After all this time? Always.

It’s been five years since my grandfather died. Five years this past August. And I still miss him. I miss him I miss him I miss him. He was the closest thing to a father I had. I recently found this piece I wrote sometime in 2007. Maybe it was an essay. Maybe it was a monologue. I have no clue what it was, but I feel that it’s something I want on my blog so here it is.

A Ladybug’s Lament – written summer 2007.
It’s been nearly a year since you lost the war. Times flies faster than what you expect, and the pain is still as strong. Although the war was lost, the battle was won. You were strong – a trooper, a warrior, a soldier.

You always kept your morale high. Even when you were at your sickest, you’d still have the strength to tease me. You’d always have something to say to make me laugh. You might of never said the words “I love you” to me, but you did it without speaking.

You are my inspiration. You were always humble; you always had something good to say about people. When I think about giving up in this world, I think about you and how you didn’t give up. I remind myself of how you were a fighter – and that is what I want to be.

I can’t believe it’s been so long. Do you have any idea how many lives you touched with your gentle sense of humor and your loving ways? You had a way of touching every life you came in contact with. You touched the doctors who treated you and you touched the family who loved you. You touched those who just stopped in to say hello.

I have always been told that home is where the heart is. However, my heart is broken because you’re not here to make it “home” anymore. You always fixed things for me when I was little. Can you fix my heart this time?

You’re in a better place, and I rejoice for that. You no longer have the chains of cancer pulling you down. Are you turning cartwheels down the golden streets? I always longed to be able to do a cartwheel. Will you do a few for me? One day, I’ll join you. Together, we’ll terrorize the angels and swing on the pearly gates. We’ll be united again, and you can torment me once more.

Every time I see a ladybug, I think of you. I know when I see a ladybug somewhere, that you’re there watching me. I know it is your way of saying you are still here with me. Even though you’re gone, your spirit still lives on inside of those ladybugs. I don’t believe in reincarnation. However, I have to wonder as I see those ladybugs if it is not actually you. Perhaps you are simply sending them from Heaven, as a sign that you are okay. They are a sign that you are still thinking of me, your “little maple leaf.”

“It don’t matter where you bury me, I am home and I am free. It don’t matter where I lay, all my tears be washed away.” (Jars of Clay, “All My Tears”). I often feel bad that we couldn’t provide a better burial for you. We gave you what we had. I feel bad that there’s not a proper tombstone at your grave. These trivial things don’t matter in the big spectrum. Are you crying now? I’m crying as I’m writing this. When I greet you again, will you wash away my tears the way Jesus is washing away your tears now?

You are free, Pawpaw. You are no longer fighting the battle against cancer. You are truly an inspiration. You are truly the one I will always weep for. You are the one man who will always hold a place in my heart. You are my hero – I love you.

Nothing (To My Father)

I wrote this poem my senior year of high school spring semester. The assignment for class was to write a “tribute” or “dedication” poem to someone. The other students in this class wrote these mushy lovely poems to someone they admired or who they looked up to. Me? I took the exact opposite approach. I blew the socks off the creative writing teacher as this was his first year teaching and I guess he wasn’t expecting that. That’s me, breaking the norms! ;D

It has been revamped since then (I last modified it sometime in 2008 when I took creative writing at community college) because I didn’t like the format that the teacher made me stick to. So I tightened the language, made it in a style and format I liked, and this is the final project. I still have the original somewhere but I like this quite a bit better. 😉

Nothing (To My Father)

I reflect upon the past,
wondering if I knew the truth
or if I was fooled, and what I knew was
nothing.

What happened to make things change?
When did you quit loving me?
Did you ever truly love me, or am I
Nothing

Stop tormenting me!
Yet why should you love me?
Whatever did I do; am I just
nothing?

You used your tricks to harm me,
and wounded me by your words.
Some scars never heal,
Nothing

Your priorities were distorted
Alcohol was your idol,
I realized I was simply
nothing

I believe Family is the most important thing
You claimed it.
Yet your actions proved otherwise,
Nothing

The lies begins to come out,
I’m victim to your hypocrisy,
and fading into
nothing

As I learned the truth,
and free myself from your grasp
I realize that I was never
nothing

Starting live anew,
running free from the past
learning to live without you, no longer
Nothing

And in the end,
I realize at last
it is not I, but it is you who is
nothing.

have you ever heard of a greater love?

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.

Halloween, Reformation, and Independence

I find it interesting that my Independence Day falls on Reformation Day. I don’t expect all my readers to know the details about it, but here are the basics:

Once upon a time in a land far away, there was a dude named Luther. His teachings radically reformed Christianity, and even formed a denomination (called, you guessed it, Lutheranism! Wow, y’all are a smart lot!). Luther, more or less, decided enough was enough and nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Schlosskirche, a castle church in Wittenberg in 1517. This sparked the Reformation. That’s a very barebones version, and likely not the most historically accurate. I’m not a profound theologian.

It’s certainly interesting. This day is also Halloween – grim grinning ghosts, candy, trick or treat, and more. Halloween was banned when I was a kid because, you see, Jesus wouldn’t go door to door begging for candy. Clearly.

But when I think of 31.10, my brain goes back to a different place. 31.10.2005. I was 18 years old, and a senior in high school. A few days later I got the rest of my possessions out of my father’s apartment, but that was it. It’s hard to believe I’ve been away from him for six years. It’s hard to believe where I was when I was 18. I was still cutting at the time. I was deep in depression (understandably! I had faced things that no one ever should, and made decisions that some adults never have to make). My father later sent me emails chastising me for my decisions.

It gets more complicated because this anniversary also marks the shattering of my faith. Up until this point, I was pretty confident in my faith. But when I went to the church for help and assistance with a difficult, painful choice, and was turned away, my heart broke. When they helped him (note: he needed help, he NEEDS help so badly. But he didn’t get what he needed and it breaks my heart. I still want nothing more for him to get the help he needs) instead of helping me and literally turned me away, then I got angry and bitter.

This is a song I remember hearing on Christian radio a far amount those days:

She fools all of her friends into thinking she’s so strong,
but she still sleeps with the light on
and she acts like it’s alright on
As she smiles again
And her mother lies there sick with cancer
And her friends don’t understand her
She’s a question without answers
Who feels like falling apart
And she knows, she’s so much more than worthless
She needs to find a purpose
She wonders what she did to deserve this
And she’s calling out to you
This is a call, this is a call out…
This Is A Call – Thousand Foot Krutch

I think this song sums up that time frame well. Replace mother with “grandfather” (who died the summer after I graduated high school) and there you have it.

I don’t know anymore. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever recover from what my father did to me. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I will and it will always shape a part of my personality.

But sometimes, oh sometimes, I wish when my insomnia is rampant I could pick up my phone and cry to my Daddy. I wish that I could find a friend to get in a car with and drive home, knock on the door, and shock him by showing up randomly. Oh, how I wish beyond wishing that I had a Daddy. But I NEVER had a Daddy – I had a father. And at times, since I don’t speak to either parent, I feel orphaned. It makes for some really awkward moments in class some times. For example: “How did your parents parent you when you were five?” Cue instant panic attack from me trying to avoid thinking about it. We had to do a family survey in adol. psych and thank GOD the prof bailed me out when she took one look at my face and could tell it was distressing me.

Gosh. As much as people say it’s boring to be normal, trust me, this is one place where I’d love to be normal. Trust me.

I sit here locked inside my head

All your insults and your curses
Make me feel like I’m not a person
And I feel like I am nothing
But you made me, so do something
‘Cause I’m fucked up because you are
Need attention, attention you couldn’t give
I sit here locked inside my head
Remembering everything you said
This silence gets us nowhere, gets us nowhere way too fast
Staind – For You

How long before you screw it up?
And how many times do I have to tell you to hurry up?
With everything I’ve done for you,
the least you can you do is keep quiet
Be a good girl,
you gotta try a little harder
That simply wasn’t good enough
to make us proud
Alanis Morissette – Perfect

Mommy, don’t you love me?
Then why do you hurt me?
Daddy, don’t you love me?
Then why did you hit me?
Well I tried to make you proud,
but for crying out loud
Just give me the chance to hide away
Exhaustion takes over,
won’t this someday be over?
Jars of Clay – He

I can’t stop obsessing over the fact the anniversary is coming. I can’t stop thinking about it. I want to stop thinking about it, but my stupid brain won’t turn off. I want to be free from this crap.

I just want to be free.

Love in any language, not so spoken here.

I find myself struggling with love. It’s such a simple concept, really, but at the same time it’s so complex and layered. It’s seemingly simple, but also complicated and painful. There are so many Bible verses that speak of love:

“Perfect love casts out all fear. We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:18-19
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not post, it is not proud. blah blah blah” 1 Cor.

And so many more. The Beatles sang that “All you need is love.” We need love at the core of our being, it’s something we all long and crave for.

But the thing is? Love scares the everliving shit out of me. Imagine being a child, and your father never telling you he loved you. Imagine being a child, and the hands that were supposed to love you wound up hurting you. Imagine it. (This is also why I cannot view God as a father and cannot grasp that theological concept, but that is another blog entry all together).

People who know me know I struggle to tell my friends I love them. Sure, I show it in many ways: I send them small gifts, I send them cards, I write out Bible verses on note cards to encourage them, and so on, and so forth. But to actually say the words “I love you” is SO DIFFICULT.

And I think that is where some of my God struggles come into play: I can’t grasp the fact that He loves me so. I can’t grasp the fact that I am loved by Him. And it’s not that I don’t want to be Loved by Him, it’s that I don’t fully understand fatherly love. At all. Again, the father rant is for another blogpost (likely on 31.10, considering that’s my independence day)

Love is so much – and something I crave so deeply. Something my soul yearns for, something my spirit desires.

But I don’t understand it,
and it scares me to death.

Sometimes you just gotta buckle down

People have often told me they don’t understand how I do it.
How I went gluten free on a tight budget.
How I stay in school with all my health problems.
How I function on my own.
How I make ends meet each month.

The thing is I haven’t done anything special. I’m not anyone special, I’m just your average 24 year old who loves Sims and Pokemon, anime and manga, the colour orange, monkeys and elephants, you get the picture. And the thing is before I had to do it, I thought I couldn’t do it.

The truth is when you find yourself in difficult circumstances, you somehow find the strength to carry on. When you see others in dire places and think “Wow, I could never do that” the truth is when push comes to shove and it’s your only option, you just buckle down and do it. It’s not easy. It’s painful. It sucks. It’s difficult.

But I’m not a superhuman because I am where I am now. Because I stay in school with mostly decent grades (adol psych will come up!), because I live on a small budget, because I do so much myself.

Truth is I don’t know how I do it, and some days I doubt that I can keep doing it.

An elephant never forgets


I like elephants. That’s a bit of an understatement, I love elephants. I also love monkeys, but that’s for another post. Well, I’m wearing a monkey t-shirt but the picture angle kind of hides it.

Elephants. An elephant never forgets, they say. A Nora never forgets, either. It in some ways a cool quality I have, I remember when my friends mention wanting something badly, and I try to make it happen for presents. I remember old nicknames and inside jokes. But at the same time, I remember old hurts, old aches, old pains. I don’t forget easy, and it’s hard because so many things I’d just rather forget. I’d rather forget how much pain I’ve been through and I’d rather forget where I’ve been. But forgetting the bad and remembering the good would hardly do me any good. It would only cause further pain.

But oh how I dream.
How I wish that I could just let go of all these things that have hurt me. And only remember the good.

“You can go on living as long as your heart believes,
although the scars of yesterday remain,
let’s stay together always.”

The scars will remain, both physical and emotional. The scars won’t fade, but it doesn’t mean I can’t go on living and hoping and wishing and dreaming.

I just want you to know who I am


I remember the first time I cried out for help from my depression. I remember the first time I held out my hand. It was 2001 and I was 14 years old. I had braces complete with rubber bands that snapped across the room when I spoke and no sense of style. Exhibit A: school picture from that year. Again, I was so young and naive to many things. I read my poetry from back then, and some of it breaks my heart even now for a much younger me. 14 is far too young to plan out a suicide. 14 is far too young to hold a razor blade in your hand, and makes imprints on tender white skin. I still have those scars. I still see them daily. I still weep for my younger self. But the first time I reached out for help, besides posting on internet message boards that I was broken, hurting, and scared, before emailing my youth pastor and telling him what an inner hell I lived in… was to write a poem, and give it to my Sunday school teacher. This is that poem:

The pain that grips my youthful heart
Rips me up, tears me apart
The tears that brim in my young eyes
Might come to you as a surprise
I cannot handle the pain
Not the tears that fall like rain
The dull, study ache that’s settled deep down
The heavy burden that I carry around
But I hide the pain-I hide the tears
I hide the saddness, I hide my fears
Nobody understands, and I feel like nobody cares
And all I can do is say some simple prayers
I just don’t know, I gotta get it out
I cannot take this burdern about
No one to turn to, all I can do is cry
No one who’d care if I should die
I’m about ready to use it, I don’t know what to do
I guess all I can do is turn to you

I left the spelling errors intact. It didn’t seem right to correct them. A month after giving this to my sunday school teacher, I had the police at my school to talk me out of suicide. My parents were blindsided. They had no idea I was so hurting, so broken. I hid it well. I learned that lesson at 14 years old: how to completely hide my pain. How to retreat within myself, how to throw up walls so high that no one could enter, not even myself. I learned how to perfect my facade, how to live within myself. To smile and laugh, and act like I was fine. But the truth is I wasn’t. The truth is I was broken. I recently found this snippet of a poem from back then, and my heart broke. I wept.

Just wanna die, just wanna die
Tired of just wonderin’ why
Wanna die, wanna be in my grave
Too scared and afraid to wave
Wanna be strong wanna be brave

I was 14. I hadn’t lived yet. I had no idea what I would face later in my life, that I would make such painful decisions at age 18 and again at age 21. I didn’t know that I would continue to spiral deeper into depression, bounce from counselor to counselor, and have labels such as PTSD and EDNOS slapped on me. That just one cut would turn into a lifelong addiction, and every day is a daily battle to not lapse back into it. I had no idea.

It’s scary. I just want to go back and hold my younger self, to tell her at age 24 she’d finally be pulling herself out of all this crap. That she’d finally start approaching the other side, that there’s hoping waiting for her. I was fourteen. I shouldn’t have felt like this… and yet I did.

she still sleeps with the light on

“She fools all of her friends into thinking she’s so strong,
but she still sleeps with the light on,
and she acts like it’s alright on,
as she smiles again…

and he cries but you rarely see him do it
and he loves but he’s scared to use it
and he hides behind the music
’cause he likes it that way.”

I sometimes wonder about myself. I’ve gotten so good at putting up walls (I’m reminded of the song “some walls” here.. “But if there’s any hope for love at all, some walls must fall).

I’ve perfected the act of putting up walls. I’ve perfected the act of acting like I’m fine – smile on face, while inside my heart is breaking. True, the one closest to me generally see through it, but it scares me how GOOD I am at it. I’ve fooled therapists, doctors, friends, all into thinking I’m fine, even myself at times.

Why do I do this?
It doesn’t help anyone.
Not me, not them, not you, not me.

But yet, it’s what’s comfortable. It’s what’s safe. It’s what I’ve done for years. It’s where I fit – safe inside walls that keep the real me hidden. For I’m afraid if I’m open about my past, people will judge me. Logical Psychology Major Nora says “You stupidface, you’d never tell a client that stuff is their fault. How are you any different?”

But Hurting, Scared Nora says “Of course it’s different for you. You were there. You know what happened. You know if you acted different, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Logical Psychology Nora says “You had no control. People want to know what your childhood was like, not just the glorified version, not just the good parts you tell.”
Hurting, Scared Nora cowers at the thought.

And yet, if I had a client who was like me, I’d urge them to be open with their friends, their therapist, the ones they are close to. But since it’s myself I’m dealing with… everything is totally different. It doesn’t matter, because Hurting, Scared Nora always wins over Psychology Nora.

Really need to work on changing that… but how do you tear down walls that took all those years to build up?