I have determined the gender of love. The world gathers round. Some pray tearfully, Some joyfully, Some don't pray at all. Watching sun descend, I set the heavy book on altar. It's two hands are weak Against sensations held within. She's there! Rising out of written words On decaying paper she dances. Converting ancient language to newborn song, Telling of her longing. Her gently luscious voice Is the vibrations of the world. Waves of us Fall to our knees, But right before we propose ourselves and the world She stills and shifts to He. A stone who grows in height. And in his flight Turns his head. Left and pausing Right and pausing. Then looks down, and bends to page And with a pen Records her song again. Adding in how all will be achieved Loyalty to life. His instructive words Are the math of the world. Waves of us Fall to our knees, But right before we propose ourselves and the world He stills and shifts to She. Some pray tearfully, Some joyfully. (September 2021)
I find love to be a complex thing Yes, even the love Christ brings He says he loves me But how could that be For most of me is faithfully unkind I guess he's simply paid me no mind He replies what is me is past what is seen I lie in unmanifestable dream - eternally clean I've paused more, mined silences, surveyed what's within I've never seen anything other than darkness and Him (December 2021)
I’d assume being me would be the easiest thing to be. Trees, birds, everything in nature appears so gracefully itself. Couldn’t I just decide to be me in a moment, and to remain me for the rest of my life. Sure life would still send challenges, but they’d be sent to me. I’d be someone. I could pause and reflect at any time and know how I felt and what actions I want to take. Yet years have passed in this journey back to “me”, and what I’ve learned is I have no idea who I am. Or maybe, I am a mix of contradictory parts. And many of those parts are passionate. So I am chaotic. Maybe too chaotic for the stability inner peace or daily life requires.
I have lost the (likely unhealthy and false) grounding of self I had before I started this journey. And though I have faith, I’m journeying down a truer path now, I have come to fear this path. Where will it take me? What will it reveal to me about myself? About others? About life? Am I strong enough? Am I going too fast? Will it hurt others? Will it hurt myself? Should I put it on pause while my kids are little? Is this selfish?
Me and Antidepressant
At the beginning of November, my therapist suggested I try antidepressants. She felt I was going through a very difficult point in my journey, and antidepressants may help take the edge off my emotional lows.The plan would be to take them for a couple of months, not long term.
This may sound like a simple and logical step. However, I have always been passionately opposed to taking medicine to alter my brain. If I tried to articulate why I feel this way – I’d say my brain is me. Sacred space. The complex and delicate systems of the brain and body are not well understood, and therefore the many effects of the medicine are not well understood. To release such a powerful but uncertain chemical influence into my brain feels very dangerous and unloving towards me. (When I was growing up my father strongly expressed his negative feelings about these sorts of medicines too. I am unsure how much that influenced my own feelings.) I was actually prescribed antidepressants in college. I picked the bottle of pills up from the pharmacy, but I never took them.
But this time when my current therapist suggested antidepressants, it felt slightly different. Fleeting ideas of maybe trying some sort of medication had been passing through my mind for weeks, though I had never mentioned this to my therapist. I had done no research into the options, until she brought the topic up. That night, after our session, I researched the options online, watched videos of people sharing their experiences, and read about how antidepressants work in the brain. The next morning I scheduled an appointment with my family doctor to get his opinion and the prescription. He assured me they were safe and agreed I should try them (which is no surprise considering he is the doctor who first prescribed them to me almost 10 years ago). He wrote me a prescription for the generic form of Lexapro. That night, feeling a mix of verbally loud and verbally quiet emotions, I took the first pill.
That was during the first week of November. So I am about 5 weeks into taking antidepressants now. I would like to and will try to share the experiences and feelings which led me to this step, and how I feel now that I am on antidepressants. It has been a lot to process, and has led me to reflect on my past.
I love humans But how could that be For not all humans love me But look at them One foot an animal's One foot God's dream Their words, their actions There's no plot One voice speaking over itself But observe deeper And I believe you'll see Something crying out from invisibility Look in their eyes Listen to their voices Feel and recognize It's you that's hiding
To the girl who wrote poetry Preserving me Through the static Thank you. It is time She appears The strength The vividness Of a million colors Before me And within me Floating, touching dancing As one Arising And gliding over nothingness As I collapse before her feet Into our nothingness So she can speak
This poem was inspired by finding my old poetry journals from when I was 13-20 years old. After 20 I largely stopped writing poetry. Until I picked the habit back up within the last year. My emotions seem to compel me to write poems. As I write them it often feels I am both communicating and listening. I am expressing and keeping in touch with myself. I believe writing poetry harmonizes and integrates the emotional and thinking parts into “Me”.
(This post was written early May)
* I struggle a bit in this post to take how my feeling side of the mind envisions things and write it in simple terms. Emotionally everything I share in this post is true. I am only able to express this truth, right now, in a more poetic form. I hope it still has clarity.*
A Heartbreaking and Heartmending Realization
When I first saw The Tree Of Life I found the movie incredibly beautiful. It’s message struck close to my heart, I knew that, but I couldn’t understand it. Though beautiful and good, I couldn’t see how the movie’s message connected to real life.
Near the start of this journey, my mind pulled me back to things I found beautiful, and I searched for clips from this beautiful movie. When I found this clip, I understood it more clearly than I had before. A link to this clip was one of the first things I shared here on my blog. And last week this clip found it’s way back to me. I guess there was another message in it I was finally ready to hear. And it shattered me. It opened my eyes, to my deep failure.
A few days after this realization I wrote this poem. I feel it captures the experience.
Before mortality, full of faith in my love and strength. I made a promise. I remember that now and my heart breaks. I have failed you forgotten you at the first cutting word or cold touch This shattering humbles me and somehow weeping and ashamed I find a final victory I find your arms again and hear your promise "I will be true to you. Whatever comes."
It’s hazy to me, but I do have a sense that there is a truth in this poem. I believe those final words in the Tree of Life scene hit me as a promise I made to God. A promise that I would remember Him and His love and follow His way of Grace and love in this life. A promise I quickly failed, when the “whatever comes” arrived.
After the “Whatever Comes” Arrived
I became distracted by how other’s treated me, judged me, loved me, and I lost touch with God’s love of me. I began trying to assert my will to get other’s to give me the love I believed I deserved. I didn’t consider where they were in life. I blamed them for corrupting me, for making it so I “couldn’t love”.
I walked in the world completely of my own will, seeking to be seen and loved, and hurt and outraged when I felt I didn’t receive it. In that hurt and outrage I would lash out, judge others harshly, give the cold shoulder, or criticize. I didn’t spend much time actively showing love to others, I was too busy trying to figure out whether others were being loving to me or not. And then, when I determined they weren’t being loving (which was the final verdict on pretty much everyone since I struggled to receive love), I spent the rest of my time trying to figure out what to do or say to get them to love me better.
I believe this realization came crashing down because I was ready for it. And I believe I was ready for it because I have been starting to remember and have faith in God. In His love. And in knowing Him, my mind and heart finally felt safe enough to let me shatter. Deep down, though I didn’t consciously know it, I finally felt safe enough to fall into that complete guilt and shame. He would not leave me. He was the only love I ever needed.
He Knows I’m Imperfect
I imagine He knew all along, that though my heart was fully in my words when I promised “I will be true to you. Whatever comes”, that imperfect me would fail. Those words when spoken by me, are merely me expressing my hopes and dreams. To believe I could ever live up to them is delusion.
I imagine the words themselves actually first came from God, and when spoken by Him, they are said with certainty, a declaration of fact ” I will be true to you. Whatever comes”. This dynamic brings to mind the bible verse “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). It was His love and His promise I first heard, and my dream is to love like Him. But of course I never will be able too.
Yet I will never give up striving to love like Him. And I feel a huge part of that striving is remembering and experiencing God’s unconditional love for me even through all my continuous falls from showing others grace and love. If I pretend I’m mostly perfect, then it blocks that learning of unconditional love. I feel I cannot show others grace and love if I myself have not experienced that grace and love being shown to my failing self by God.
Mended – Healing And Learning
So though I felt shattered by the realization of my failure, I felt mended by it too. Humbled. More ready to receive and learn from Him instead of thinking I already had things taken care of. More ready to hand Him the reigns of my life. And mended in trusting the security of His love enough to stand before it and admit deep failure, shame, and weakness. And in admitting, allowing myself to experience His true love and grace. And in experiencing His love and grace, healing and learning.
I turn inside with words Asking "Who am I?" I hear ricocheting replies Proclamations of strength Tearful helpless hurting Screams of rage spiraling destroying Whispers of my fears confirmed A panicky flow of words A loud mocking laugh A meek voice promising a flinching kindness A gentle confident voice reassuring love I am all of these I am none of these Besides the one asking "Who am I?" And the reply is - Choose!
I'll seek her forever. The one I am But can't yet be. The one I was before The one I'll always be. Beneath these words.
Am I who I have been
Am I who I am
Am I who I will be?
I do not know.
Can you find me?
But before you look,
I am within your beautiful dream.
Being There For Myself/Being There For Others
I feel myself stepping more and more into living as myself. I more often have such a peace within and such a peace with my actions and words. However living more as my real self is a change for me, and with changes come challenges.
One of these challenges for me is learning how to interact as my real self with other people and relatedly learning to see those around me for who they truly are. I try to be in touch with my real self, and when I feel I am, I trust that her instincts and intentions are best for myself and those around me. I try to live more freely now.
This past week I attempted to express this idea to my husband, this idea that I am trying to build up a trust in myself and step into living fully as myself. I expressed my confusion and fears about how this could effect our relationship. It was honest, but unsurprisingly seemed to make him feel attacked or threatened and that seemed to send me into a more fearful and negative mental space.
This dynamic confuses me. I feel the urge to reach out, discuss, and share, so I do. But often I share my fears, and my fears often involve me “hurting someone more than I am helping” or someone “holding me back from happiness/living as me” in some way. They are my fears of what reality is or will be. But it seems, as happened during this conversation with my husband, the person I’m speaking to takes it personally. My fears seem to hurt them. If I had thought about this conversation with my husband more before sharing, I would have guessed he would react negatively just as he did. Does that mean I shouldn’t bring these types of fears up with him? Does it mean the way in which I bring them up is not graceful enough?
What Would My Inner Parent Say?
When learning how to better interact with others, I can find it helpful to reflect on how my inner parent interacts with me or would interact with me in a given situation. When I do this exercise, I see how deeply hurtful it would be for my inner child to hear anything that sounds remotely like my inner parent saying they “might have to leave me“. However I do feel slight resistance to this notion that the level of “eternal thereness” for myself should be extended to my husband. I do love my husband though, isn’t that level of “eternal thereness” just what love looks like? I do not know, being there for myself and others is new to me. I am learning.
There is a relationship where this quest for “eternal thereness” feels more smooth and natural to me and that is towards my children. I feel determined to always be there for them, just as my inner parent is for me. I will never leave them. No matter how old they are, or how lost they are, no matter where they are emotionally I will be there for them and if I am not there for them I will be trying with all my strength to get there and let them know I am desperately trying. Would I ever say anything they might hear as “I might have to leave you”? Maybe, but always I would try to make it clear I feel I might have to leave because my strength, and therefore ability to be there for them, is faltering. Always it would be clear the “leaving” is temporary, is in tune with where they are too, and I will return.
Is it true I do not feel this desire for “eternal thereness” for my husband? If it is true, is that something I should strive to change? Is it a lack of extension and expression of my love? It’s a maze to my mind.
What Are My Expectations And Hopes From My Husband?
Maybe I can find some clarity about how I want to/should feel towards him by switching the roles -What are my expectations and hopes from my husband towards myself? I want him to be truly happy. I want him to flourish from within. I want him to find and step right up to the line that is the limit to his freedom to improve the world. But also I want him to have the wisdom to recognize, accept, and make peace with that line that is the true limit of his power. I want him to look back and be able to see the ups and downs, that are life, as his beautiful story. I want him, who he is inside, to be living in every moment.
Though I didn’t clearly answer the question of “What are my expectations and hopes from my husband towards myself?”, maybe I did discover a clarity from not answering the question. I suspect the resistance I have to being “eternally there” for my husband, does not indicate a lack of love for him. It indicates a lack of willingness to self destruct for him. A growing recognition that I am worthy and want to step into my life. The real me is no danger. I will step into my life. I will live my life. I feel this is healthy, and I want the same for him. I want my husband to live, not live for me.
Well, Where Do We Fit Into Each Other’s Lives Then?
I want to be a person my husband wants to be around. A person who emotionally supports him and he wants to support, a person who is interested in him and who he is interested in, who believes in him and he believes in, who brings joy to him and he wants to bring joy to too, etc. and I assume he wants to be that person to me. I believe we both share the fear that we are not that person to the other. I believe this was the fear I communicated this week to him, and me discussing it brought up that shared fear in him too.
And there is truth to that in our past. We have relived and are reliving many aspects of the dynamics from our childhoods with each other. (I suspect my fear that my real self is a danger to his real self and happiness or that he is a danger to my real self and happiness are both strongly rooted from my childhood not our relationship). But how beautiful if somehow we each can bring ourselves to the surface of life, and fully stand before each other in the present. Fearfully at first, but then receive what we have longed for all our lives. To feel seen by someone who wants us, the real us.
I sense a growing of that difficult journey to the surface of life within both of us. There is a part of me, not the fearful part of me, that has faith. That part of me believes my husband and I both lost touch with our real selves in childhood. Yet somehow it was our real selves which chose each other, and which have carried us through our dating and marriage years together. An emotion within me seems to say, “You already see him, and he already sees you. Look to see this truth, and live this truth boldly. Then you will begin to experience it, to feel it!”.