I abhor rereading my old writing, old journals, old blogs. Self-grace for who I have been is not my strong suit. Rather I reflect with an air of deeply felt condescension, wrongly believing my current reality is a place of arrival. As a result of this attitude, I have a hard time with the editing process. I like to move from first draft to published within a matter of hours. I pour my heart, soul, energy into meticulously crafting my words and sentences. I reread it once or twice. Then, I press “post”, and sweep the blog under the rug. Within a month, I have forgotten the things I have written, and I cringe with anxiety when people reference my old words in present reality.
With that preface made, today’s blog is probably further from left field for me to post than it is for you to read. For over a week, I have tossed around topics for my post. When I sat down to write this morning, the blank page was uninviting. I reread my recently finished journal and found nothing worth refurbishing into something intelligible and life giving. So, I sat and free-wrote for a solid half hour—still nothing worth sharing. I even went as far as rereading the dreaded unposted stage 1 blogs. I remained uninspired. Somewhere early in today’s process, though, an old poem I wrote landed in the forefront of my mind and remained. My immediate thought: absolutely not. I will not post those words to a community of mostly strangers.
Unfortunately for me, one of the greatest vulnerability tactics I implement in daily life is to run after things that make me want to plant my feet in refusal. Today’s post comes from one of my most raw and creative places. Surprisingly it was a joy to edit, redraft words, and vastly improve this poem from my journey of deep healing.
I pray as you read my story that you can find a landing place for the most tender and hidden parts of your own hurts. I pray that you will accept the challenge to delicately but shamelessly unearth the parts of your story you wish you could will away. And, most passionately I pray that you share your heart with others; that you would deeply believe your life has the power to bring freedom and hope.
Paper HeartI. You were the one who taught me That I was just a normal girl who dreamed of giving her heart away. I was deceived into believing I had found a worthy recipient. So I cupped my fragile heart in my hands and reached out to you, afraid that if you dropped it, I would be lost. Instead I found the wound of still gripping it as you walked away was deeper than any mark you could have made. II. You were the one who taught me that quitting never looked good on either of us. You taught me that life was about abundance and thriving. And I believed you until the day your body quit surviving. my strength quivered as I buried your words the day you were scattered at sea. III. You were the one who taught me That there may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning. You taught me that each day was one more day to try again. And I believed you until the night the pain was too much for you. In the morning, I learned of your final goodbye. And for months after I learned that tears didn’t hold the power of resurrection. IV. You were the one who taught me That exploring me didn’t mean you were searching for my heart. Here I was deceived into thinking that if you looked long enough, you would uncover the one part of me that wanted to be found. Instead it was the only inch you left undiscovered. V. You were the one who taught me that lies hurt less than the truth. So together we lived an effortless lie. Sometimes I would feel a sharp sting when the disparity of reality would find me in the mirror. But you were right. because the pain of my deceptive reflection could never compare to the truth stabbing me as I saw in her the love you had once had for me. VI. You were the one who taught me that best friendships could never survive across gender lines. I fought people’s inquisitive looks for years. Looked your girlfriend in the eyes, called her crazy and paranoid. Bewildered because people kept seeing something that I didn’t feel until you finally confirmed their suspicions of your concealed but timeless affection. Apparently I spent four years too blind to see your clandestine lies around me. Yes, you taught me to question everything. test everyone. trust no one. VII. You were the one who taught me to deep belly laugh— You brought a childlike joy to my life that I had lost years before. We laughed. And laughed. And laughed. Until graduation caps and five hours of airtime turned laughter into lonely. Our bliss fizzled to pain, our character ransacked by frustration. So I learned that absent and fond hearts could never close mileage gaps. I ran away as fast as I could Too scared to see your backside, so I showed you mine. But when I finally turned around, I already knew you were nowhere to be found. VIII. You—seven years stuck on you. You were the one who taught me my fighting power. That I would fight to hold on to the wind if I thought you might be in it. So I held onto hollow words knowing always that you would leave. I threw incessant punches at the memories stuck on replay— but still there you were in every song, in every movie, in every dream. You were everywhere it seemed— everywhere, except with me. IX. You were the one who taught me years later that skeletons, ghosts, and demons can live through years of being locked away. But you came disguised deceptively as friendship until one night when you wanted to be so much more than friends. And that one night turned into one month. One month that I convinced myself was genuine interest and pursuit. But with the new year ringing in, I had to face the ugly truth: I learned not even my best efforts could will you to stay. The road back to friendship is one found by few. And years later among those few, I’m still not sure we are found. X. You—the most clever liar of all—taught me for a decade that I was not worth fighting for. You used everyone else to spoon-fed me rejection, solidifying my unworthiness around the clock. You spoiled every moment of beauty and happiness, and smeared the memories with bitterness and disdain. You meticulously shot down every ounce of hope and trust. Oh yes, from you I let myself learn too much. XI. Then I saw You—different from all the rest. I skeptically eyed Your wounded figure—mystified by Your appeal. I questioned the pain in Your eyes. I watched Your tears echo my own cry: forsaken. I felt Your light expose my darkness. As You stared at me, I knew everything was changing. Your tender breath filled my lungs—and I felt my own ice melting. Your red-hot drops of truth fell violently into my hands. Redeemed. Beloved. Worthy. Beauty. were the words you wrote on me. Then a complete exhale left us both. “It is finished” you said—and a soft kiss met my skin.
What are the stories in your life that are begging to be set free from the cloaks of shame under which they have been placed? Where do you need to see redemption and healing in your own past?
In reference to the post I wrote two weeks ago, I wanted to say thank you for the gracious outpouring of love, support, and faith I have received from this community. Your emails and messages have brought me to my knees with humility, hope, and gratitude.