Trigger/content warning: child abuse, death, grief, and anger.
I spent three years at a private Christian school. We often won character awards or fruit of the spirit awards. Without fail, I was always the one to win the faithfulness reward. The one who had a steadfast faith. Friends, adults in my life, everyone would comment on how strong and unshakable my faith was.
I am very much a cradle Christian. I was dedicated into the Nazarene church at a very young age. I’ve had a vast amount of Bible knowledge and have kicked ass at Bible trivia since I could read. Back then, I thought my faith couldn’t be shaken. Back then, I thought my faith was the only sure thing in my life.
Lately these days, I find myself becoming disenchanted with the notion of Christianity. And it scares me. I haven’t been to church in over a year. It’s sad and depressing, really. How did my once unshakable faith become so shaken?
And I find myself wondering if God is even wanting of me anymore. If God even desires me. After all, my arms have scars I created myself. I have used food as a way to hurt my body. I’m broken. Physically and emotionally. What could God want to do with me?
It’s hard. I find myself wanting to yell at God and call Him a few select names. I find my health falling apart and no one knowing why. I find my physical and emotional health in shambles.
I find myself questioning how He could be strong enough to fix me. Which is kind of silly if you think about it. Why am I questioning the one who formed me himself? I mean, hello, God sees me even when I’m pooping. If he’s okay with that, why am I so worried that he won’t take me “as is”?
Why do I question if the One who was by my side during every appointment, even if I didn’t feel Him, is strong enough? Why do I question if the One who was strong enough to give up His own, only beloved Son is strong enough to fix me?
There’s a peace I’ve come to know, though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul, I can say “it is well”
Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed
Victory is won, He is risen from the dead
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on Eagle’s wings
Before my God, fall on my knees
The thing is, my heart and flesh will fail. I’ll fall victim to my emotions, to my mortal desires, to my physical health. But there is one thing that won’t fail – Jesus blood never failed me yet, never failed me yet. There’s one thing I know that He loved me so.
I may have failures in life. I may screw up. I may watch every aspect of my health fall to pieces. I may struggle with my faith. But you know what?
It’s all a part of life.
I hear the Saviour say, “thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness, watch and pray, find in me thine all in all.”
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow
Lord, now indeed I find, Thy power and Thine alone
Can change the leaper’s spots and melt the heart of stone
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow
And when before the throne, I stand in Him complete
Jesus died my soul to save, my lips still repeat
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe
Sin had a left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow
Oh praise the one who paid my debt!
And raised me up from the dead
Luck is such a subjective thing.
I have been told, multiple times by multiple people, that I’m lucky.
That I’m lucky to not have to work. To go to school. That I have all the free time I could want.
That I can just loaf around and play video games/read/watch whatever I want.
That I get in home services, like PCA and home help. That I’m possibly moving into assisted living (well, most likely and it’s about a 95% chance).
I spend every day of my life in pain. Every. Day. I cannot tell you what it’s like to not be in pain.
I throw up several times a week. My weight is now officially underweight. My body is falling more and more apart. I am sick all the time. My doctors express constant concern.
I am shuffled from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist.
I am lonely. So incredibly lonely.
I have lost friends over it. Because I can’t keep commitments. Because I “flake out”.
Because they don’t, or can’t, understand what it’s like.
I fight for my services. I fight for my medications.
I deal with providers who don’t give a shit and decide that I’m not worth seeing.
That I’m not worth working with.
That their needs are greater than mine, so they just don’t show up with no warning.
This is luck? This is being lucky?
This is what it’s all about?
I may be able to get my debt forgiven for student loans. Lucky there? A bit, maybe.
But it means I can’t go back to school. It means I won’t get a degree, ever.
It means I’m trapped in the cycle of having no purpose.
This is a poem I wrote senior year of high school. Now that my father has passed away, it’s even more interesting (to me, anyway) to read something I wrote nine years ago.
I reflect upon the past,
wondering if I knew the truth
or if I was fooled, and what I knew was
What happened to make things change?
When did you quit loving me?
Did you ever truly love me, or am I
Stop tormenting me!
Yet why should you love me?
Whatever did I do; am I just
You used your tricks to harm me,
and wounded me by your words.
Some scars never heal,
Your priorities were distorted
Alcohol was your idol,
I realized I was simply
I believe Family is the most important thing
You claimed it.
Yet your actions proved otherwise,
The lies begins to come out,
I’m victim to your hypocrisy,
and fading into
As I learned the truth,
and free myself from your grasp
I realize that I was never
Starting live anew,
running free from the past
learning to live without you, no longer
And in the end,
I realize at last
it is not I, but it is you who is
Like my father’s come to pass, seven years has gone so fast
Wake me up when September ends
Here comes the rain again, falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again, becoming who we all
September marks seven years since everything flipped upside down, since everything turned topsy-turvy, since my life went totally off-kilter. It’s kind of funny because even though my father isn’t actually dead as in he kicked the bucket, emotionally he’s dead to me as I don’t speak to him, haven’t seen him in seven years.
Funnily enough, this time seven years ago this song was all over the radio. I heard it on the bus going to school every single morning (along with the DHT cover of “Listen To Your Heart”). Kind of funny that seven years later, it sums up my feelings about the month of September.
September isn’t as loaded as October 31st is for me, but September is still a month of loss, a time of grief. September 2005 is when my health started spiraling out of control. September 2005 was when I started to realize who my true friends were. So much happened seven years ago. So much happened.
As my memory rests, but never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when September ends
I fully believe that one day my memory will be at ease, but I don’t know when that day will be. I believe there will be one day that’s not taunted by flashbacks and nightmares and painful memories. I fully believe that will be a day where it will all just be another faded scar, another jaded memory. Kind of like the lyrics from the opening theme of my favourite anime (taken from the Japanese translation to English and not the English version): “Even when yesterday’s wounds remain, take yesterday’s tears and turn them into tomorrow’s strength.”
I don’t have to let the past control me. I don’t have to let myself be consumed by the memories. But just because I finally process the pain after all these years, just because I finally come to terms with the past, doesn’t mean that I forget it. It doesn’t mean that I have to forget it at all, but it also doesn’t have to be at the forefront of my memory.
A lot has changed in seven years. I’ve gone from an 18 year old high school senior to a 25 year old college student. I never dreamed on my first day of high school that these seven years would turn out the way that they did: The whole ordeal with my father, losing my health, losing some of my mobility, moving to Minnesota, taking time of school, still being in College, this, that, and the other. It’s kind of baffling, really, what all has happened over the course of seven years. And how in some ways I’m so different, but in some ways some things never change.
All this doesn’t mean that sometimes I just want to skip the month of September, and October as well for good measure. Maybe one September, I won’t just want it to end before it begins .Maybe one September, I won’t want it to just go away.
will i lose my dignity? will someone care?
will i wake tomorrow from this nightmare?
there’s only us, there’s only this,
forget regret, or life is yours to miss.
no other road, no other way, no day but today.
It’s not September yet. It will be in just over an hour. It may be a difficult time – but maybe this year at long last, I can start healing and fully living it the now, instead of being trapped in the past.
I have this habit of locking down inside myself. Oh, there is so much happening. Images dancing in my head, sights, smells, sounds, twisting together, tangling, intertwined. It’s safer to stay silent. It’s safer not to speak. I’m afraid to speak out. Speaking out senior year and being shushed solidified that fear. I was only eighteen. I was a senior in high school. And I was heartbroken. I wouldn’t wish the choices I made that cold October morning to my worst enemy. But yet, the choices let me to where I am today.
I’ve grown so much since my senior year. I should hope so, considering I’ll have graduated six years ago come June. Six years is a long time, and even as I got my diploma that warm June evening, I had no idea the changes that would come over the next few years. I had no idea I would legally be declared disabled before 21. I had no idea I would sever ties with my mother as well. I had no idea that I would be called into the ministry. I had no idea I wouldn’t finish college in Canada and that in 2012 I’d still be working on my undergraduate degree. I had no idea I’d live in frick-fracking MINNESOTA where it’s frick-fracking cold. I had no idea I’d still be battling PTSD, cutting, eating disorder… I suppose I thought it’d magically stop, but NEWSFLASH: IT WON’T.
I had no idea that both my grandparents would die before I completed my undergraduate degree. I had no idea that I would make beautiful friendships, meet my future best friends, and go through heart-wrenching grief. I had no idea of any of that.
I had no idea at age 24 people would STILL think I’m 14. Heh. Funnily enough, side story. I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment and I mentioned how I still had a specialist at the Children’s Hospital. “Oh, you could easily pass for 14.” Me: “Mmhmm.” “You’ll like more as you get closer to your 30’s!” *silence* “I’m 24.” “WHAT?!” “Yeah, I’ll be 25 in June.” “….” “You’re not 18?” 18 is the oldest I’ve been mistaken for in awhile, so I suppose that should make my happy. Anyway. Done with the side story.
Tori Amos said in her song “sometimes I hear my voice and it’s been here, silent all these years.” Problem is, I don’t hear my voice. Sure, I blog and I write and I talk. But I bottle so much up. I keep so much inside me. And I don’t know how to pull it out. There are things about my past that repulse me, that I haven’t told anyone. And it scares me that it’s there. And I don’t want to talk about it because I’m afraid people, even those who want to help me so badly, won’t like me anymore. Will think horrible things. Won’t understand. And so, I carry the burden.
When will I realize how stupid that is?
When will I realize how dumb that is?
When will I find the way to pull out my voice and be strong?
This is the day 6 years ago that I decided to write about a youth retreat I’d gone on the previous weekend. It was junior year of high school. To set the setting: I was still living with my father and I was homeschooled. I was attending the Church of Christ. I was full force into self injury, and starting to lapse into an eating disorder. I am not editing grammar or words, but to think the day that my faith was strengthened was six years ago, only to be shattered less than a year later. Only to be torn to shreds. That year I started to climb out of depression, to see the light, to see HOPE. But then senior year happened, and it all fell to shit.
This retreat..blew me away. and I shall share it with you. Because you are all cool people..and I can.
Friday wasn’t much. It was Friday. Not much happens on Friday. Just cause it’s Friday..’ya know?
I watched soccer tournments on Saturday..fun stuff..and attended an elective Saturday afternoon..which was great…
Saturday was the day. I broke. I’ve been breaking for awhile, and I just totally broke, and I didn’t tell anyone what all was going on. I mean, I can’t even talk about it. I’ve never shared this part of my life with anyone. I’m Angelique. I’m strong. And I made it through the morning fine. Had a blast watching soccer, and eating, and just being a kid, just hanging out and goofing around and hanging out. Which isn’t something that I do often. Finally, it happened. The floodgates broke. And I mean, I was to the point where I was crying so hard, that I couldn’t talk..or sing the words to the worship songs. And I just felt so totally empty inside. And I was. I was empty and broken. and I just sat there and cried. and cried. for at least fifteen twenty minutes…it started out as nothing then got harder…and I was so tempted to walk forward, but let all my fears ingulf me. Kinda like the morning message, when he was talking about fears. I let my fears consume me.
And why? Everything. Like they showed a video of Christ on the Cross…and I lost it. I’ve cut myself when he died for me? Come on! How could I be so lame? How could I turn to myself, when he died for me so I could have life? How could it be? And I’ve felt so empty inside lately, even when singing the worship songs this weekend, and I can’t make myself belive the Bible, like I know what it says, and I know it’s true…and I can’t make myself believe it.
And you know what amazed me more? I was sitting there with two other friends. My youth pastor and the rest of my church was way behind me. A sponser from another church came over to me and asked me if I was alright. And he prayed for me and told me he would be contining to pray for me. It just amazes me. That I’ll most likely never see this guy again (unless I’m at other local Ohio events and see him)..and it’s just..wow..and he also came over to me on Sunday and told me he was..and it’s just amazing..it blows me away..that someone who doesn’t even know me can care about me and want to pray for me. That someone who knows nothing about me, my bitter past, my unknown future..and want to help me. And it hurts..and it heals.. ‘ya know?
On Sunday..I broke. Again. I’m tired of breaking..but I realized that I do. It’s true. I just like God. I don’t really love him, I don’t really have the burning passion I should. I have so much in my life eating up at me. But I’m too scared to recommit. Which is why I didn’t this weekend. Cause I always blackslide. I always fall back into my old habits. So why should I even try to change when I know I’m going to fall back into what I once was agian, ‘ya know?
And I feel so empty inside. And broken. And I like God. I don’t love Him. and I hate it. Both times..my youth minister asked me if I was alright and if I needed to talk. I told him I didn’tknow if I was alright and that I didn’t need to talk..orthat I din’dtk know if he could help..becuase I’m just hurting so much..hurting beyond words I guess?
My elective Saturday night was just plain out spiffy. Chris is so crazy and great. God forgives me, and I really need to forgive myself. I’ve sinned against God, and I need to realize that. I need to realize that God’s given me forgiveness, and I need to let it go. I just can’t sit there staring at my sins, and just be like..whoa..that’s cool…and not do anything. I need to get in gear, and do something wtih it.
I didn’t eat much on Sunday…and so of course, I got told I needed to eat..but I still didn’t, and I really don’t care. I didn’t take communion either. And I feel bad about it, because I attend a church that believes you should take communion every sunday. But my heart isn’t right with God. And eveything is broken. So..I can’t take it since everything is so wrong..
And I look at the bracelet I got. I didn’t even get it when everyone else did..I was crying too hard to go up front..so I dashed up after it was over and grabbed one, but that’s ok. Sure, it’s too big, and just dangles on my wrist..but hey. I wear it for a double reason. Livestrong. They livestrong through cancer. I support that cause. I am a surviour. I dunno how many of you know that. But I’m a surviour. I had a tumour removed when I was four. Of course, everyone has friends and family members who suffer from cancer, I don’t think there’s a single soul on planet earth who hasn’t been touched in some way, shape, or form by cancer. And in the same way, I can livestrong without cutting. I can livestrong in Christ.
And I’m seriously shutting up now.
I see this post, and long for that childlike faith to return. I’d already seen hell at that point and had no clue of the further flames of hell that would lick me again. How I wish I could stay innocent and naive. How I wish I could stay hopeful for such beautiful things.