D is for Dysfunction.

art, blog, life, dysfunction, akira, selfcare, healing

 

Better out than in they say, but dysfunction takes a long time to finally break. In my earnest endeavors to ignore the functionality of my pain I grew hard in ways that will never get better unless I commit to change. So I take steps away from thoughts and feelings that trick me into believing that other people are my problem. The only person I have the power to correct or control is me. In reality, even I carry the mistake of thinking that I am invulnerable. The truth is I am wounded, and in need of healing. Things that are broken can never operate at their original capacity. Cracks allow doubt and shame to seep through. Trouble is a constant barrier and denial is a coping mechanism. But if I take the time to address the scars I habitually covered; if I make it my business to come face to face with the dysfunction I wrongfully clung to–then maybe one day there can be healing for you, too.

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The Height of Anxiety.

Sunday, I had a panic attack.

Every past failure rose up from the grave – and met me when I was most vulnerable – to drag me back down. I am familiar with not getting it right, or making unpopular decisions and being unreliable. But there is a brand new level of hurt experienced when you let your own self down. quotes, blog, anxiety, healing

I was running on empty. Most people see the gas light and immediately hurry to resolve the issue. Not me. I will keep driving–insisting that I can go much farther than mechanically possible. Sometimes, I am annoyingly successful. The person who always seems to slide through the cracks of undesirable situations. At others, I am the broken down car on the side of the road with a T-shirt hanging out the window.

Painfully and publicly aware that I do not have anywhere else to go.

Mistakes force patience down your throat. They invade personal spaces with their uncanny ability to break up your oblivious peace. I thought I could handle all these responsibilities, but the truth is the more I juggle the higher the chances are of me dropping things. Now, I have to stand still and face what went wrong. Now, I have to go back to the beginning when I should have been more disciplined from the start.

The first time I failed a class I was shocked and angry. Shocked, because I thought I did just enough to get by. Angry, because I could have done better, and my laziness reaped a negative result. But I went back and retook that class and the next time I more than passed the course. Eventually, I earned my Associates Degree.

Maybe I thought the next level of college would be a breeze. Maybe I just took on too much and did not understand what was required of me. Or maybe, I am not smart enough or young enough to do what is necessary. When you believe this type of negative narrative you will be hard pressed to succeed at anything. Self-created pressure keeps so many of us from aiming higher and pushing harder when the inevitable difficulties appear.

Sunday, I let my anxiety take the driver’s seat. But if I am honest, fear and the belief that I am undeserving have long been passengers in my now disabled car. I fought earnestly at level one to get to what I knew was mine. Late night papers and canceled plans were the norm of my existence. I have sacrificed fun to pay for school books, gave up countless nights of sleep to get it all done.

And I will not my anxiety get the best of me, not while level 2 is still left to be won.

 


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Emphasis on Continually. (200 words)

Several bouts of loneliness later, I endeavored to stop trying. I realized I am stuck in my ways, and fitted with an intense stubbornness that will not acquiesce so easily. Maybe if we met 10 years ago you could have “saved me” from myself–as men so often claim to do when women are being unreasonable. But now–now, I am content to build my castle with the debris from every failed relationship behind me. I do not understand the concept of prince charming. And I have no reservation about taking care of my own responsibilities.

Most importantly, I do not want anything that does not want me.

What is mine however, falls under the wing of my intention. I am part lover, all-fighter and sometimes both roles demand emphasis. Love does not just exist when we are madly locked in a passionate embrace. It does not trifle with temporary.

Love says, “I woke up early to make you breakfast in preparation for your meeting”.
Love commands your attention when you forget why you are fighting.
Love says, “I choose YOU,” over other people, over my doubts, over this ugly mess we created.
Love is continually choosing US over EVERYTHING.

….Emphasis on continually.


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See You There!

–Jen Cosby

Boundless Beauty. (300 words)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news in my own expectations or the facilitator of less than my absolute best when I am actively pursuing my dreams. I want to grow tired of the lies I sell myself and follow my heart as it leads me to truth. But it takes so much more than hopes and good thoughts to inspire lasting and effectual change.

Sometimes, you have to break down completely before you will ever follow through.

I am not infallible. Every day I wake up just like you with a choice to do better or to stay statically still. I could go on and on about the times I wasted or the balls I let drop while the world around me refused to stop–but none of that will matter unless I choose to make a difference now, for me.

When you are not emotionally connected to your actions, you will continue to fail without any regard to who you are taking down with you. You will emote and feel things deeply but forget that it is not all about your problems. It is about finding a path in the middle towards achieving and maintaining peace. Peace that can not exist if we are constantly fighting.

I do not want to hear “suck it up” when the truth in love inspires us to speak words of healing over people who are truly suffering. There are a thousand ways we can say the same thing without wounding sensitive spirits with our harsh expressions.

Some days this is harder for us to do–but the most beautiful things have a way of happening in spite of you.

beauty, life, expectations, hope, love, blog


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– Jen Cosby

You are Missing from Me.

As I draw further away from the negative reality of my past year–and come closer to the anniversary of our ending–I am hard pressed to examine and emote and release this anxiety that has already served its purpose for me. I suppose I just gave up when faced with the truth of my deception. I did not fight because I had nothing left to lose. Thought I was strong enough and wise enough to push past the initial defeats, but I will never forget you are missing from me.

I still try at times to make peace in my subconscious. My dreams are filled with road blocks and alternate routes that always lead back to you. Except, I spend most of my time jolted awake by the fact that I cannot change what God has told me is not now possible.

The hope is to give up the hurt you experience, and to focus your efforts on healing.

bloom, growth, healing, flowers, relationships, friendships, loss

Bloom with Intention

We all plant seeds that will one day take root and bear fruit. Whether it is good or bad fruit is determined by what we choose to leave. –Jen Cosby

Usually this would not matter to me. What mattered then is how my hurt manifested itself as a quietly ticking time bomb that without warning exploded on everyone I loved. Shrapnel broke down decades old foundations and opened up carefully concealed scars. This makes me human but also magnifies just how weak I really was. And just how weak I continue to be, when I try to forget you are missing from me.

Today, I walk through doors that I did not have to blow up in order to walk through. They open because they are mine and I did not have to convince myself that I was worthy. They open because I accepted my undeniable part in the mess I experienced and gave up praying God would bless the dysfunction.

I realize my pursuit of wellness may not mean restoration. My desire to be better may never be seen. But I promised myself that I would be honest when I am hurting. And the truth of the matter is you are missing from me.

 


P.S. As life continues to evolve I am realizing that I am posting less frequently on this site. My goal is to only provide “good” thought provoking content at all times. With my current schedule in mind, I will begin to follow a bi-monthly posting schedule.

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-Jen Cosby

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

 

Even the Righteous Need Breaks.

I wonder what happens to beautiful souls who lose their courage to the bitter realities of life. A part of me knows decisions are made that subtract from happiness and cause undesirable consequences–but another part of me cannot begin to analyze the cost. Instead, I look out of my window at clouds that promise oncoming cold and heavy, relentless rain. Because even nature releases its burden before it starts all over again.

The cycle of life reminds us of how precious time is while we attempt to live out our plans and work towards individual designs. We are planners and organizers. Dreamers who spend hours thinking of ways to get the very best of everything. Yet sometimes, we intentionally procrastinate against the necessary hard work required of us. Turning our backs on the truth of who we are.

jencosby_blog_inspiration_lessonsThere are times of testing that give way to amazing moments that we could have never achieved without grace. In these difficult moments we forget what is important and get defensive when our ideal is lost. When I personally measured my commitment to others I found I could have done more when my friends were hurting. Instead, I chose to bury my head in the sand and act as if nothing was happening. I ignored those public posts and dismissed their agonizing cries for attention–assuming that a person who needed help would just come out and ask for it. But it is difficult to anticipate help when you are ashamed of your actions.

For the better part of a year I ran from every single one of my callings. I dug in deep with isolation and spent quality time in my own self-imposed rejection. At the time, I felt wounded by so many things that I became accustomed to and accepting of pain. It became a daily habit for me to wake up and go through the day like a zombie–oblivious to the hurt I was feeling. Eventually, that hurt became a part of the way I communicated. I lashed out and broke confidence with people who wanted more for and from me. Now, I realize I could do nothing for them unless I wanted more for myself.IMG_2204

Now that I want more I need to take consistent steps in the right direction. It means I cannot run from difficult conversations or fill silence with resentment and apathy. My calling requires me to be active in the pursuit of my emotional, physical and mental health. When I am wrong, I must admit it and walk down the path towards reconciliation and forgiveness. Likewise, if someone hurts me (accidentally or not) it is up to me to be honest about my feelings.

What they choose to do with my truth is NOT my responsibility.