2

Walking Through Fire

 

 

 

I do not like numbers. I can add and subtract, I have my multiplication tables memorized, and I can get by doing long division. There is nothing about numbers that I find funny or interesting. Instead, they bring out all my insecurities – all of them in full colour. All I do is cry, well when no one is looking. For a long time, it was something that I tried to hide from. Normally, I tell people up front that I am not a numbers girl. I don’t see any kind of life with them.

On Saturday, I did some online banking, paid some bills, and moved some money into some of my other accounts. Items I’ve done plenty times before, except I couldn’t figure out why I was $ 45 in the hole. I ended up going to my bank and asking the teller to articulate to me what was going on.

Sometimes a situation that doesn’t seem all that bad to you can in a flash turn on you.

Next thing I know I am experiencing so many emotions that I just want to run. I don’t want to explain why I did what I did because when you’re like this you feel like an idiot. Why do you feel the need to expand on this one situation that has completely humiliated you? Cause no one likes to feel like a fool. No one likes being reminded that we’re not perfect, that none of us have it all together. It was a mini-melt down for me. I haven’t experienced one in quite some time, in fact, it’s been years. When I started using antidepressants and I was trying to figure out which one worked the best that’s when I would experience them. I would be out of commission for 2-5 days. I literally could not function because I wasn’t used to feeling all these emotions. I had gotten really good at pushing them away.

I’m exhausted, but not defeated because even though I can’t see it, I know there is still more. I might be just a girl, a woman in a process with her stuff but I am still so much more. I’ve told myself that for years, it was easy to be forgotten, easy to hide and blend in with the background because I am really good at doing that. I need to remember in the process of all things that who I am doesn’t change even though I may not feel the confidence that is placed inside of me.

The emotions that erupted in me last Saturday are still having far-reaching effects on me. Namely, I think the emotions of my past are in effect ghosting on my present and my future. I can sit back and twiddle my thumbs and think there isn’t anything for me to do, or I can decide that I don’t want to be a spectator while my emotions take over what little common sense and intelligence inhabit inside of me.

Like fear, I think God is asking me if I will make a trek through the anger. After all, I am in the right place, I been residing in the desert to walk and hope that these dead bones will come back to life.

 

0

Travel and Tell No One…

 

 

Every Tuesday, I go to see Jose my only Spanish client, and fortunately for me, his Spanish-speaking Personal Support Worker (PSW) is also there. Jose has a habit of slipping into Spanish and he expects me to understand him, which I don’t. So while I am there cleaning or/and doing his laundry, Marta his Spanish PSW speaks to me in English.

In June, Marta found out that I was going on holiday because I asked her to translate to our client that I wouldn’t be coming to give him services that particular week. She asked me if I was going anywhere for my week off. I told her no that I wasn’t traveling any [exotic places] where for seven days. This seems to bother her because in her thickly accented English she asked, “Why aren’t you going anywhere?”

Truth be known I didn’t want to go anywhere, I don’t have any worthwhile savings, and I was only taking a week off. I might consider it if I was taking two weeks, but I regress because I don’t have any worthwhile savings. Oh, I also have a loan from school to pay off. Marta shook her head still not seeming to understand why I wasn’t going anywhere.

It was after this that she began to tell me she was going to Spain in January 2018. Marta is from Cuba and has never been to Spain. I realized as she spoke about this trip – and it surprised me – I have no desire to travel on a plane, which is another reason: no desire. I kept this piece of information to myself because I had a hunch she wouldn’t understand that either. Don’t get me wrong Marta is a very nice woman, but it’s one of those situations that I can’t literally run from. I don’t know if there is a typical Spanish woman, but if I were to typecast, I think Marta would fit that mold. I on the other hand not so much, though I have tried.

Not going anywhere for my holidays didn’t bother me as much as it did Marta or some of the other people who equated holidays to physical movement to another place with different weather. In my defence to you the reader, I have done some traveling aboard if you were wondering. I’m not opposed it, but right now God has limited my traveling abilities. My idea of a holiday [as of late] is to not go to work, stay at home, read, write, cook, bake, hang out with a friend, or go check out the  La Machine in front of my city’s City Hall last Friday.

I checked d out what the exact definition of travel was, and while physically traveling came up first there were other possibilities that were available. What I didn’t want to share was it’s nothing for me to travel to faraway lands via my imagination. It’s my belief too sometimes all this it’s all about appearances because my journey so far has enabled me to travel to areas of myself that I believed were impossible to find. For now, the only journey I am concerned with is the one that I am doing on the inside. The person I was yesterday is not the person I am today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Spinster Is An Ugly Word

 

 

Spinster Is an Ugly Word

Recently, I watched a BBC video of Jane Austen narrated by Lucy Worsely. For almost an hour, Worsely explains what it would’ve been like for young women to live in the British social class of the 19th century. In short, Austen never had a chance at the life she dreamed of. Daughters were to be married off, but Austen mostly due to her father being a pastor couldn’t offer much in a dowry to any eligible man who had an interest in her. It was also a hard sell for women who wanted to write and sell fiction. As they weren’t taken seriously as a man would’ve been in her position. I suspect it wasn’t expected for women to dream of more than a husband and a family of your own. I wonder if she had married, would we still know Jane Austen the author who changed the world of literature.

At the relatively young age of 41 years, Austen died penniless, alone and a spinster. Never to experience the life and lavishness that the characters in her books did. From a quiet and unknown woman came stories that have and will continue to entertain and foster her reader’s appetite for the kind of life that she hoped and dreamed of but fell short because fiction isn’t reality.

Austen was so much more than just a spinster, she had written novels that would transform the world of literature and even beyond. Sadly, she was never able to see or enjoy the status her writing gained years after her death. I could say I have a lot in common with Jane Austen but I don’t. She didn’t live past her 41st year, she lived in the UK, and most importantly she in the 19th century. But as I watched this video, I realized how fortunate I am to live in the present. I don’t know where the ideas came from those women who in the eyes of that particular era had no potential beyond the roles as a wife and mother.

Dejected and Sad

That was the one emotion that fluttered its wings inside of me as I watched an actress play act out (in the documentary) what Austen might’ve been thinking or hope for. In her situation, hope was in low supply. She didn’t leave home to start university or, nor did she harbor dreams to live on her own, however, Austen did for a period of time. She worked on her writing and kept sending her manuscripts out to the publishers.

I’m single, and I am 41 years old turning 42 in less than two months. As I viewed this video, I didn’t see the similarities to Austen rather all the opposites. If I had been alive in the 19th century I might be more like Jane Austen relying on the kindness of others. Instead, I live on my own and I don’t rely on others to pay my rent, bills, groceries and any other extras. When I think about all I have compared to young women in the 19th century without a substantial dowry to catch the eye of an eligible man of the marriageable age. I don’t have a lot in savings, I have a school loan that I am slowly chipping away at. I would like to plan for the future but I don’t have plans for the single version of me. I have plans for the married version of me, and even that has grown smaller as I am trying to remain in the present, trying to enjoy myself now. I love living on my own and having my own space. In the last ten years, I have been able to see why it’s good to be single, and just do what I want and when I want.

Sometimes I feel this stigma of being single, even though statistics tell me that I’m not in short supply. But I am not a part of the hookup era, nor am I looking for a filler until the real deal comes in. I’m in this obvious meanwhile I wait phase, the place where you wonder, you dabble in things that you might not do when you’re otherwise married. This is my time to fly, to flourish but like Jane Austen, it is a hard place to occupy.

A lot of women like reading about the Regency era because it’s time period has this romantic element to it. It’s so foreign to our understanding. There was no rush, no time restraints as we experience them now. We have answers to a lot of what made life hard and difficult. I could list pros and cons to both periods. Most women want the romantic daydreams of their childhood even if no one is able to truly live up to those ridiculously handsome and debonair men.

And sometimes I have these tiny voices echoing all over the place reminding me that where I am and who I am isn’t enough when I know it is more than enough. Just being in a place and liking, even enjoying where you have been placed. Not worrying about society’s expectations. Don’t get me wrong it is important to keep those hopes and desires, but to many of us, it’s a heavy burden to carry as the years continue to pass. I’ve told God more than once to take the desires away, but they remain and so it tells me a couple of things…

Persist. Hope. Trust.

If you were in my interior like God is, you would know this not what I want to do. This is not natural to me because I have made living my life the very opposite of these three things. It’s slightly annoying but I think it’s a bit of an inside joke on me. I can’t see my potential but I am going forward blinded to what is possible. What is conceivable is that yes my prayers will be answered. If I have learned one thing about God it is that He isn’t in a rush. My perceived deadlines are just my impulse to want to control a situation that isn’t in my doable skills set. I don’t think I will next Jane Austen, far from it, but her tenacity to continue writing despite her situation is a token to me that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed to least of those.

2

new hallelijah

When I was younger, I gave up easily, the world all around me seemed impossible to penetrate, and I couldn’t see any possibilities. My attitude towards believing in myself was empty. So much was going on that there was a thick fog wrapped around my mind, and I wasn’t able to see through it.  Instead of moving forward like I wanted, I kept taking steps backward. There is this spirit of persistence that has steadily grown inside of me with time. My understanding of my younger self is fuller and more forgiving.  Every day, He fills me with a new song, some of them are loud and some are whispered. Each time I run to the desert, he comes looking for me. He knows where all of his children are. His mercy goes on forever.

2

How I Found My Superpower

Whenever doing a physical activity in school, the teachers would usually pick two people to choose the teams. I was always left to the last.

YEP

I don’t have a single athletic bone in me.

It just seems that everyone is good at playing sports. They’re not awkward. They don’t almost kick the ball, their foot just slipping past the ball, or the basketball just hits the rim of the hoop, and then is ruled out-of-bounds as it drops out the court.

In elementary and junior high, it was a big deal because you were judged on your Olympic ability in kicking, running, serving, dunking, etc. But on the other hand, I am a fabulous spectator! Math and Gym were not slam-dunks for me. This contributed to my oddity, to being weird because having the naturally athletic gene is what helps with your popularity. But I just felt so out of it, and I still don’t understand the reasoning’s behind playing Ultimate Frisbee, and then afterward at a coffee shop or pub. If you want to socialize, just skip ahead to the pub and order food already!

But I’m not completely without game because I can speed walk!

I’m sure, I would probably monopolize the category of speed walking if they ever created it as an event at the Olympics. They haven’t to my knowledge, so I continue on my own.

So What Is My Superpower?

Often I get caught up in I’m no good, and no one sees me syndrome. But He who sees me remains silent with his hands clasped behind his back even on the most intensive days. When I am left on my own, I do find the ability to allow Him to remind me that it is Him that this is all for. That my days of belonging are over because I belong in and to him. Not that it helps all the time, but if I am reminded of my beginnings, and at some point, I will hopefully gain sight of His position in my life.

Somethings don’t make sense, but sometimes the interconnectedness of relationships between strangers, your friends, family, and enemies don’t make sense either. People are what I want to talk about, the same people who disappoint me can at the same time turn around and show me that they do listen. We’re all flawed and that flows into everything you do. A lot of the time we push away what is important like our feelings, our limitations, and struggles. These are the things we need to be honest about in relationships.

I’m a bona vide introvert, so typically, I spend a lot of time to myself because I feel drained by spending too much time with others. It’s easy to isolate myself because of my past struggle with depression and my peers, but as I was attempting to heal from it, I found or re-discovered that I like connecting with people on a one on one basis or even two to five people, but there’s a catch! When my time is spent conversing with others and is spent in the shallowness of today, I am exhausted. I crave a depth and richness of conversation and connection with another person that is hard to find.

Using my Superpower

Most people have no patience for the deeper things of life. I  have found knowing my personality type has been an encouragement because it shows me what is normal for me. It has shown me who I am and that God really did know what he was doing. Even though sometimes I still struggle, I now know that my perspective isn’t necessarily wrong as I always would assume because others would not acknowledge the way I see things. Introversion and my typing is part of the map that is specific to how I think, see and process the world around me. It’s good, it’s really good. In fact, I have realized that who I am is what most likely kept me out of the popular group that I thought would make my life so much better!

 

 

 

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Honest Writing

Most read to escape.

And if you can’t make that pretend world ‘real’ then what you need to ask yourself, is what is it that you’re doing on writing words on a piece of paper, or clicking words on a keypad?

What writing is not, is for the faint of heart. If you’re truly dedicated to the craft and you don’t make an effort to make it real on paper, it will only disappoint readers. It has to be REAL, even it means it’s hard.

 

 

4

Get Me Out of Here

When things got so overwhelming for me in junior high during the time I was being bullied, I would grab the washroom key and leave the classroom. Most of the time, I just would choose a stall and inhale the quiet, and read the messages that were scribbled on the cubicle walls. I would describe it as a time of desperation. Just being able to get out of the four walls of the classroom was freedom in a world that constantly had me on guard. I just wanted it to stop, the constant picking on, the constant ribbing, the constant negative voices that had taken residence in my head.

A few weeks ago, there was a parish mission, and the retreat speaker spoke of a quote that Henry David Thoreau so eloquently expressed during his time spent on Walden Pond:

‘The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation’

The retreat leader likens it to the kind of world that we live in now. There was this awareness inside of me when I heard him speak about quiet desperation. I identified with the word, desperation to describe a time of my life when it seemed out of control. It feels like you literally holding onto this rope that you are convinced is the only way to keep going. A quick sand way of living. I believed that there was nothing I could do, but as time continues to show me that I was wrong in my assessment. I did have a choice, but I wasn’t aware of my choice at the time. And the Lord has shown me that I wasn’t alone as I had initially believed.

I had never heard this quote until last week, and it was really impressed upon me of and how hidden this quiet desperation is among us because no one talks about it. No one talks about loneliness, shame, fear or anger because these are the emotions that lead us to live lives of quiet desperation.  We are desperate to get things in order in our lives. We want to be what others expect of us so there is no peace in our hearts, but instead, it is filled with deadlines from work, relationship woes and dreams put on hold.

What Can Be Done?

Yes, there are tons of quotes that encourage you to follow your dreams. Have courage, be brave and walk a path that no else has. All very noble things. But life keeps disturbing your plan. Obligations like family, work, friends, and of course procrastination. Anxiety creeps into all of these situations. I could tell you that things will get better, but desperation comes from a deep-seated fear that nothing will change. The good news is that change is always happening. Desperation largely comes from our belief systems and the world around us, which also dictates our beliefs systems.  But there are also things which we have no control over, systems which enslave people despite what they believe in, and some of these very beliefs are what causes others to rage against them.

I don’t know when I stopped living in desperation and when I stopped holding on for dear life, leaving marks on people who weren’t supposed to be my life preservers. The more I went to Jesus, the more he just came in and started putting things right. It’s a blur but a big part of it was prayer and trying to live as I desired to be in Him. I allowed for the change that I needed in order to be filled with His spirit. Our culture demands more of us every day, week, month and year. It’s exhausting and part of what kills our spirit, but the more I learned what the Lord expected of me, the more my desire became to not follow the lies of desperation.