“There is nothing wrong with being alone.” I repeat this phrase silently until I am willing to accept its reality. For awhile now, I have tried to hold on to the idea of having an additional presence in my life. The one who took on part of my load and chose to share theirs equally with mine. But it is not easy eliminating parts of your narrative and allowing another person to write a combined present with you. It is difficult for me to eliminate the belief that I do not deserve happiness. Sometimes, I would rather be the only one carrying my baggage–unable to trust that another will take the time to unpack things properly with me. It is much more likely that I will be left behind. I have lived with this perspective for so long that even if someone tries to prove me wrong I sometimes self-fulfill this prophecy. Today however, I do not question if I am worthy. I question my own actions and the “why” of my tendency to sit with broken thoughts that do not help anyone–much less me. I wonder what it will take for me to feel safe enough to tell the truth honestly. But I am also wounded by my last attempts at understanding. I am aware of my contributions to this codependent cycle. Aware of the toxic environment I created that thrust me back into the pit of my undoing. But there is so much more to this than the hurt I inflicted because of the past I did not fully deal with. More to commitment than rejecting mistakes or giving up on someone when they push you away. More to the feelings of disappointment that cross the line between hating someone and loving them in spite of their shortcomings. Sometimes a person cannot give any more once their well is empty. And sometimes no matter how much you ask for their forgiveness, you may never be given the opportunity.
It costs too much sacrificing my peace just to gain another person’s trust and understanding. At the center of things, the problem is my willingness to choose someone or anyone other than me. I ran this race before and it always seems to end exactly the same. “Love” walking determinedly out the door, while my heart slowly breaks. The difference today is that I am awake. But being lucid does not mean the truth will be any easier to take. I will admit that I am not battered or beaten or in a progressive state of mourning. I am not waiting for this ugly cycle to start over again. I am better than fickle desires or suitors who can fall out of love without warning. I am not tied to anyone who does not want to be with me. I am a fighter. A notion of passion and perseverance that most people cannot even begin to embrace. There may be hints of dysfunction, but once I choose someone–my love for them is nearly impossible to erase. Love being the overused word when lust seems to be the honest answer for every feeling. Sometimes, we are forced to let go of those we truly love because they were not the right one from the beginning. And then there are moments when we throw them away because we are afraid and unable to see that we are making a mistake. Sometimes, we are so broken that love is the first thing we are willing to sacrifice when it feels like our life is going up in flames.
And sometimes, we fail to realize when this means we are being saved.
Too many steps forward and you will be forced to leap back to the beginning. In every instance of regression we feel slighted as if we did not have a say in whether or not we went all the way. It is fair to be weary. To have a heart weighed down by an irrepressible pain.
But the art of forgiveness requires us to change.
I have no stock in another person’s recovery steps. They can be silent and broken, refusing to ask for help. They can be recklessly happy and move forward with grace.
But the art of forgiveness means we do not stay the same.
Each time we “get back up” a piece falls off from our resiliency. After awhile, there is no more hopefulness. No more faith. No more peace. I have written bitter endings into my narrative so much so that now I do not know how to get rid of the ache.
But the art of forgiveness means we put old things away.
The dream died. If we are being honest it never had a chance to survive. You put two people in a story who both believe they are right and it is only a matter of time before they end up on different sides. Fighting for a future that neither can fully provide.
But the art of forgiveness means you move forward with the rest of your life.
I remember being assured that failure was not a permanent disposition. That mistakes made in earnest pursuit of the truth would eventually take me to the right place. Still, I endeavored to perfect my ability to get it right the first time. Who wants to drop the ball or try and then fall when there is an option to be the best at everything?
In early grade school I believed that I could handle it all. In time I learned that I had a broad aptitude for many different subjects, semi-athletic skills and a mouth that could fill in the remaining gaps. What I lacked, however, was that one specific thing that I could claim was meant for me.
Some people ran faster, scored higher and knew exactly what was in their destiny. I envied those with their heads on straight and dreams that were supported by their perfect families. I could not understand what made me different or why the idea of excellence seemed so far away.
I had a hard time believing that what was special about me was the fact that I was not the same.
As a parent now I urge my daughter to celebrate and learn from her mistakes. Perfectionism is a crippling disease and I vow not to let her inherit what I have had to learn the hard way. We all need to get more comfortable with the truth of our individual and beautiful flaws.
The truth about perfection, is that nobody is perfect at all.
We separate by force. Distance keeps us at arms bay.
But I know I’ll crave your embrace in these coming days.
I wonder if your peace still lies with me.
Can you even sleep?
Or is your heart at rest knowing the best part is over?
And all that remains is effort given in vain.
Most people give up too quickly.
Doubt consumes courage.
Love grows sour.
And interest steadily declines.
I continue to hope for you.
Pray you’re at your best.
Even if at the end of things,
I don’t express much clearly.
I refused to be consistent because
I never wanted you to depend on me.
I mirrored your habits.
Became someone less…
But I digress.
I just want your heart
to be at rest.
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.
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– Jen Cosby
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.
Instagram – @jen.cosby
Twitter – @jen__cosby
– Jen Cosby