E is for Excuses.

art, blog, error, healing, mental health, life

The older we get the more likely it is that we will choose to settle in and remain stuck in our ways. After all, what is more comforting–trying to make difficult changes or deciding to stay the same? I will not pretend to have the market cornered on messed up experiences. I will not even try to make excuses for my mistakes. We all had at least one thing handed to us that we wish we could have given back. For me, it has been my battle to eliminate dysfunctional thoughts. Thoughts that eventually make way for destructive action. And those actions that push others away. Sometimes I can see myself reacting negatively to an event–but I am powerless to stop it. Part of my struggle has to do with a lack of self awareness. It is easier to continue traveling on a well-trudged road created by those with a similar genetic makeup. Easier to run with the dysfunctional patterns that I was handed when I was young. I often cannot see that the patterns I am repeating are negative because such were the tools that were given to me. Anger was the answer for my wounded vulnerability. Hostility was my protection against the endless cycle of abandonment and hurting. Manipulation was the only way to get what I needed. For years I trusted in these war-like emotions to keep me safe from attacks by people who were supposed to love me. They were my coping mechanisms and my first steps into codependency. There was a point in my life when I had no choice in how I was treated or how long I would be hurting.

But now these emotions have become excuses for me.

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Daily Peace. (300 words)

Knots twist and overlap in my stomach, pushing me to confront the truth. I cannot ignore the reality that damaged interactions lead to disappointment and devastation. But despair is a choice. The longer we hold onto pain, the deeper we fall into despair. The more we resist reconciliation and forgiveness, the further recovery becomes.

I gave up on God once. I was in a terrible situation that I contributed to–and I could not see myself clearly. I rejected God’s help. I relied on the power I thought I had and began to forfeit my purpose and destiny. I knew God was calling out to me. But I could not hear him over my own hurt feelings. I just wanted it to stop. I wanted the pain to fully end. But God wanted something different.

Now, when faced with the same disappointment, I actively resolve to seek God’s face. He alone knows the desires of my heart and just how hard I have worked to be a better version than the person I used to be. The truth however, is that I am not perfect. I make mistakes and cause others grief because I am still in the process of healing. This is no easy task–but the one who has forgiven me knows that I am still hunted by my past.

History sits in our subconscious and refuses to let us go. It wants us to remember that we have failed so many times before. It wants us to think that we will always be hurting. But the truth is the more I seek God, the more I believe that He alone is the one who holds onto me. He alone is my hope and the only person I need to please.

And I will not let go of Him again.

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

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.