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

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.

The Promise Ring. (300 words)

Artist: Henn Kim

I can still feel the imprint of your ring on my finger, reminding me I am not alone. There may be no more messages or pleasantries exchanged—but my thoughts never stray too far from you. I never thought I would have to mourn you, while you were still alive. But I remember the shock in your eyes flip from anger to surprise after I threw said ring in your face. Our final goodbye. How I knew it was over that night in November when you did not come home the 2nd time in a row.

I say little about such things, because emotions have a faulty memory. Extending mercy when absolutely necessary feels impossible when the absence of love kicks you in your gut. I would twist this ring–the symbol of your promise to me–and wonder just how long the truth had been postponed. There was this one time I cried all night, trying to reconcile the gaps in my punctured heart.

Praying that there would be new life after the one we built together fell apart. 

Now you stand in front of me, ringing the doorbell to a house where you used to have a key. I count the amount of days that I have had to do this all on my own. In my dreams we are stronger than ever with a bond that is unbreakable. But dawn wakes me from my fantasy and it pains me to admit you are gone. Prayed for the day God would lead you back home.

I watch curiously as the expression on your face changes from nervous anticipation to quiet relief as I let the distance from the last 6 months close quickly between us.

Sometimes the fight does not begin until after we choose to give up.

Intermission. (300 words)

Sometimes people plan to understand you, but along the way they lose sight of their intention. In parties of two, there will always be the one who needs more…attention. Today, it seems that person is me. I would much rather be the hero in our story–in spite of the fact that neither one of us is certified to save. Under duress, I burn my house down because I was never given another option. My experience of life taught me it is better to go out swinging rather than give compromise a try. In my family, we do not just disagree. We will not speak for weeks–sometimes going to physical blows if a wound is particularly damaging.

I try to explain this truth, but your eyes only see how this increases our distance. I admit I am lost and need directions to cross the bridge back to you. However, I wonder if you will meet me in time or change your mind because I need more certainty than the average human being. It is not fair to ask someone to love us unconditionally if we are not willing to sacrifice our “comfort” for peace. I am wrong often but it is hard to make amends to a person whose arms are closed to you.

Lovers on a mission need to know when it is time to let go. Not of each other, but of the animosity burning a hole in the foundation of the building. What is most important to you? Because pain has a way with words–twisting their meaning until you forget what and who you are fighting for. We are more than dysfunction but even the enemy has a say. He will always stand in opposition, asking for more chaos and destruction. And right now we are losing.

Merry Exodus.

I wonder why some promises we make to ourselves (and others) fall through. It is not as if we walk around with closed eyes, unaware of the consequence of prematurely sharing our lives…right? We generally speak about the things we hope for…and the life we plan to lead. The futuristic perfect picture of our greatest dreams. A fatal overdose of happiness and infinite stability.

If I believed for one minute that my next relationship would inevitably be a bust, would I continue the adventure in spite of this thought? If I knew it would end before we even start, would I still have the courage to soldier on?

Christmas this year brought me my own, personal miracle. After I spent a lot of my time hating 2016 for knocking me up and smacking me around. Eventually, I was pushed down enough that I found the strength to stand up. Under the branch of adversity, I was so deep in the mud that I did not care what (and who) else I lost. Content with the single faceless spade, in a losing hand of cards. So much so, that finding the path back to myself was nearly impossible. There are parts of me that still feel battle weary and fatigued. As if I am not confident that I have spent long enough completely accepting me for me.

I needed to accept the way I abandoned my home in pursuit of someone else. How I, chipped away at my (low level of) self-respect trying to convince everyone that I was worthy of their decisiveness. Worthy of the love I missed at critical times in my broken childhood.

A lonely little girl, trying to understand why her family fell apart. 

I love so deeply that I risk being consumed by madness when the dream starts to die. When you are not met in the middle and you are the “victim” of, unrequited love you can not so gracefully obsess over every detail trying to figure out where you went wrong. I constantly questioned the validity of my intentions while drowning out the voice of rational thought.

But back to this Christmas miracle.

I have the chance now to make a healthy choice. Waves of anxiety roll in the background of my fragile progress, looking for tiny cracks in the foundation. I crave the opportunity to be different. All of us have experienced missed connections because we were not ready and failed to rise up. Dragging heavy bags filled with ghosts of our past into epic relationships that could have been our last.

girl, silhouette, flashing lights, art, perspective

Source: Unknown

Conscious of the fear of beginning again. 

Pain tries to build walls of resistance in our hearts. It is an immovable block of stubborn gall that stands in the way of what we truly want and ultimately need–healing.

Pain says you are “fine” being alone.
Fine wounding others in your selfish pursuit of home.
Fine cradling hurt because it is all you have been known to do.
Fine being broken because it became comfortable for you.

Pain traipses carelessly through every aspect of your life, like a dark grey storm cloud of doubt and doom. Distorting your perspective and covering the truth.

The truth that you are worthy of all the love you missed when you were young.
You are worthy of the time it takes to mend each broken fence you regretfully tore down.
You are worthy of second chances and an ally who will stand by your side, no matter what.

You are worthy of the impossible fight. 

And fight we must, to heal…once and for all.

 

Hollow.

I woke up in a panicked sweat
searching desperately for something
I knew was not in my bedroom.
Shadows creep–as the darkness plays
against my subconscious’ attempts
at understanding.

I am not mourning or acknowledging
any further distress. I accepted
the keys to my own happiness.
Driving away from this detour
on my way back towards
a more beneficial path.

Doubters laugh–
mocking my progress.
Waiting for the day I fall
Hoping I ask them for help
just so they can applaud their own
pointless existence.

But they were never any
friends of mine.

I am the definition of
tough love and perseverance.
The one who never gives up–unless
I am forced to retreat.

But this isn’t really about me.

It’s about being shaken to the core
by a dream and reaching out
in vain–knowing no one will ever
fully see what you are going through.

It’s about putting on a
brave face and welcoming
the certainty of the unknown.
Being a responsible adult–
even when you find it hard to believe.

Admitting you messed up
and making amends
so long as it does not distract
from your peace.

And if I can just get to this final place
of forgiveness and self-love…

art, drawing, girl, dreams, sara herranz

I know these nightmares will eventually stop.