflict, I will pick up my feelings and take off in the opposite direction. Where I was once fully willing and open to sharing my heart, I am currently opposed to being broken down and disregarded. It is difficult to be vulnerable. As it is, most people just want to know what is wrong so they can pass your issues on. Why would I ever believe this type of person is FOR me? In the past I have hidden my issues, allowing overwhelming levels of grief to take over my life. But I have also trusted others with my truth and found that no one was willing to stay by my side.

Now, I stand on my own terms of independence, wanting to believe the future will be brighter than where I am today. To be quite honest, I do not feel any different. I still feel hurt and abandoned, lonely and distant–no matter where I sit in the congregation. I still feel broken, beyond all repair. I wait quietly and observe everyone secretly; hoping just one person will care to see me in my entirety. But instead I sit alone on the outside, looking for a way to regain some control.