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.

 

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Victory for the Weary Warrior.

At the end of every battle there must be an assessment of the cost. This is where victors tally their gains and the defeated admit to the truth of their deficiencies. I may not have touched the grounds of a battlefield literally, but I have intimately experienced the effects of war. Even lovers turn into desperate fighters when their relationship hits a rough patch that seems to last indefinitely.

I stand in front of a mirror trying to connect to the dreamer who, only 2+ years ago was eternally hopeful and believed in grand possibilities. Wondering just how far I must have traveled to not recognize the woman staring back at me. I remember how it felt to be led by emotions in such a way that every choice felt like an opportunity for positive, lasting change. When I was certain about my options and bad decisions did not haunt me.

This disenchanted warrior now lies dormant under a mess of insecurity, asking impossible questions about her emotional capabilities. She shakes her mentally frustrated head in dread of being disappointed again. Fearing the worst is waiting patiently for its final chance to strike. It is different than someone who operates from a position of complete apathy.

Deep down there is a part of me that truly wants to believe.

I tremble with the thought that what I wanted was there all along. Because I spent countless nights battling my own stubborn feelings–losing an abundance of determination each time I was knocked back down. I knew hurt so well that I forced myself to develop a new narrative, just to get away from the self-inflicted misery. I stayed lost for so long, I did not want to be found.

Ironically, something inside still refused to give up. When warriors are surrounded at every angle, they know there is no such thing as retreat. It will be a bloody and relentless struggle, until the enemy admits their defeat. I liken this face-off to the impending conflict surrounding you and I.

art, doodles, pinky swear, black and white

Knowing my only position will be standing by your side.

 

Hearts Don’t Grow on Trees.

I want you to know that one day he will show up suddenly at your door. Brow beaten, shoulders hunched, tail between his legs…he will come when you least expect it–looking for a way back in. When this happens you must remember how you feel RIGHT NOW. Call to mind the emptiness he left in his wake. The weight he placed in your arms, the absence of his embrace.

Do not forget the promise you made to yourself
when you decided you never wanted to feel this way again.

He said you were a silly girl with a vacant head. Holding on to the fantasy he planted in your mind. His intentions were halfhearted and fickle–while he searched for reasons to run away. But none of his excuses will matter when he tries to knock down the walls around your heart. Resilient hearts do not grow on trees. 

hearts, trees, art, roots, prose

When he comes back, remind him how hard you fought to stay sane–and how easily he blamed you for what he lacked. Tell him you pushed–not because you were weak.
On the contrary.
You are the strongest woman he has ever had the opportunity to reject.
Assure him he will never get that chance again.

Draw strength from your spine and shake your self respect awake.

Someone who loves you would never treat you this way.

Dura Mater.

You are responsible for the way you survive
after being broken and battered and still doing life.

You own the materials necessary, to thrive.

We find it hard to trust people who haven’t really lived
or died at least twice. Pain does not discriminate, it is
an inevitable effect of the eternal design.

What sets you apart is how you get up after facing
earth shattering realities. Like the death of a person
who may still be alive. Stitching up a bleeding heart
when it is stomped on or cast aside.

It is being tough, but malleable when someone
questions your intentions. Staying in the ring
even if the fight grows uncomfortable.

Never giving up on someone who loves you.

Instead, we jump–the moment our stability drifts
in the water. Not realizing, the captain always goes
down with his ship. He owns all his mistakes.
Paying the ultimate price–his life.

Maybe you’ve already died. Grieved an “unholy”
vessel that was going nowhere fast. Perhaps
the time for reminiscing has already passed.
Your obsession with forgetting rewarded with
a sickly clean slate and a deceptively new start.

Your mind is clear and all the collateral you
previously invested is now focused on what
is in front of you. And yet, the past will not
let you go.

Remember: You are still responsible. 

For: what you leave behind and the damage you caused
that continues to haunt your waking thoughts. Even if
you know how to redirect your attention.

Some endings leave us wounded,
and are never fully resolved.

–Oh, but you can certainly try.

Ventilate.

Whenever it begins, it always hits me dead center in my chest. This tangible gnawing feeling of regret and incomparable pain. Only, nowadays I do not run away. I take a moment–no matter where I am and let it creep all over. Starting from my heart it spreads outwards, numbing my limbs. Forcing me acknowledge it.

I remember everything. Every lie, every promise made when I was happy and easily led astray. I know what I lost in my idleness. I try to push back. Tell myself I can handle the repercussions. Find solace in the time alone. At night my dreams betray me. I realize I am still holding on to the smallest embers burning in my heart.

The latest shock in this year of professionally breaking my own heart is the dreaded feeling it is not over yet. With three more months to endure in this errant and deceptive 2016, I have no idea what to expect. I run my course, keep my well earned scars to myself–careful not to accidentally charm anyone else.

darkness, art, prose, trees, strengthThe moment I feel it is time to forget, the hurt pulsates violently in protest. The damage, for all its entitlement demands to be heard. It will not allow me to shrug it off. I let it weigh down on me, just long enough to get the point across.

Sometimes you cannot recover what you lost.

I make a point now to enjoy every moment whether I am flying or crawling on the ground. Promise to give myself all the time I need to finally get it right once and for all. I will not spend the rest of my life in apathy–pushing away new connections or leaving a trail of tears in my wake.

What is gone was never meant to stay.

Punishing myself for the mistakes I made will not change anything. In spite of my flaws, I will never willingly give up. To the point where my determination keeps me blindly chasing after idealistic fantasies that are never based on cooperation and love. I make peace with the ones I chose–who left me hanging before the real work had even begun.

My heart may be stubborn, but my mind knows the story is done.

Brave. 

strong, heart, mind, selfcare, selflove, art, inspiration
Yesterday, I found one small shred of will power held captive in my back pocket.

It was whittled down to an unrecognizable pill, that I swallowed and let run its course through my system.

Like Alice, my confidence grew.
Thoughts, once cloudy, began to shine through.

Mending what I believed to be broken.

You can stand tall without armor, but wars cannot be won without backbones.

You are the only one who has to fight–for you.

All your energy spent with the wrong obsession
brought you to the right place.

At the right time.

Trust in the redirection.
Break ties with your trepidation.
Walk forward expectantly.
Your heart is an adaptable muscle.

Strengthen it, accordingly.