From the time I was 8 years old, I learned to suppress my emotions. It was as if I had taken my heart, with all of the feelings and my mind, with all of it’s thoughts and put it under a series of locks and keys. burying them so far out of sight and I did this out of fear.
The fear that someone would know me, see me and not like what was there. The fear of exposing my scars, my battle wounds, my thoughts. The fear that by speaking my story out loud, I was betraying my exterior and giving notice to the cracks beneath the surface.
If there is one emotion that I am most familiar with, it is pain. I haven’t just visited Hell, I have walked through it and come out on the other side. Experiences like these, they change you and I am no longer the person that I was. I have had my heart broken more times than I can count. I have had people brutally attempt to crush my spirit. I have had negative words spoken over my life, not just once but on more than one occasion. I have felt the crushing blow of betrayal and experienced moments where my knees could no longer hold me, forcing me to buckle under the weight of it all and I have survived.
See silence has always been louder than my words, an almost deafening contrast, when you consider that there is a powerful earthquake running through my veins.
I did not realize that by doing such, I was really harming myself. As a human being it is inevitable that we will experience pain but how choose to address this pain, how we choose to express it, largely determines our ability to overcome it.
Pandemonium, Fear, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, Rejection.
Every single one of these words, harbours a chapter of my story. Every single one of these words, has been affixed to my spirit. I have had hands brutally assault my flesh and words used against me.
I know what it feels like to live under mental and spiritual asphyxiation. Feeling alone, feeling stuck, feeling trapped these are not foreign to me. They are the notes to the song that is my life. I have cried behind more closed doors than I can count, felt my body tremble, under duress, travelled a bitter road alone, armed with only my faith, to sustain me and I have prayed harder, than I ever thought possible. Looked out over the canvas of my life and asked these questions.
I have walked an empty road at 3 am, clutching the edges of my jacket for warmth and honestly wondered if anyone would see me here, on this forgotten street. I know what it’s like to wait for a phone call that never arrives. I’ve luxuriated in moments of surrender, allowing my armour to come down, only to have someone prod through my insecurity, as if my confidence were the pawn on the chess board and I was really bound for capture.
I am familiar with feeling of ink bleeding through the paper, from pressing down to hard, simply because it felt as if this, was the only place in the world, where I could tell my story. I have shifted through poverty and becoming a fatherless daughter and back again to the long difficult road of reconciliation.
I have looked into the eyes of my daughter, and tried to shelter her from the fact that some days, my wallet is worn through. Hoping that If I can distract her, make her laugh, then perhaps it will be enough to protect from all of those fingers clawing at my front door. Hoping that she won’t see the bleak reality, that somedays the future weighs heavily, rocks back and forth across my chest like the pendulum swinging from a clock, where time pounds like a broken heart beat.
But above all I have asked these questions.
Does God really love me?
Am I lovable?
Are all of these storms simply the universe punishing me?
Do I deserve it?
I have pondered these burning thoughts,
Looked further into my existence and asked
Am I beautiful?
Am I worthy?
Do I have a purpose?
And somedays the answer is emphatic
and I know that I am loved,
that I am worthy and that yes,
God does love me
and yes my life has meaning.
And other days the depression piles so high
I find myself at war with myself.
The lie being whispered into my ear
feeding my self doubt,
telling me just the opposite of what I know to be true.
I wish I could tell you that I have already won my battle
and that I have miraculously overcome.
but it wouldn’t be true.
What is true is that I keep fighting,
Every day that I wake up and push through the emotion, is a success.
Every day that I take my depression
and shake it, put it in the corner for a time out
is simply me becoming further elevated and stronger.
Every time I open my mouth
and I admit that yes,
depression is apart of my life,
is the moment that this oversized tyrant,
called depression, becomes a deflated balloon.
It is as if I have poked a hole in its surface
and syphoned it’s weapon of fear,
letting it slip out, until there is nothing left of it.
Everyday that I wake up
and Look into the eyes of my daughter,
I remember why I still have to fight.
So maybe I still have a long way to go
and a longer road to travel,
but perhaps what matters most
is that I simply keep going.