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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I look forward to connecting with you guys on these platforms!

-Jen Cosby

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.

You Cannot Rush Freedom (400 words)

Most of us exist for tiny moments of excitement–forever looking for the next thrill to write home about. I wish life was always this simple and we did not have to think about problems or troubles or figure out 5-year plans. But the truth is, an honest life is one of requirement. Everyday we must come to terms with the fact that our lives are not completely our own. We are responsible for other people–in the most benign to the most extreme of ways.

And nothing wakes one up faster than realizing that another person is counting on you.

I imagine taking this type of ownership to its highest peak. Because without sacrifice, we are incapable of offering anyone anything. Sometimes, the hardest part of my day is facing this blatant reminder in the form of an unrelenting alarm clock. It screams, “Wake Up!” when all I really want to do is sleep. The act of hitting snooze in this instance is probably one of the most selfish things.

When I was a child, I relied upon my parents to prepare me for every future event. From school and extracurricular activities to family special occasions; I was helpless without them. At times I found myself helpless as a result of them. Now that I am an adult, I remember the way I would rationalize their dysfunction on my life. I did not see drunkenness and disorder; it was unpredictable fun. My mother was not financially irresponsible and careless, she was spontaneous and carefree.

This is the lens I used to guard my innocence when what I really needed was protecting.

I dreamed of leaving my destructive nest and living a life of order and structure. I remember trying to fly on my own for the first time and it was then I learned that you cannot rush freedom. I thought maybe flapping my wings and kicking up dust would guarantee that no one could ever reach me. But the higher I flew, the more I lost sight of my calling and destiny. It took coming back down and sitting in the reality of all the hurt I experienced that finally gave me the courage to let it all go.

I could have chosen to cling to my past and perpetuate the cycle of pain, transferring the guilt I felt onto my offspring. I could have continued to run from my responsibilities. But I know I must live a life of intention.

And God intended for me to be free.

Distance Makes the Heart. (200 words)

Not a day goes by that I do not think of you.

Sometimes, I wonder where you are and let myself imagine you are available to me. Other days I shudder to admit the truth. I missed you on your birthday because I did not want to force the polite reply on you. You know how people you no longer talk to reach out on special occasions because Facebook reminded them to. Maybe you knew I would be this predictable. It is my hope though, that you do not think of me anymore.

It was selfish of me to believe people meant to be will eventually find their way back no matter what. Like this gave me a reason or excuse to act out of character and hurt you. Still, I carry my decisions with every ounce of integrity I can muster. Knowing that sorry means nothing when you hurt someone that deep.

There was a flame around us once. Pointing down the narrow path of self-control.
We may claim to be loving, but love requires us to be intentional.

I abandoned you when you needed me most.

The final truth I hold as distance forces me to let go.

This is Not a Test. (300 words)

eyes, brows, prose, reflection, thoughts, emotions

You have always been quite unreasonable. Setting rules of entitlement long before I understood the meaning of war. Elder members in our family naturally sit higher up. They expect every new recruit to listen and believe with child-like passiveness and misguided awe. Something I am not liable to do without just cause. I am evidence you cannot choose your history because I always found my way back into your presence no matter how far I tried to run. It angers me to admit the ease I felt when all was well.

Saddens me to concede that it never lasted for long.

I spent wasteful time reflecting on the trials of the past and what I could have done differently. Children are not the authors of their fate and have no choice but to follow their leaders blindingly. My earliest memories of fights between the people closest to me ultimately led to the division of our home. Depression ran deep while dissension cycled turbulently through our blood. And this was not enough. There were nights I struggled to come to terms with the new structures laid out for me. I may have wanted things outside of your capacity to give, but this does not mean what I asked for was wrong.

You were a dark and unyielding eclipse in the middle of my sunny day. The tears that have fallen offered more comfort than you have ever shown this face. Did you ever think it possible to see me for who I was? Or was your allegiance mine only as long as you did not have to pay the cost?

I survey the wounds I used to keep inside that now the world can see.

Wondering what part of this was all your fault and how much of it was me.

My Broken, Blended Family.

I know plenty about the blended family culture. 

Being a child of divorce at a young age–I cannot remember living with both of my parents under the same roof. Shortly after my parents formally separated, I was introduced to another woman who would ultimately become a major influence in my life….my stepmother. She would later bear (3) more children for my father–boys, who by blood would become my brothers. Tacking on my sister and me–we were one large, blended family.

During my childhood, I recall feeling misplaced every time I visited my father and his new family. I was his part time daughter, not quite content to be seen only when it was convenient for his schedule. In reaction to sharing this limited time, I was passive aggressive and angry. I fought to stay with my father as much as possible.

My sister however, took a different approach. For the most part, she chose to stay at home–with our mother. She did not have the same amount of time with our father that I had. She did not get to spend days at home with him potty training. She was never wrestled to sleep by firm, tree branch-like arms. She did not have to go to therapy in elementary school in an effort to get used to missing him.

Our experiences with both of our parents was unique.

For a long time, I admired my stepmother over my own. She was organized and focused, taking meticulous care of family. She made absolutely certain to give that extra attention to her children that I craved. This left me searching for comparisons in the relationship between my mother, my sister and me. They say parents do not partake in favoritism–but if you lived in my home you would know this was not true. Ultimately, my two examples of “a mother’s love” left me feeling like I could not be loved equally. I know now this was not done purposely to hurt me. Still, as a child trying to find my place in the world, it was an open wound.

I am not a stepparent. I do not know what it is like to combine lives with a spouse who has children from another family. I have never had to endure an unpleasant conversation with the person to which my significant other once pledged forever. I cannot fathom what it is like to deal with the emotions of a child who resents you for “breaking up their home”. I do not know how to look into a little girl’s eyes and tell her you consider her your daughter only to turn your back on her when it no longer fits your narrative.

I imagine it is difficult and uncomfortable.

From the perspective of the child who is now an adult, I realize I still have a flurry of unanswered questions. There are items of unwanted experience I had to forcefully check off through no fault of my own. The only constants in my life were my sometimes inconsistent parents who I now understand are not infallible. They are human beings who made mistakes but did everything within their capabilities to prepare me for the future ahead. I am convinced my parents love me unconditionally and support me in my actions. Even my stepmother had her part in helping me become the person I am, today.

But when a blended family begins to unravel there are desperate measures taken and harsh realities you cannot expect. Lines are drawn and sides are picked–children and (in some cases) grandchildren are thrown into the conflict. I am not the one to convince another to engage in a fair fight. I do not care who was wrong more often or who stonewalled when they should have been trying to cooperate.

No one can soothe a broken connection from the outside.

It is not my place to parent my parents or make peace for their sake. After all, I am a product of an ugly ending and bitter separation. I know from experience there is a purpose for this breaking–although, when it is said and done nothing will ever be the same.

But all I want is for everyone to be okay.