M is for Memories.

art, codependency, kusaka, blog, memories

I have a desire to be honest but the truth will make me appear vulnerable. So I choose to bury my feelings deep in my subconscious where they cannot hurt me anymore. The hope is that what lies dormant will eventually fade away. Or that there will come a time when I am able to embrace the necessity of change. After all, it is the heart that is most resistant. It fights in the midst of our self-inflicted pain and throws itself back into the fire over and over again. Right now it is fighting for me. Now, my heart fights against the fantasy it was sold. It grieves the lie of a happy ending. Now, it is working to protect the most precious thing I have remaining–my belief. I feel caught up in a bitter loop of broken memories. Trying desperately to suppress these thoughts that no longer serve me. I remember the last time I wandered towards the cusp of a permanent heartbreak. Numbing my emotions with spirits and physical interactions for which my soul will ultimately pay. Forgiveness still lingers in the atmosphere begging me to release that which I am struggling to forget. But the hardest truth we sometimes face with painful memories, is the fact that they are not done with you yet.


H is for Hope.

art, kusaka, blog, hope, mental health

Winter is heaping an ice cold anxiety upon my will to keep moving forward. Most mornings are hard, and I feel surrounded by a darkness that desires to swallow me up whole. Deep down I know these feelings are temporary–that at any moment the sun will break through my windowpane. The sun has a way of shining its healing light on my pain. Still, I have to acknowledge the amount of energy it takes to be productive and consistent everyday. I wake up and pray. As soon as I feel this weight on my chest, I turn to the only one who can save. My heart is broken but you would never know it from the smile I keep plastered on my face. I realized early on that it does not matter who is gone. What matters is how I pick myself up and how I choose to move along. It matters that I am choosing to fight my addiction to tragic love stories and to patterns that have only led to self-destruction and grief. I alone am responsible for maintaining my integrity. Today, I remembered the names and faces of the ones who came before. How I have lost many things in this life, but nothing that was meant to be mine. Each person was a lesson that I repeated until I learned what I needed to know. Experience is a faithful companion, who fills my waiting heart with hope. But the sun has not come out yet–and there is still so much farther to go.

C is for Codependency.

art, life, blog, selfcare, codependency

“You will only prolong the pain if you run away from accepting responsibility.”

What hurts more than giving your all to someone and finding out it is still not enough? What kills a spirit faster than realizing you compromised everything in pursuit of someone else? What shatters a heart more definitively than fighting for someone who has a hard time taking care of their self? The answer is nothing. Nothing hurts more than sacrificing your self worth and valid feelings to the point where you can no longer recognize what you need. Codependency is debilitating. Instead of investing in my gifts I sat still while another promised things they would never give. At this moment however, it is not about them. It is my responsibility to address how I again abandoned my progress to follow a familiar dead end street. Same movie with the exact same ending. Me attempting to convince a heart to open up properly. Them trying to make up for the past I did not release. Me disappointing them and them disappointing me. It is all quite humbling. I thought I was well enough to redirect the dysfunctional dynamic. But I knew from the beginning my mental health was in jeopardy. So of course I am angry. Months and years of my life seemingly flushed down the drain. The love I thought would last forever is on the chopping block again.
Still, I have to be responsible. Pick myself back up and take care of my home.

Maybe if we both were healthier, neither of us would have felt so alone.

The Art of Forgiveness

Too many steps forward and you will be forced to leap back to the beginning. In every instance of regression we feel slighted as if we did not have a say in whether or not we went all the way. It is fair to be weary. To have a heart weighed down by an irrepressible pain.

But the art of forgiveness requires us to change.

I have no stock in another person’s recovery steps. They can be silent and broken, refusing to ask for help. They can be recklessly happy and move forward with grace.

But the art of forgiveness means we do not stay the same.

Each time we “get back up” a piece falls off from our resiliency. After awhile, there is no more hopefulness. No more faith. No more peace. I have written bitter endings into my narrative so much so that now I do not know how to get rid of the ache.

But the art of forgiveness means we put old things away.

The dream died. If we are being honest it never had a chance to survive. You put two people in a story who both believe they are right and it is only a matter of time before they end up on different sides. Fighting for a future that neither can fully provide.

But the art of forgiveness means you move forward with the rest of your life.

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

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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Instagram – @jen.cosby

Twitter – @jen__cosby

– 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.