I have been on the verge of panic mode this week. Nothing going on is inherently “bad”. It’s just that there is a LOT going on – school assignments, deadlines to meet, performances to prepare for, social events to attend, and the list could go on and on. Although it’s a lot to juggle, I’m just trying to do as much as I can do well, within the constraints of each single day – 24 hours is all we’ve got and there is NOTHING we can do to change that, so we might as well make the best of it, right?!
So what’s got my mind going into crisis mode? There’s no easy way to say this; no way to lessen the blow…but would I be being “real” if I weren’t completely honest? No. So here goes nothing:
I am very scared of returning home next week.
Weird, right?! I mean, I’ve been away from home for almost 4 months, shouldn’t I be ready for a break? Shouldn’t I be ready to see everyone who I’ve missed so much? I am DEFINITELY ready for a break and, for the most part, I am looking forward to reuniting with a few close friends while I’m in town. And I absolutely can NOT wait for some sweet puppy kisses!
Being away from home for this extended period of time, living on my own in my own apartment, creating my own life, becoming more of who God intends for me to be, making new friends, learning everything that I’ve learned…it’s been AMAZING. It’s been REAL…I’ve been able to be REAL. And since I’ve been able to be so real, I’ve also been able to witness how people respond to who I truly am – and for the most part, everyone has responded with love. That’s something I didn’t get much growing up because I was never truly able to be “real”.
I was “Sarah Catherine”…the musician, the friend, the daughter, the sister, the waste of space, the attention seeker, the selfish one, the worthless one, the one who had to ALWAYS perform. I thought I had it pretty good growing up…and I will admit that I had it better than a lot of people. But it wasn’t until I felt the absolute freedom of being the real me, that I became aware of how much abuse I endured while back home in VA.
I’m tired of keeping silent. I’m tired of sugar coating things to protect other people’s reputations. I grew up in an environment where 2 of the people I was closest too repeatedly enforced the idea that I was worthless, hated, a waste of space, too much and simultaneously never enough. My sister – the person who is supposed to be my best friend, my confidant, my biggest cheerleader – would call me fat, stupid, selfish, worthless, and tell me that she wished I was dead. I heard it so often – whenever the TV was on a show she didn’t want to watch, whenever she and my parents would fight (which was a LOT), whenever I received something positive it was immediately destroyed by verbal abuse from my sister – and knowing what a sister is SUPPOSED to be, how could I not believe what she was saying?
All of her abuse was re enforced by my grandmother who I spent a considerable amount of time with growing up. I have such vivid (and horrible) memories from situations I was in with them, times they screamed at me, lied to me, lied ABOUT me, manipulated me, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I was never a saint…but NO ONE deserves to be treated the way that I was treated. And I didn’t even realize it was wrong until I was able to escape it for an extended period of time. And now I’m left to clean up the broken pieces that they left scattered on the ground. I never realized just how much I was being used and manipulated until I experienced what healthy relationships and friendships truly are.
When my parents visited on Thanksgiving, I had the best time of my life! We had SO much fun just doing every day ordinary things. I seriously had the best holiday I’ve ever had in my life – stress free, eating disorder free, and filled with love and laughter (and kisses from my number one pal!!!).
And experiencing that freedom and love made me realize the toll that past holidays have had on me. And I refuse to keep living that way. I refuse to allow ugly things to be said to me or about me and to just stand there silently. I refuse to be walked on, used, and pushed aside. I am standing up and refusing to accept abuse.
I am committed to making this holiday about my One and only – Jesus Christ. I am committed to growing in His image and sharing His love and grace with everyone I come into contact with – and that also includes turning it inward towards myself.
I am being painfully vulnerable because I do NOT deserve to live my life on the verge of panic mode. I was made for so much more than this. I was made to flourish, to move mountains, to be a light, and to love as much as possible. I am who I am because God created me this way – and I REFUSE to continue being ashamed of that and trying to hide it.
“There are no coincidences in life. What person that wandered in and out of your life was there for some purpose, even if they caused you harm. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense the short periods of time we get with people, or the outcomes from their choices. However, if you turn it over to God he promises that you will see the big picture in the hereafter. Nothing is too small to be a mistake.”
― Shannon L. Alder
I will say that I am thrilled to be returning to my sweet VA mountains – oh how I’ve missed that view!
“What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains.”
― Tennessee Williams