This past week was a week full of tears. I’m not the “crying type” but when I get pushed to my brink, I tend to eventually explode into one million tiny pieces – everything that I SHOULD have cried about months earlier that instead I packed away, comes flooding out and, although it’s probably good and refreshing for my poor eyes which have retained so much salt and moisture for months on end, it’s usually disastrous externally. I am NOT a pretty crier!
I’m having a REALLY tough time with sleep lately. This comes and goes in waves – sometimes I can’t quit sleeping…literally all I do outside of class is sleep, sleep, sleep. This is an issue for the obvious reason that I literally get nothing of importance accomplished and then get behind with life. Other times I can’t sleep. It doesn’t matter how tired and exhausted my body is physically, when I lay down in bed at night, I will fall asleep for a few hours (like literally 3 or 4) and then wake up with dread knowing that…this is it…it’s 3 freaking AM and I’m up for the day. It’s a weird feeling knowing that when I’m fighting with my brain, willing it to shut off for just a few more hours…or when I give up on that endeavor, and finally crawl out of bed to read a book or ~TRY~ to accomplish something of value…my dear friends are probably just crawling into bed for the first time. My sweet little night owls are falling into dreams when I am falling into a pit of despair and hatred for my “broken” body.
I digress. That negativity might be a smidgen dramatic. But being tired does that to you – it makes you dramatic, grumpy, and eventually it makes you numb. There was not a single day this week that I was able to sleep past 4am. Melatonin – my “drug” of choice for sleeping issues is no longer fulfilling its purpose. That being said, I avoid sleeping drugs at any cost because it is very easy for my body to become dependent on them and I have control issues, so naturally I hate the thought of needing to depend on anything. At all. Ever.
Wow. I’m getting off topic. Being tired also does that to you.
The point is that this past week was literally awful. First-world-problems-type of awful. But still, awful. I won’t burden you with the nitty gritty details because that won’t do either of us any good – I don’t want to relive a single moment of the past week and I also don’t want to add any more negativity to the world than is absolutely necessary while still being honest and authentic.
Today is my 23rd birthday. Today my body cooperated with me and, although my sweet pup woke me up asking to go outside at 6am…once I walked her, we both crawled back into the safety of our bed and I fell back asleep for awhile. It was nice. Today is nice.
Today is a fresh slate – a new 365 day journey for me. It’s personal – it’s new, exciting, scary, overwhelming, etc. A few days ago when I was sitting on my therapists couch, grumpy and irritated at the entire universe, she asked me what my life would look like without all this “extra stuff”…the eating disorder, depression, anxiety, etc. I thought for a moment and then answered:
“I don’t know. I honestly don’t. I’ve never known life without all of that stuff. It’s always been there. There are moments I’ve felt free of it all, but as far back as I can remember it’s ALWAYS been present in some form or another.”
I’m scared. My own answer scares the absolute hell out of me. I am 23 today – I never thought I’d even make it this far. If you were to open up my monthly planner you would see dates that are colorful and marked up that are weeks and months away. I am an obsessive planner. But despite all of that organization, planning, dreaming, etc – I never REALLY thought about what my future could/would/should look like.
I am 23. I am a sophomore in college. I used to be horribly ashamed of my story. I used to hide my age and just try to keep quiet whenever anyone asked about my grade level/age/story etc. I’m still not a HUGE fan of my birthday…it always seems like just another regular day and I feel like that’s how it should be?! Today though, I realized as I sat on my living room floor unwrapping the box of presents my parents so graciously mailed to me, with Rachi watching excitedly – probably thinking she was receiving some type of food or treat haha – and I realized that I am not as ashamed anymore. I am not EXCITED about my situation necessarily, but I am not making attempts to hide it.
I am growing away from the roots of shame and guilt. I am learning to embrace the present moments. I may not be free from all the issues I struggle with and the things that plague me and try to steal the joy from my life – they are still there. But regardless, I am learning to cope. I am learning to function despite barriers which try to prevent me from becoming who God intends for me to be. I am learning that it’s okay to change my mind, it’s okay to say no, it’s okay to speak up, it’s okay to ask for help, and on and on and on.
I am finally learning the things in life that are truly IMPORTANT. So, I bombed a test this past week (or maybe 2, but we won’t go there right now). I am doing my absolute best with what I have when I have it.
I want 23 to be a year full of gratitude. I want to memorize my friends sweet smiles and recognize their laughter from across the room. I want to spend time with them and love on them. I want to explore nature, travel, take TONS of obnoxious pictures and post them to instagram. I want to meet new people, learn new things, try new places, foods, experiences. I want 23 to be about making memories – not about getting by, getting perfect grades, performing a lot, or building my resume.
I want to expand the resume of my heart – I want the list of people that I love to be overflowing. And you know what – I want my own name to finally be on that list.
We all struggle with something. We all fight battles. I want 23 to be a year that I look those battles in the face and instead of bargaining with them or pleading with them, I want to stare them directly in the eyes and say,
“You have no place here. I am a child of the King. I am wonderfully and fearfully made. You will NOT steal my joy!”
And friends, I pray that you would find the courage to do the same.
Make your life beautiful…use the bravery and courage that God has granted you to fight fear and shame. Stand with your battle weapons ready to fight, and allow God to step in and fight with and for you.
Make your life so beautiful that you can’t NOT love every second of it – even the uncomfortable, painful moments. We grow most when we are uncomfortable. We grow most through our tears and through our battles. Bravery is beautiful. So use your bravery to fight your battles. And remember – no matter what battle you’re fighting, God has already won the war.
Tears are okay. Tears are good. Tears are signs of healing. May my 23 and your -whatever year it may be- be filled with tears of both joy and pain. May we discover our true beauty, may we learn to love the world around us, the souls around us, and most importantly – may we learn to love ourselves.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes before you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
“In all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loves us.”
“The secret to loving others is living knowing that you are loved.”
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
― Maya Angelou
“Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.”
― Susan B. Anthony