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Puttin’ on the Ritz

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One of the things that I love to do during the summer is paint my toe nails. When I was younger I would paint my finger nails too, but it would never stay chip free. Usually I would choose a shade of red until my nails started to turn yellowish, which I found out meant that I wasn’t allowing my nails to breathe. So I gave nail polish up for a while, but eventually I went back to having coloured toe nails as I love wearing sandals with my coloured toes nails in the summer!

Blue and Borrowed

It’s not a cheap bottle of nail polish, but it has captured the exact shade of blue that I wanted to paint my toe nails this summer. It all started last year when I saw a woman with this beautiful shade of light baby blue on her toe nails. My search began in earnest. And I wanted to share it with someone who I thought might enjoy it as well, but I had no idea that the nail polish would spurred on its own battle.

The Other Side of the Coin

So I have been asking myself, is the battle that was spurred on by nail polish worth my time and effort? At one point, I didn’t see the choices that I had, and yes I could believe those lies I told myself, but instead of putting on airs, I kept pulling back the layers that I had collected over the years. I didn’t want to be that person who kept doing it over and over before I caught myself in the act, but…

Believing the lie that I wasn’t deserving of what I desired when it was God, who had given me these desires in the first place. So when I decided to step back, it afforded me the luxury of seeing what was really in front of me. Being single and being friends with someone who is married isn’t easy, but it has allowed me to see that my needs being met in a relationship is just as important as the other person who is married. Singleness seems like a plague, but it’s just a station of life that I’m in now. Being exactly as how God wants me to be and act is sometimes hard when you become aware of what the other person is asking of you. Do you bend to their expectations or let your hair stick out at odd angles?

Cultivating a Value System

So many times I have turned around and looked the other way, so I didn’t have to deal with the conflict, the fear and the rejection I’m expecting. When I take the time to reflect on what made me feel uncomfortable or angry, it’s only then that I start to see a clearer picture emerge. I am big on quality, and it’s what I am looking for in just about everything that I seek. But especially in people who are in my life. Often it’s lacking, but then it can turn up where you least expect it. I am learning that I love it when someone  unexpectantly shows me what they love or like about me. It’s not what I can do for them, but just for being who I am. There are no pretenses, no masks to be put on. These people are the ones that love me just as I am. No strings attached. I love that they can see who I am and be able to put it into something solid. Validation just flows out of their mouths and I take in like sunbathing on the beach.

Are you part of a community where you feel you can just be who you were made to be?

They take you whatever way you present yourself to them? I don’t know about you but it allows me to truly be who I am without fear that they don’t ‘getsomething about me. Whether we admit or not, we all want to be valued by those we love, but it doesn’t always happen in a nice and neat way. Sometimes were not understood as we would like to be. My high sensitivity has led me to experience these kind of situations. It’s frustrating to speak as clearly as you can, and still be misunderstood, like you’re speaking foreign language, but also not feel the support you were hoping from this particular circumstance.

Neither did these circumstances boost my low self-esteem, and my lack of value in myself, never mind receiving value from other people. I have learnt it is easy to see the value others show you, when you come to truly value yourself. Arriving at a place where whatever happens your confidence in yourself isn’t blown off into the the gutter.

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Elements

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The last few months have been puzzling as I face certain aspects in my life.

Normally, I would say I can find a balance between work, writing, and everything else, but it’s not happening right now.

I’m caught in this swirl of emotions and I want to use words to paint what is going on inside of me. I don’t think I can find God and I know he’s somewhere… just beyond my reach.

No regrets

A thousand years ago, I had a plan all mapped out, I was going to travel overseas with one of my best-friends, we’d go all over the place.  But he back out after being offered to drive an Ice Cream truck all summer, and that trumped backpacking all over Europe. Back then I had no idea that I struggled with depression and anxiety, and  it would’ve be the worst thing to do. And that so-called best-friend, turned out to be someone who was hiding, and well, some things are best left in the dust of the past.

The last few months have reminded me of my twenties when I was running away from who I was, and trying to be someone who I thought everyone would want. I feel as if I’ve lost my sense of direction, the internal compass inside of me is broken. I haven’t been following my plan for a long time, but it’s like the plan that I thought He had given me has disappeared. I want the Lord to fix this broken map, but he hasn’t supplied what I thought I needed.

God isn’t beyond my reach

I say that because I want and know Him to be aware of me. In my desiring, I want him to acknowledge me and swooped me up into His arms.

At times like this my anger usually flares up because it’s a natural reaction. I want Him to take notice that my prayers aren’t being answered. I hope that by being angry he’ll do something. Instead, He remains quiet through my tears and false accusations, and waits until I might be willing to listen to him.

In the last couple years, I have been taking (insert sarcasm here) a crash course called: This is Your Anger. In the beginning, I experienced my anger almost as a voyager because I was very aware of how my body felt as this secret rage roared to life inside of me. It was out of control, it was loud, inappropriate, selfish and full of pride. I would spend weeks, soaked in this emotion until I realized I didn’t want to feel this out of control. Instead of staying quiet, patient and trusting, and persisting in prayer even when the road in front looks bleak and bleeding.

Everything happening seems so contrary to what I thought would actually play out. In all of this I know that even though it all seems out-of-place, it isn’t at all. But that’s the thing, we are inhabitants of a world where stupid crazy things occur, and people wonder why; how did this happen? His plan is still playing out in a world gone completely mad, where common sense has simply dried up.

Gratitude

In the midst of all it His mercy still springs forth, and it was and is for me, in the form of giving thanks. Beginning last week, I began hearing (not audibly) about thanking him.

1 Thessalonians~5:16

So I began thanking Him for what I don’t like, for the situations which I tire of, and I found that as I listed my complaints that I wouldn’t think twice of thanking Him that a peace quietly arose inside of me.  It moves my focus off what I don’t have, want, or covet, and I am finding myself closer to what has been missing.

 

 

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Colour Blind

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Squeaky wheels always get the most attention.

I‘m the one who is quiet and sits in the back so I won’t be called on. Curiosity crawls inside of me, but often the questions remained inside my head. Inside, the high tides of anxiety overwhelm me and any thoughts or ideas were washed off in the waves of fear.

Value thy self

As I was reflecting back to growing up, I resembled a mixed up Rubik’s cube. All that was needed was someone to turn all the cubes back to what it looked like in the store. In many ways, I am to blame to how and what I believe about myself now. Instead of acting out, drinking, taking drugs, I isolated myself from everyone and thing. It wasn’t the greatest self-care.

I wanted to be valued but I had zero value to for myself, but to be honest, I didn’t know how to value who I am and was as a little girl.

Lately, the Lord has bringing been up how I don’t value myself, and he’s been showing me through my love languages. Even when you don’t love yourself, He continues to love and show me that I am deserving and worthy of all of his gifts that he has given me. I am priceless to Him.

People come from all over the world to see famous paintings such as Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, or the Prodigal Son at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. But most of us don’t put much work into ourselves because we’ve been taught not to value who we are. Trying to find your value in what you are or to others, will never satisfy the thirst to be all that you were made to be, and what is that? When we start to see ourselves through God’s eyes, the labels we attach to ourselves aren’t what we once thought they once were.

I don’t want to be confined to what I am, defined by what clothes I wear, or who I associate with.

Some of my clients call me their cleaning lady, and if I was a kettle you would see me boiling over with anger. I don’t consider myself just a cleaning lady, but it is a huge aspect of what I do every day. A lot of the seniors I work with want and need to make a connection – we all do – and sometimes I am the only person they will see all day. I have been doing this job for over five years, and every day I am working to do a better job. By putting value into my work maybe they will know they are valuable. Maybe they won’t feel the sting of being forgotten by their family or long for things to be the way they used to be.

Where we are now is to know how much God values us. He doesn’t give us what we can’t handle, or so were told. I am learning that this might hold true when we surrender what isn’t ours to hold onto, and put value into what He is giving us right now.

The value of our life does not depend on the place we occupy, it depends on the way we occupy that place.

St. Therese

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You Belong Here

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One.

It was all I was allowed to pick after I had written a letter to my Guidance teacher detailing all the bullying from my classmates. I don’t remember how long the letter was, but I felt was at the end of my line, and I wanted – no needed to get this all out in the light. According to my guidance teacher, the entire staff meeting had been all about the letter I had written. They came (the teachers) up with one option: suspend one of my classmates in a class of 30.

All I wanted was to belong.

And I didn’t know then, but I know now that belonging meant that I could come and go as I liked. I wouldn’t have to adhere to a certain guideline for anyone to like me. I wanted friends but the kind who I could really be comfortable to be myself and to be fully in His truth of who I am.

Yet, it doesn’t seem possible when it’s only right when each gender is being treated equally and fairly. It spikes my ire because that’s not what it’s about at all. God has created each of us equally and it’s not based on our gender, it’s based on one thing: we are His children.

People complain that the Church needs to change. We need to change doctrine and dogmas that were made hundreds and thousands years ago because they’re outdated. We have to get with the program and make the Church more applicable to the 21st century.

God has blessed me to be who I am, and nothing I do will enhance or lessen it. But first I need to accept it. If I didn’t accept who I was made to be, I would still be going around in circles searching for something that wasn’t created. It’s easy to hide and press down our emotions to satisfy those around us.

 Stop.

I started looking inward, and at every step, my focus was to find out who I was. It wasn’t easy or neat. It was very painful. I learned that sometimes the only way of getting to know who I was, was to sit in the very emotions that I wanted to avoid. Yes, that meant the fear, the loneliness, and the anger because I needed to know the lies in order to know what truth was. Gradually as I learned, I found out that I wasn’t a terrible person, in fact I was an interesting person!

Whenever I get impatient with God for taking too long with me, it’s always helpful to remind myself that I am unique in His eyes. He is not finished with me because when he’s done I will be His masterpiece.

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John ~8:32

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Coming of Age

In my senior year of High School, I had a placement with a organization called (Ontario) Public Research Interest Group ([O]PRIG). They are a grassroots student-based organization committed to struggling for injustices in the environmental and social justice, radical research, community engagement and popular education. At the time, I was completely unaware of how left-sided this organization is, but at that point I was a clueless pagan. I was 18 years old and desperate to graduate from school, and if I could be earning credits while not in a school building – I was in.

Even though I didn’t go onto university, though in an alternate world I would’ve earned my BA and MFA. (useless information – I photo-1431051047106-f1e17d81042fknow!) I was introduced into a world that I was not familiar with, and one that intimidated me. I assume they were all these super smart intellectuals with their heads in the clouds. Not really.

At the time, I was a little starry-eyed because I love information, and this organization was packed with all of what I was interested in at the time like; the environment, health, gay rights and ecojustice, etc… It was right around the time that McMillan Bloedel was clearcutting the temperate rain forests found in British Columbia, in particular, in and around Clayoquot Sound. Being around people who I knew to believe in the same things that I thought to be important was huge for me.

As I got settled in and began pulling together articles and assisting in their newsletter, The Radical Chameleon. I got to know the two women, Sandrine and Judi who ran OPIRG on a full-time basis. They were the only two people who were paid,everyone else like me, was a bonafide volunteer.

Some of the students were in and out, but I remember one who I actually spoke with quite a bit. I think his name was Alex, however his face and his voice are very clear in my memories of him. I’ll admit in the beginning, I was a little apprehensive of him. He expressed himself quite vocally, and was willing to argue with anyone who disagreed with him. Still I had some good chats with him, while he worked on his writing. He was the first person that I knew was a gay man, he didn’t hide it at all. He talked often about his partner. The gay rights activist weren’t as busy as they have been in the last decade and a half, but I was brought up to respect others, and not tell them what they believe isn’t right. Interiorly,I didn’t understand where I stood, but something didn’t sit right in me, yet who I was to say it was wrong…

Fast forward: Friday June 26, 2015. I work half days on Fridays, so I was headed to my last client of the morning. This client normally watches CNN, and while I don’t watch news,or have a TV, the majority of my clients do, and sometimes there are things that I would rather not hear or see. Only in snatches had I heard something about the Supreme Court in the U.S. and same-sex marriage. When I came into my clients apartment, I walked into a situation where some kind decision had been made, and clearly the supporters were joyous and celebrating their victory.

Quickly, I understood that my neighbours across the border were rejoicing because their Supreme Court had made same-sex marriage law throughout their land. No longer in just some states was it legal, but in all fifty states. I felt this deep sadness interiorly, and I kept praying for His mercy to be poured out. I felt this silent outrage at their apparent joy. They believe it is just a matter of time that we’ll(the dissenters) realize that they’re right, or otherwise we’re bigots. Love is just love, right? Most of us don’t even know what or how to love others. I know that I am still trying to figure out how to love others, and my past choices hinders this simple act. We have a choice in how we love, and just because our perspectives may differ that doesn’t mean we can’t still be acquaintanced or even friends.

In a perfect world, it would be a place of changing perspectives, a coming of age for all ages, not just teenagers on the edge of adulthood. The mystery of God doesn’t prevent us from experiencing this, but many of us limit ourselves once we reach a certain point in our lives, and slow down to a halt, we get stuck in routines, and forget that God has a plan for all of us.

 

 

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Seeing Double

photo-1429637119272-20043840c013 Last Friday, I left my wallet at the Library. It wasn’t until I got home that I discovered that I didn’t have my wallet with me. It was confirmed by the message that the guy from the library left. If I could’ve hurled blood-curdling screams I would’ve, but I do have neighbours, and I didn’t want them to think I was off my rocker. It didn’t help that I was already mad at the receptionist when I went to go pick up my paycheck. I don’t know if she didn’t listen to me, or couldn’t hear me. It was a bad scene inside my head. It was already not the greatest week for me, my clients were all doing things that well, according to my supervisor could easily boot them off the schedule. I have a bad habit of measuring my worth by what the popular group is doing, and lucky for me there is a plethora of triggers just waiting to be used. But lately the Lord keeps bringing up this subject of worth in my life, and as much as I would like to press next, I just don’t think this is going to happen. When the Lord wants something, He usually gets it. I don’t have an exact marker of when it began, but I figured that I could stop the pain that I felt, the pain of rejection, of not knowing if I was loved. Today, I know it’s better known as a defence mechanisms, but I thought it was taking care of myself when no one else knew that I needed help. If I could keep myself hidden, and no one problems then everything would be good. Right? Not so much I have discovered. I fed myself messages that I thought would help me get through the day, words that would deflect the loneliness, anger, frustration, whatever emotions held me captive that particular day, week or month. It’s starting to back fire on me. On the way back to the library, I tried ignoring the pain caused by the blisters caused by the constant rubbing of skin and leather. It’s not the sandals fault, in fact, these are not those cheap ones that you would expect to cause blisters. No, I am not breaking them in – I had them for a few years. Nor were they cheap.  I could’ve before put some band-aids on the open and oozing blisters, but I decided that the pain wasn’t that bad, and besides I was used to it. Afterwards as I took the time to put some plasters on them, I felt immediate relief. At the time, I was angry and I was determined to show myself no mercy. But underneath it I think God is trying to show me the possibility of more, something a lot better than what I have been forcing on myself. There’s several sides to me depending on who I am with. It started because I didn’t know I could feel certain emotions against people I believed I was to love. I was never encouraged to take care of myself, and I’m not blaming anyone but myself because only I know what I need. My needs have a voice, and one of them is knowing that I am worth it, that I am not this terrible person that I have told myself for years. A big part of the problem was I didn’t know who I was in Him. Didn’t know that I am all the things and more that I have always wanted to be. I don’t know the ‘more’, and that’s for God to disclose at His pleasure, and that is one of my weakness. I’m afraid that there isn’t anything, that it’s just space. That space is where the darkness pervades and eats up the light where God is and is waiting for me to tell my’ bullies’ to get lost. You see he’s given me what I need to get rid of the ‘bullies’, I can believe the lies or I can focus on the truth, hope and love that he has given me. I can blame the depression or I can renounce the belief of the lies that I have believed for so long. But the Lord seem to be saying to me, “That’s enough.” Enough of what? Denying His birthright in me, His plans for me,(Jer~29:11-14) I don’t have to go between two personalities, two beliefs because the one that God has given me is full of His life.

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Beggars of His Heart

 

There was this guy named Peter in High School, who would consistently end the majority of his conversations with, “You know … beggars can’t be choosers.” Somehow, he would or could always link it with what was said and it was annoying. I didn’t want to be or think of myself as a beggar. In reality, it would put me alongside the homeless who beg for money on the street. At that point, I firmly believed that there was no way that I could stand beside the homeless who beg, and have anything in common with them.

We are dust, and without a Creator, we are nothing. (Genesis 2:7 – paraphrased)photo-1414637104192-f9ab9a0ee249

Somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten our roots, our very foundation. We have become a society of puppets believing we are entitled. We will lie, cheat, brag, be prideful just to garner what we believe is rightfully ours, but most of  us don’t remember that Adam and Eve had everything they needed, but it took a snake – a talking snake – to convince them to take a bite of the apple.

Poverty is a gift that most shun because it seen as degrading. The one with the most money always wins. What if I told you that God sees the beauty in poverty – not in the materialistic sense – but a poverty that begins and ends  with him. The person lives with knowledge of providence, and because of that he/she lives simply. They are not possessed by their things, and they would willingly give everything away if it meant they could be closer to their Lord. They long to be who they are in Him. Beauty isn’t the diamond ring on a finger, though, yes it is beautiful, or the house where those who you love most reside. It’s something profound inside of you that He has personally placed in these individuals. They delight in their Lord and the life that He represents to them. A reality of a personal relationship with the Lord God of the Universe is so palatable and their enthusiasm for life and God is contagious.

Most of us think poverty is something that we can get rid of, but the poor, as Jesus reminds us, will always be with us. Trying to eliminate the materially poor population is like trying to get rid of mildew. Jesus lived in poverty while on earth. In simple obscurity in Nazareth, He learned the trade of carpentry from his foster father Joseph. For 30 years, we don’t have any records of what exactly Jesus was doing in that period, but we can be certain he was learning what it meant to live and be in poverty. His heart was and still [is] poor, but he was, and is open and full of the Spirits leading. Our attachments to the stuff in our life hold us back to receive. The more we let Him in, the more we can and will experience to live in His poverty, which is all of His magnificence.