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


Patient Lines.


I am waiting patiently with bated breath
for you to tell me I am different. That in
all of the numerous love affairs from your life–
I am the only one you could never set free.
I crave wistful imagination and wide
set eyes of hopelessly smitten affection.

I wanted you to look over at me in
the middle of the night with
a vibrant sort of expression.

But I am the one who lies awake–staring
at the cracks in my ceiling while you sleep
blissfully unaware next to me.
From the moment that I was able to believe
in love, I always thought those who are meant
to be were connected by more than just feelings.

We tread the line somewhere between
wishful thinking and absolute destiny.
Stacking expectation until it all falls down.

Can we exist in moderation? Will walking
narrow paths fit our individual goals?
Or are we squeezing the right shapes
into completely wrong holes?

I honestly do not know.

I just hope we learn to recover,
before we are forced to let go.

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.

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.

In the Time of Testing.

In the time of testing, I withdrew my bid for sanctification—not understanding that the process could not be abandoned once it had begun. I begged my savior to release me so that I could have what I wanted, in spite of the fact that my desires were wrong.

I knew I needed to wait and this is sometimes the most painful part of being saved.

Believing that He is good all the time—even in the midst of pain is hard to fathom when you are used to the deception of the “necessary ache”. I am familiar with weakness and my egoistic nature to pounce on unsuspecting hearts. How I let fear reign and betray people I love.

But I was not above deceiving myself.

I know better than to leave people in worse condition than how I found them at the start. But it is harder to make amends when you cannot understand where you went wrong. Naturally, we want to get down to the bottom of our struggles and try to analyze our emotional flaws.

If only we could recover the moments we sacrifice for empty thoughts.

Maybe then we can learn from failure and gain from every loss.
Or take something back from each lesson we prematurely wrote off.

I was wrestled to the ground by a faith that would not relent.
The more I resisted, the more it tightened its grip.
Broken down on rocky ground—watching my blessing fly away.
My roots dyed black with cowardice and my heart numbed by mistakes.

A wounded warrior and resilient survivor who refused to submit to growth willingly.

But I predict after an overwhelming defeat—after I ran from my decisions and hid from my grief–after I rejected my purpose and dove in too deep

…that even then my savior will never let go of me.

Purple Hearts.

art, friendship, watercolor, purpleDecades before I failed to be an honorable person I had a best friend who deserved better than me. She was the type of girl who spoke her mind and loved everyone she allowed into her life intentionally. If any person set out to tell her what she could not do, she was determined to prove them wrong. She was the first of a few brave lady warriors I came to appreciate and know. The female warrior does not stand for disrespect or take bad behavior with her tongue in cheek. She calls you out. Her fierce power requires you take ownership of your faults. She will look for a reason to save you even after you have let her down. If you are lucky–if you have been the worst version of yourself and she still loves you, count this as the ultimate blessing. She knows you are not perfect that you can be a jacked up human being. She will attempt to appeal to your humanity. She will pray for your freedom from damaging perspectives and debilitating beliefs. She will never stop fighting for what she believes. She is an unstoppable force capable of impossible feats. Like, extending an olive branch to a friend she does not even need.

I just hope I am worthy.

The Warrior’s Revelry: 2017

I pray you find what you are looking for in 2017.

But more importantly, I hope with a burning urgency for the realization that what you seek is already alive and well–within you. Getting in better physical shape, eating all the right things and meeting your elusive “One”, will not compare to developing the courage to live your life aggressively.

It takes courage to face the ultimate heartache in an effort to prevent it from overcoming your original course. There are eager, fractured parts of your once trusting self–begging for your immediate attention. Pleading with you to take a second look at this pain and turn it into a success story. Encouraging you to grasp a unique opportunity and make up for where you once lost.

Know you are meant for some legendary stuff.

Instead of damsels in distress, I believe you and I were destined to be the heroines (and heroes) of our own narratives. The hero does not wait in dread or sit with vivid anxiety. He or she does not torture their self by poking excessive holes into open wounds. No, they take time to absorb their failures and recover from them triumphantly.

Quite often this means taking a stand in the hostile and merciless battle against the dreadful healing process. It is, wrestling with your self doubt and putting the voice of adversity in its place. Picking up your heart after a catastrophe and brushing off the rubble and dust.

Deciding the one you love is worth your fight and vulnerability.

Courage is sharing the ugly truth with the intention of honoring the people who deserve a whole lot better than your apathy. It is acknowledging the various possibilities of where the truth will lead. Not being swayed by the fear of the unknown and trusting that being honest is the only way you can grow.

Because you cannot acquire anything worthwhile, until you learn to first let go.

passion, fire, art, portrait, girl

–I pray that you, find your way through, whatever may be blocking you.