After nearly five months of free and unchained life, I have finally been hit with challenges. My last post kind of showed signs of breakage. I have said and written so many times that I was picking up my pieces or falling apart, or that that last piece has slid off. For five months I have lived without pain, anxiety, depression or the need to revert to my safe sanctuary of isolation. I couldn’t figure out how all of that could just disappear when it had become the rhythm of who I was. Who I am. I lived with constant inadequacy. Lived with self hatred and no reason to wish for true peace or true happiness. I didn’t deserve it. This new life I had found included peace. It included self sacrifice that brought joy and not self denial. It gave me new life. Now I feel that my recent insurgence has shaken my enemy so seriously in anger that this rage has grabbed my throat hoping to grip my heart and rip it out. It has threatened my breath causing panic, shortening my gasps for air. The old fears are being summoned and sung to. They are being called with a force that I am not sure I can withstand. Was I meant to be the victim forever? Was I meant to live in the mud of desertion, abandonment and rejection? Ugh. There is a tug of war. Me or her. If I save me will she fall?
I do not wish to be thought of as a china doll or something you pull out of box for you to see once a year.
Daddy spoke words to me when I was a young girl “do not were out your welcome girl” this may have been what I have done with you and your family and offended your friends. Through the year I have observed that I am not received as someone of value in your home. I am seen as a silly strange woman. Did you still that granny, or I am interrupting something or someone.
Your friend Elizabeth is so valued in your heart that you would drive many miles to just be with her, you make sure you call and talk or when she is there you talk many hours. You may not know when she is there, but you make sure to call her so that you can visit.
I see you invite your friends out to dinner or you make a big dinner and invite them, you call them to make sure they know about you wish them to be with you.
I am pleased you enjoy them and you have means to have all of these things above. You only make it known to me when it is like the china doll or teddy bears time to be taken out. You have not called me in so long to say I love you unless I say to you. You have not wish to come and visit, and you have no idea how to even talk to me, like how are you mom are you okay, I just called because, do you need help, I just wish to call.
You do not seem to even think of the things I made known to you on Thanksgiving that I will not ever speak or you do not even wish to know like the words “don’t ask don’t know” lets put mom on the back burner because she is someone that will say or do something that your friends may not like. You will not find me as the china doll or the teddy bear; I will not come to where I am really not wanted. You did not even respond back when I told you I cry so at night because it was not a concern to you to even want to know why. You wish not to really want to talk with me it is not a heart felt concern.
When I was a child it broke my heart to see mom drinking and all of the hurts she instilled onto me with her words like a knife that cut into my heart. However, once she put away her dinking, I found her back and I latched onto her and received her as the woman she was when I was a small girl. I wanted to be with her all the time she made me feel loved again.
My aunt Pauline how I enjoyed being with her, she was my rich aunt that she could have spoiled me, but I only wanted to be with her to enjoy a meal with or to have her come up behind me and grab me and say boo! Just to make me laugh. I would call her, I would write her even though she was not that far I made sure that I contacted her. Your children do not have time to contact me they are too wrapped up in themselves and I would not fit into their time or they must be with their special friends.
So, I will not be the china doll or teddy bear I do not feel welcome or even wanted in your life or your family, you have your most valued ones you wish to be there with you and to spend time to talk with you and enjoy.
If you ever feel you wish to have a relationship with me you will let me understand that that and you will put your heart into the time and efforts.
I must have raised you in a way that now you seem to resent all of my teachings all of my efforts. I give you my best, I stayed home with you. I protected you, I installed God and church into your heart, I made sure you could read, each night as a child I pored stories into your heart however I must have not been the right woman to raise you because now I find you feel that I failed your or could be I was too hard on your would not allow you to just go and be at that ones home or at the time or place you wanted so to be.
My words are not that valued to you so they are not to bring anger or resentment it is best that I be quite and there I will stay until I see you choose to be with me as I see you choose to be with the ones that are most important the ones you choose to have long talks with. I will not be the china doll or the teddy bear that you bring out when it is that special day to be seen and not heard.
Me:I have never been good enough for you. You pushed me out of your life with constant rejection. You never tell me straightforwardly how you feel. You wait until you blow up. I am sorry that I am not the daughter you dreamed of. When one doesn’t feel wanted they will pull back. I tried to wait for you. I asked what was wrong and now it seems you have officially made the decision to cut me off like a plant. I too feel like a porcelain doll that you put in your mind. You can’t accept me or my kids for who we are so you put us on a shelf. You wait until bed time to visit and leave before we wake up. You have refused to come to birthdays or any celebrations after so many refusals I stopped asking. I do love you and I do treasure you. But I can’t keep getting rejected. It jury’s too much
not mad at you or anyone, however you will never understand me or even understand till you ask Creator He will give you understanding; once you choose to see me for who i am and not just someone; i have been your age i can tell you many things, however you have never been my age if you choose to see me as just someone you will never understand
Today I was reminded of the Jimmy Hendricks song Manic Depression. What a word: manic. As I sit here in the parking lot of Michael’s craft store at dinner time, alone I remember that life I lived one year ago. A life full of depression and constant mania. A life of anxious ramblings sifting my core. My house is filled with constant waves of distress and just bad vibe. Maybe when I threw it off my shoulders it gently coated everything else like lacy poison. It seems as if this isn’t inside me, it will follow me my every waking moment. My teeth hurt. My chest is tight. I just need a break. Some time– to breath. So here I sit. Alone. In the dark. Hungry.
So here I am on my bed crying again. I am so afraid. My hips and knees ache. Walking is such a blessing that we all don’t appreciate. I tried to go to work since my pain was moderately in control yesterday. I changed my mind early this morning thinking I might need to rest just one more day. Boy was I surprised when that pain came right back this morning. I actually thought I could drive. The pain was unnerving. I was In tears the whole way home. What am I going to do? What if I can never walk again? What if I lose my job? What if it’s something that can’t be fixed? What if I become a burden? I am hurting.
Pain. You never really know how much you can handle until you really experience true pain. Physical pain and emotional pain are equally incapacitating. This has been a deeply trying year for me. First of all, I hate drawing attention to myself and this ebb and flow of flotsam pain has made me a hot mess. If I am not overwhelmed with stress, I am hurting and depressed. Now I am having the worst pain in my legs and back that I could possibly imagine. I feel like I’m constantly a big crying infant in need of attention from any source. How frustrating for a stubborn, I can do it myself kindof girl.
This past two months have been a very trying time. I have had a hard time walking every morning. It has gotten to the point that yesterday I walked ten steps and couldn’t move further, shaking with pain and collapsing to the floor. I wanted to drag myself to the room like a zombie because I was too embarrassed to let my husband carry my fat 180 pound ass to my room.
All these terrible fears and emotional traumas attached to this physical pain are pounding and wearing me down. I’m afraid I may be crippled for life. I feel that I can’t control my anxiety and stress. I know part of it is caused by my weight and I can’t lose it. I know that all of this stresses my husband out and I can’t control it.
I can’t control it. Is that what pain is? The lack of control?
We are here tonight to celebrate. And well, while some of you are used to celebrating a little more than others, this truly is an occasion for it. What a wonderful place and time for our souls to meet together. You: 13 years of waking up and wondering if you will be who you promised yourself to be, the last of those four years possibly here at Moreno Valley High School. While I, a young mother of three finally achieving her goal of finishing college and pursuing a career in teaching just four years ago. I met some of you in your eighth grade summer and watched you grow and become unique and creative individuals ready to jump into our world. I feel incredibly connected with this, with you class of 2011. I yelled at you as freshman. I challenged you as Juniors and watched you find yourselves as Seniors.
Most of you know my story. I have ADD, Dyslexia, Social Anxiety and Depression. Squirrel. I came from dark places. I grew up with government assistance, drug addiction, violence, gang life, homeless shelters, and small parental support. I am the statistic as are you. They said we couldn’t do this. Heck, we said we couldn’t do this. Guess what, I graduated High School in the top 20 of my class. I married at age 18 and had three children. I graduated RCC in 2005 with a Bachelors Degree in Humanities. I graduated from California Baptist University in 2006 with a degree in English and Literature with honors—a 3.78 GPA. Not only that, but I beat out all the younger students, winning the President’s Award for writing– which had not been won the previous 6 years and I became a teacher here at Moreno Valley High School. What now? What now.
I truly believe that we can change this world by changing our hearts and minds. Character is built by the choices we make when we think no one is looking. Henry David Thoreau says that, “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” How can I make a speech here without referring to your four years of English?
We may not be comfortable with our past. We may not ever want to look it in the eyes again. We don’t have a clue as to what the future holds, but what lives within us is so intense. We have the power to change everything for the good or the bad. Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, that “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
Today you decide. What is your Character? Will you walk in the darkness or the light?
Every year I stress for my students, you, to know three things: Who are you? What do you believe? ..and Why is it so important to you? If you do not know the answer of those things, search for them. With all of your heart, mind and soul search for the answers. Do not ever blindly follow. Lead. With a firm foundation under you, you can withstand any challenge that comes your way.
In discovering the answer to those things, find your passion and thrive. In doing so, you will find joy. Next, find a way to serve your fellow man. In doing so, you will find peace. Finally, love at all times despite hardship, pain, discomfort and loss and you will find love.
So, whether you continue on to college, university, Europe, missionary work, trade school or some amazing other experiences I haven’t thought of, I ask you one thing: Please do not sit on your mom’s, auntie’s, group home’s or your homie’s couch and watch life pass you by. You have an adventure to take:
So I leave you with advice from two of my favorite writers:
“To love would be an awfully big adventure.”
— J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)
“To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”
— Emily Dickinson
Live class of 2011.
It has indeed been a while. The good news is that that means that I have been processing things better mentally. The bad news is that today, I cannot. Usually, when I have things on my mind, they will not leave until I write them down. I will roll them over and over again and drive myself insane. The problems I have right now are more than I can deal with. I have discussed them with a couple of friends, but I guess I have to write it out to process it all. First of all I am overwhelmed with everything: church blog, teaching, parenting, wifing, and maybe even just breathing. Alannah is my biggest stress currently. I worry about her a lot. She has so much pressure. I know that it is all of her own doing, but I think that she can’t help it. I really think it is an OCD, anxiety, issue that she needs therapy for. I guess I always thought she would grow out of it but I see that it is not going away and is becoming uncontrollable. I know so, because my own similar problems are also raging and I know how she feels. So, I am praying for a solution for this and am hoping that all works out for the better. I can’t carry this any more. Alannah’s symptoms: social awkwardness, fear of rejection, eats lunch alone daily in my room, does not have close relationships, cannot ask anyone for help, even a waitress, breaks down on assignments she does not understand and breaks into tears over any type of dissaproval or frustration from teachers, is annoying to teachers, cannot function under pressure, puts pressure on herself at all times, never just plays or has fun, works late into the night on all assignments but is easily distracted by nothing and forgets what she is doing. Me: cannot talk to people on the phone, especially business people, doctors, or the like, cannot deal with confrontation in any issue, would rather pretend it does not exist, cannot handle any type of rejection, become distant if I am uncomfortable and make my husband crazy, cry nearly everyday, cannot cope with life, constantly making escape plans, terrified of being alone or feeling lonely, overwhelmed with relationships and the feeling that I annoy others. Constant state of panic, sometimes uncontrollable. I have gone to urgent care several times thinking I had heart problems. I have had exrays and have been given inhalers….haha the whole time, just good old fashion anxiety. I hope that I can find the right solutions. We can’t live this way. I can’t put the people around me through this anymore. Pray that we can find a therapist or solution that is something we can live with. I am going to talk to some people this week. Thanks for listening….Lara. Haha you are probably the only one who reads these things. 🙂
So, raising kids is a hot mess for just about anyone. The first kid comes and you know exactly what you are doing. Shoot, if you are a young parent and taking human development at RCC, then you know for sure what is going on. Right? Well, that was me about seventeen years ago. I knew everything. I even told my kids Santa died a long time ago and that he wasn’t real when they were three. I didn’t want my kids believing in Santa more than Jesus or even worse, believing in Santa, finding out he was fake, and then thinking Jesus was fake too. Gasp. Do you know how many Grandparents and friends I upset because of this? Well, let me just confess that the next year, when they forgot everything they ever learned when they were three, Santa was back in the picture. Now, I am not saying that you should or should not include cultural celebrations or stories in your life…I am just saying that sometimes you have to let children imagine, explore, and to be ignited creatively.
Right now, I have a seventeen year old, a fifteen year old, a thirteen year old and a three year old living under my roof. The Easter bunny is a fun way to celebrate spring. However, Easter is a very solemn and serious time, perhaps the most important time of the year. Easter is when our savior was brutally beaten and murdered. How, do we let the Easter bunny trump that? How do you teach that to a three year old? We have a cultural, religious, dilemma on our hands. So, here are some of my thoughts on how to deal with this:
Teens: Have them look to the more serious and joyous events of Easter. Make it a month long time of worship. Help them to understand Jewish history and holidays. Help them understand Ash Wednesday, Lent, and the Passover. Let them actually participate in the month of Easter. It is important for teens and older kids to understand the seriousness of the leading events, the crucifixion and the betrayal. It is more important for them to understand the joy and importance of the resurrection. Here are some ideas:
• Easter April 24 (Ash Wednesday March 9)
-Lent: Lent is a time for prayer, self-denial and giving to prepare ourselves for the commemoration of the resurrection of Christ. Decide to give up something meaningful for Lent. If your family does it together, it will be a memory that lasts.
-favorite food, meat, candy, junk food, facebook, television, video games, straightening irons, texting, ipods, favorite clothing items, favorite shows/cartoons, etc.
-Read the different accounts in the Bible of the crucifixion and the resurrection. Matthew 27:27-56, Mark 15:21-38, Luke 23:26-49, and John 19:16-37.
-Find ways for kids to serve. Let them donate time, talent, and elbow grease. They can do yard work for the elderly, babysit for single moms, clean a busy mom’s house, or anything they can think of. Doing something for someone else for free is always a sacrifice for a kid.
-Creative stuff: write poetry concerning the crucifixion, resurrection, or even from a different point of view, draw or paint after reading the story, have them journal or write a letter to Christ, Have them draw their hands and write inside of them thoughts concerning Christ, service, his love, his sacrifice, and how they can have hands for Christ.
-and, well, if you are ready for it, watch The Passion of the Christ together.
Kids: Include the cultural stuff. Celebrate spring. Have them do fun activities that correlate with spring. Use this time of the year to help convey God’s creations and the beauty they hold. Also use this time of the year to explain God’s love for his creations and that he sent his son to keep us close to his heart. We can celebrate spring as the new life Christ gives us because of his sacrifice. Remember anything you do with your family shows God’s love. If you are uncomfortable with the Easter bunny, omit him. If you like the story, maybe celebrate the basket on a different day.
-plant gardens or planters
-discuss the Creation story and how God created our world and how we can take care of it. Read children’s books or children’s Bible account of creation.
-go to a petting zoo to see baby animals
-make crafts to help kids understand that Jesus loves them, and that they can show God’s love with their attitudes, actions, and life. Examples:
– example, paint a palm and stamp it on paper, draw hearts and put we show Jesus’s love with
-Make bunnies or other animals using hands in different shapes with paint or markers
-make sugar cookies with Easter themes
Easter is an important time for us as Christians. It is important that our children have their priorities in order. There is a time for the Easter bunny, Yoda, Batman, Santa and Phineas and Ferb. The story of Christ, his teachings, and his life is not meant to be a part of our day, but an underlying part of the fabric of our lives. He is not seasonal or cultural. He is not a fairy tale or a Saturday morning cartoon. Christ is in us. He is in our actions, our thoughts, our hearts. Have a family meal, dye some eggs, discuss Christ everyday. Celebrate Him in everything, everyday.
Baking is a really great way to understand life. Anyone who really knows me knows that I relate everything to food. The word character is defined as the aggregate components of what makes a person. When most people think of the word aggregate they think of the stuff that is used to mix concrete. I think of ingredients for bread. I love making bread, especially fancy schmancy bread. One of my favorites is sun dried tomato, basil and olive oil bread. That is a collection of different sources that are considered a whole, right? Well, character is who we are no matter the circumstances. I know for a fact that I am quite the character. I just didn’t know exactly what my character was for a very long time.
Most of my life has been spent drawing out and sketching exactly who I always wished to be. When I was a kid, I knew for sure that I wanted to be a beautiful fairy with flowing black hair and brilliant green eyes. As I got older, I knew that I wanted to be perfect in every way. This meant having perfect skin, beautiful vocabulary, 100 pounds, rich and witty. I wanted to be loved and adored by all with a rocking 4.0 GPA and a hot boyfriend. Then, I really got smart and realized that all of that was kind of silly and outrageous. So, I sketched my ideal: rock star, poet, forensic psychologist. Totally attainable.
Well, I got married and well…pregnant. Three times. I dropped out of college to raise my kids and to serve my husband’s every need. This began a whole new sketch book. I was planning this brilliant ideal of who I was. I was going to have the fairy tale marriage with beautiful perfect children who never did any wrong. Children who shined like the diamonds in the sky. A husband who ran to me in the sunset in slow motion with a horse is what I drew. Not to crush any dreams, but that did not happen. My aggregate was not properly mixing. My bread was not rising correctly. My character was not real. It changed with every little shift in the wind. I had no solid me to outline.
Now, I must say that I am a little older and a little wiser. I would like to say that my character has awesome muscles, a cape, and is never swayed by those evil doers and ankle biters– but I can’t. However, I do know that my ingredients are a little more stable and my aggregate is a little less fluff and more resembling of minerals and rock; a little more solid. I am who I am no matter the circumstance. My moral compass is my compass and God is my navigator. My sketchbook of who I am reflects who I am instead of who I wish to be. I am working on finding those things that add to that character. Some of my findings are: I love to spend time with my family outdoors, I have the gift of hospitality, love to write, I enjoy performing poetry, I like kickboxing(weird I know), I like tattoos, I love to talk to anyone who will listen, I enjoy cooking, I love having close friends, ministry is in everyday life and is not a label, God is the filling and not the jacket. This is my character. This is what makes me me. I may not be super, but I am comical.
Reset. Start over. New slate. These are the most beautiful words I may have ever pondered. Are our lives like an etch a sketch, scribbled with jagged lines that nearly make some sort of sense in grey and black that can be shaken and completely lost? Perhaps we are more like those weird grease slates with the plastic covers, stories etched in and dented but released with the lift of the cover. Are we a canvas that gets layers and layers of story added throughout the years? Are we a novel that is written and edited over and over? Or, are we just an electronic devise that never works properly, getting frozen and useless, having to erase everything to function properly by sticking an imaginary paperclip into the reset hole? God has told us so many times to remember his plan for us. He reminds us that we are loved, thought of, cared for and even guided through this life in countless verses. Why is it then, that we get so scarred, dented, overwhelmed…frozen? Why do we need to reset? We need to reset because we fill ourselves with so much worry, stress, and panic. We infect our lives with virus. We must reset to find God.
We all know that all things work together for the good of those that love God, and that if we trust in the Lord he will straighten our path, that even in the valley of the shadow of death he is with us and even that he loves us more than those darn flowers and birds. We know that he always comes through especially in the hard times. We know that he knows the deepest desires of our hearts–the good and the bad. Why is it so hard to know that when we feel like we want to drown? Why do we pretend that those are not truths when we are angry, hurt, or overwhelmed? St. Augustine of Hippo says that when we chase after material needs and fill ourselves with material desires, we separate ourselves from God’s plan, from his love. We forget that God is with us because we are separating ourselves from his voice.
Did you ever notice that when you are most overwhelmed, stressed out, and angry it is about some material issue? The house payment, the need to be in control of something, the desires to be noticed, the need to be accepted are all material needs. These desires consume us and make it hard for us to remember what we know deep inside. It is like a whisper in the back of our minds that we block out with our headphones. We are a jumbled mess of our own plans, needs and wants. We are overcome with this material virus. Someone! Quick! Poke me in the side with a paper clip! Reset!
When we seek God, we can hear his voice. We must look very carefully at our material life. Material things are things that we can see, touch, smell, or hear. Anything that clutters our lives to the point that they are shouting louder than God, needs to be analyzed and shelved. If the cost of our material life makes us feel like we are drowning, we must rethink our choices. If our needs and desires make us hurt and feel guilty, reset. The antivirus we need is God’s heart. Search for his voice: whatsoever things are pure and true, brotherhood, and kindness, sacrifice, servant hood, merciful and generous—think on these things. These things are the antivirus. These are the reset button.