Another post about recovering from abuse and anxiety

(Title says it all, you were warned. )

You know, when you’ve been abandoned and abused by your parent, it is real tempting to dull your pain by think there is nothing good about them.

It would be easy, I mean, all the stuff I’ve remembered, and experience, because of that jerk, I really don’t have any reason to like him or try to find good in him.

I am not one for sugarcoating. Not one for saying “he did the best he could” when I know, by his own admission, he didn’t really try. It was never that important to him to try.

I don’t want to miss him. Like Romeo, I want to cut out the part of me that belongs to my father’s bloodline, and be done with it. There are times that is a quite pressing desire, and I know my sisters have had it also. Like Todoroki Shoto from MHA, there’s a side of us all we hate and want to reject, even if it means rejecting our own selves.

I don’t know why I got to think of all this today, I’ve finally started to feel better, been eating more, I ate Thanksgiving dinner, Hallelujah! And I’ve eaten better since then, and felt far less sick, and no gagging has happen in nearly two full weeks if I make it through tomorrow, all this is reason to be ecstatic.

Yet, I also got to see some of the pain my other family members are in this week, the holidays tend to bring it out, I suppose. And I guess we all take turns having a crisis and breakdown.

Me, I’ve built myself a support system of friends, doctors, and counselors, as well as my own family, I can turn to a lot of people when I feel bad. People ask me how I am.

But not everyone in my family has gotten that far yet, and it’s rough on them.

I am slowly learning to let go of anxiety, but it’s nerve-wracking to know that at any time it could pop up again. I had a job interview today for the first time in over a month, my health has been so bad I didn’t even apply for several weeks, but now that I feel a little better, I decided to risk it, I’d like to earn some holiday cash, after all.

But I woke up and I felt he anxiety trying to grab me, my throat, which felt much better yesterday, tightened up. My stomach has been not really nauseous, but jumpy and twitchy, and though I ate, it remained nervous.

But I played my new Skillet CD in my car on the way to the interview, and sang out that I feel invincible, I’m undefeated, and I want to live (and if you know what CD has all 3 of those songs, congratulations, you’re a dedicated fan).

I don’t think I got the job, but I did good, and I am getting better at these interviews, plus my last one went very well and that’s a confidence boost.

Anxiety tends to whisper “well it might not have, you could have gotten sicker and not been able to do it.”

But the reality is I felt okay while working that job, and God gave me the ability to finish well, even if I only worked 6 days total, with kids that feels like a long time. I put my all into it, and that’s the important thing.

Reality versus Fear, isn’t that the constant battle of anxious people?

Reality? God did come through

Fear: That next time He won’t.

At some point, you just have to pick one. Either you try and fail, believing God will catch you, or you don’t try because you’re too scared you might fail even if nothing bad has happened yet.

It sounds ridiculous to people who don’t have anxiety, but to those who do, it’s like facing a dragon every single day to get up in spite of your fears and do what you need to do.

Id o believe it will be easier for me one day, I believe one day, I ‘ll wake up and the idea of gagging or being sick won’t even cross my mind. It could take a year, but I believe it will happen.

But until God has fully healed me, that’s not the case, and I have to choose.

The secret to Christian life, as far as will power goes, is that we choose something over and over until it cease to be a choice because God has made it part of our nature. Scientists call it forming a new habit, but a habit is something you can change without too much concern, this is a character trait that’s essential to who you are.

Right now, being a healer, being a brave warrior, feels like it’s not who I am. But one day, it will be indispensable to me, I won’t be able to not be that way anymore. That’s my idea of success, who’s with me?

Of course, Love is all that will enable me to do that.

For one of the first times ever in my life, two nights ago, I cried for someone else’s pain. Someone close to me. And I have never, not in my memory, ever been able to do that, much as I wished to. I was so out of touch with my own sadness, it was hard work to even cry for myself, forget someone else. Some women are so empathetic they can cry for a fictional character’s sadness, me? I rarely cry unless it’s a bittersweet ending, that gets me.

So, I knew that somewhere in all this pain and chaos in my life, God has made me more compassionate. I’ve gotten more in touch with my own feelings.

This morning, I acknowledged it, I said “God, I am nervous.” But I gave that to Him, and I was able to get up and not feel sick.

I’ll tell you all right now, I am still nervous about the job, I am nervous about my health going back downhill, and I am scared of the uncertainty of the future. Since that is what is really is. I don’t know what will happen, and that is what frightens me.

God has not tol me what wil happen, only tht I will be oaky.

And to bring it back to what I started with, I started thinking about that, as I remembered how my dad used to sometimes have a tender, soft look in his eye. Rarely toward me, unless it was mixed with a kind of pleas for pity, but with movies, books, and stuff that we aren’t as guarded about. My dad used to cry watching Hook, or A Walk to Remember, or Fiddler on The Roof.

How do I reconcile that with the cruel, spiteful person I know him to be the rest of the time?

It’s the hardest thing about coming to grips with abuse, the knowledge that your abuser, however bad, is still human. It’s easy to forget about a demon, if you believe in those, you might know that. When you’re dealing with a purely evil being, you don’t find it hard to distance yourself from what they do, you can’t possibly sympathize with them. People who try are fools putting human emotions on something that is not human. It never will be. (Paradise Lost is bull, if you’ve ever head of it. The evil would never be so noble as Milton makes him out to be, it’s ridiculous.)

But even the worse of humans were once human, and can by sympathize d with. It’s terrible to remember that humanity, a little. Because I remember how I wished it was something I could have access to. But I was barred out since I was born, and there was nothing I could do about that. I think my mom must have felt the same way.

The reason abusers have such a powerful draw on their victims is that glimpse of a soul that we have a sneak peek to, you see, abuse is all about deception, but the one part that isn’t deception is powerful the way a drug is powerful. When an abuser reveals their brokenness to you, they aren’t faking it.

They have the twisted ability so hateful to healthy people, to use their pain as a weapon. The pain is real, that’s why it cuts deep, but they can project in onto other people. It’s often used in anime, and it always gruesome when it is because it rings true to real life.

They use their pain, but it’s a farce because they don’t actually intend to let you help heal them, just to act as a pain killer, briefly before they take it out and beat you up with it again.

What stings is that they also have good qualities. My dad had them, but abusers use their good points as a weapon to. That’s whats so deeply twisted about it. It’s not just one or the other, everything becomes about ensnaring you and keeping you under their power. Their goodness becomes as hateful to you as their evil, worse even, because it tastes like honey, but like with that scroll in the bible, it turns sour in your stomach.

Still, I miss that part of my dad, I miss what could have been. The part of him that is still a real person, that he keeps locked up, even from himself. I know it doesn’t justify a thing, it’ just adds more regret to my memories.

And I thought of this, and of how all this has affected me, and how God has been there, and it make me think that maybe what an abuser really needs to hear might be what I’d like to tell my dad, if I could safely do so:

“Be glad, Dad, that we are not left to ourselves. That we do not have to live with the knowledge we drove someone else to suicide, or depression, or fear, because we can know that God takes care of His own, whatever we do. Be happy that everything is not about you, instead of resenting it, because no one really wants that who understands what it means.”

See, the really good thing is, other people’s happiness is not up to us. We can be part of it, for sure, and we should be, but we can’t determine it. However good we are, or however much we suck.

I think an abuser could only change, truly, if they knew that. They must realize it for themselves, in their lives, and then realize they don’t control the fate of their victims either (I don’t include special cases where they have killed them, clearly that’s not the same kind as I’m talking about.)

I wonder too, if someone might read this who has those kinds of regrets. For what they put other people through. Maybe you need to hear this, that even with all you do and don’t do, God is in control.

It hurts like hell to become well, as the Oh Hellos have put it, but if you really want it, God will do it, in some form or another.

I believe that both because I have to, or else despair, and because I am starting to see it in my life. Slowly.

It’s gotten bad, but here I am. It could get worse, but I think it will get better. As a friend told me, it will never be as bad as this again. Even if problems do reoccur later in life.

Anyway, even getting into all this can trigger anxiety for me, but I choose to do it anyway so that I will learn to let go. I can’t be afraid of my past if I want to heal.

And to all of you in the same boat as me, hang in there.

I speak as a person who has anxiety, who has had it, like an unwelcome visitor in my life, but who does not intend to keep having it.

No going back, only going forward. Yes, and Amen.

I encourage you to make that decision for yourself. That, whatever you’ve had your whole life and have now, you will not spend the rest of your days with it. You will get free, no matter how long it takes.

And if you’re like me, you will then go on to make the enemy regret the rest of his days that he ever gave you fuel for the fire of your passion to help other people get free also.

I think we have to get free for our own sakes, but once we are free, we can’t help but want to see others free also.

Anyway, until next time, stay honest and get healthy–Natasha.

A 2020 Thanksgiving post

Well, it’s that day of the year again, at least where I live. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I want to keep this brief, because I’m sure you all have better things to do than read my blog, like spending time with family. But hey, if you are one of those unfortunate people who is alone today, just know that someone does care about you, God loves you, and this will get better if you rely on Him.

2020 has been one heck of a year to be glad about anything in, but I do have a list of things to be happy about.

  1. The Oh Hellos dropped two new EPs this year after like 2 years of nothing, that was awesome.
  2. I made some new friends.
  3. I hung out with old friends, got to know them better, and stayed in touch with others.
  4. I have now had a whole year without my abusive father in my life, and while that’s had its ups and downs, I am still grateful for the freedom.
  5. I read some good books, saw some great movies, and discovered some cool shows with my siblings.
  6. I spent more time with my cousins than I ever have.
  7. I survived.

Strangely, with as miserable as I have been, that number 4 makes me think, would I trade all the suffering of this year for another year with my dad in my life, the way it was?

The answer is a resounding NO! and that is pretty telling. I have had times I wanted to die this year, but I wouldn’t trade that for living with him again.

It sounds terrible, doesn’t it, but, I think of it like this: Living with a toxic person is just that, toxic, all the pain I went through because of that that person is at least flushing out that toxin, reintroducing it would defeat the entire point and render my suffering null and void.

We may hate to suffer, but we crave knowing it has a purpose and meaning, and if that is threatened, we sink into much deeper despair. That is one reason Christians and other theists weather suffering better overall, we believe it has a reason.

And I hope that is encouraging for someone, COVID happened, riots struck, Biden won, (which even democrats are not universally happy about, and republicans are furious); and it’s one thing after another. Maybe no one expected anything good to happen this year anyway, people can be real pessimistic.

But the Bible says God sends good times and bad times, He sends rain on the wicked and the just. And He uses all this for His purpose. We cannot stop Him, whether we be a king or a convict or a pauper.

I am glad my fate is not in the hands of my government, it’d be a scary prospect. I am glad it is not in my own hands, I am glad it’s not in the hands of any human being or organization.

You ever notice you can be glad without feeling glad? Gladness is a state of mind. Just like you can be sour on life without feeling particuallry sad.

My dad, who probaly has BPD, would be unhappy even when he felt happy. I’ve been there too. Determined to spoil it by thinking of all that could go worng and if the slightest thing did, his happy vibe would blow away like smoke, and the agner would surgace again. Miseray loves company.

While, even when I feel awful, if I am in a glad state of mine, I will find things to be grateful for. If I truly want to be glad, I can be. C. S. Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce “All those who seek Joy find it.”

I have not felt happy very much this year, but I know that I have been happier this year than I probably was last year. I know that I was happy even when I was depressed and miserable, because, I kept going, and I knew that there were things in life worth holding on for, and I had God’s help to know that, I am sure of that.

When I look back over this year, I couldn’t even tell you how I got through, if I had been told last year what it would be like, I would have said I could never endure something like that, but I did, and my memory doesn’t even serve to tell me an exact moment I became able to bear all this, something just carried me, I think. Even when I felt crushed, I must not really have been standing alone.

Love and life with apraxia... | Footprints in the sand poem, Footprint,  Footprints poem

I think that goes for you too, whether you believe in God or not, if you are reading this, He has held you up, through this year. So many people have not held on, those who have must have reached for something bigger than themselves, whether they called it God or not.

I hope we are all humbler than we were, this year has really exposed the lie that we can be self sufficient, all of us who were stupid enough to think that found out we were wrong pretty quickly (you remember when you first became so desperate for a hug you’d have hugged a total stranger? When you wanted to talk to someone about anything, even the weather? Haven’t we all had that this year?)

Many of us are mourning the loss of someone we know, or several someones, and I can’t be trite about that, but I do think, maybe we learned to value the people still with us a little more because of that, or to be more compassionate to others in the same boat as us.

Maybe we learned that our opinions are both important, and yet not as important as we thought.

I don’t know what your journey has been, but I know mine has been to realize that without love, without kindness between people, nothing really is worth doing with them. Superficial relationships don’t satisfy when a crisis hits, I need something real.

I hope that we are all becoming less content with the superficial, the fake, the flippant. As we find how unsatisfying it is.

I hope that this encouraged you at least a little to look at this year differently.

But even if you think I’m talking a lot of nonsense, Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are, and I hope you will have blessings this year far more than you ever thought possible. May “your latter glory be greater than your former” (Haggai 2:9)

HAGGAI

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Curing Anxiety with the Cosby Show, and other things.

Sorry it’s been so long, I got kind of busy last week.

Whew! I may keep this short (which for me is less than 1000 words, of course).

I am starting to do a little bit better with anxiety, and I thought it might be a good time to share some of the ways I deal with anxiety, some are light, some are deep and heavy, but if I’ve learned one things about mental problems, it’s that you have to take a holistic approach to them, it’s never just one change, it’s a lifestyle.

The fact is, people who are anxious live an anxious lifestyle until the symptoms become indistinguishable from the cause. For example, not getting enough sleep causes anxiety, then anxiety causes you not to sleep enough, thereby creating a viscous cycle.

In my case, I have led a love deprived life for so long, it’s become hard to even recognize that as the source of my anxiety.

Lately, the anxiety has gotten worse with me trying to resist it, going so far as to have an attack, because you get anxious about being anxious. (Sanders Sides anyone?)

Anyway, let’s get to the meat of it.

1. Prayer

Praying Hands Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Before you do anything else, you have to prayer. Some people say meditate, I say that’s hogwash. Perhaps it can help some people, but for me, left to my own thoughts, I find no peace. I have to get outside myself, focus on a Higher Power being able to help me.

I will say, it hasn’t been easy. A lot of times God has felt blocked from me, by the heavy cloud of dark feelings I have. I don’t think He was ever gone, or even really silent, but my receptivity tends to wane with the more fear I feel. But prayer is still indispensable, especially if I am alone.

I do find it’s better, if someone else is around, to ask them to prayer for me, hearing them say it aloud builds my own faith. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God.”

2. Physical Touch

On the note of asking people for help, something that’s been doing wonders for me is just being hugged when I start to have an attack of panic or fear. Even when I feel sick, as I do a lot when I’m afraid, if someone hugs me for 10 minutes or so, I feel calmer, able to deal with it.

Sisters Hugging Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

This is part of my story, I was touch deprived as a baby, briefly; and then i developed a hypersensitivity to being held, kissed, or touched at all, and I started hating it, as a result, my family slowly stopped touching me for several years of my life, except every so often, or if I initiated.

I had no clue this caused deprivation and a lack of feeling loved, I began to feel the loss as a young teen, and reach out more for it, but my ad, as if in some kind of punishment, then said he’d respect my wishes about not liking touch, after ignoring them for years when I said I didn’t like it, as soon as I said I needed it, he wanted to “respect that” he’d already stopped touching me, but you’d think he’d be glad to get a chance to work with me on this, and figure out what I’d be comfortable with, y dad was never one for subtly.

The rest of my family really didn’t get it either, and up until the last two years, it stayed that way, I wasn’t hugged very often.

Now, they are starting to realize I need this, and reach out and do it, I still have to ask a lot of the time, but I am learning not to be embarrassed about this too.

Note: I am not saying you should push an anxious person to let you touch them a lot, even if they do need it, that trust may not be there to let you work with them on it. I recommend asking them what they are comfortable with, and starting with very small touches and if they don’t respond negatively, try hugging lightly. I’d say never do a bear-hug or full-frontal hug with someone who still acts nervous when you touch them, it’s just too rough. That’s just my experience though, not professional advice.

3. Moving

My sisters actually found out about this technique, and have been employing it longer than me, but with their encouragement, I’m starting to do it more.

Getting out of the room you’re in, especially if you can get outside, is a great way to stop anxiety, especially if you are having an attack where you can’t breathe. That time you feel so trapped, being out in a wider space makes it better.

Also, for me, walking, even if it’s just in circle, up and down, helps. When I get anxious, especially early in the morning, my body is stiff and tight and I carry tension in my back, throat, and shoulders. So walking in an upright position, stepping lightly, and trying to walk the way my chiropractor says to to practice stretching out the right way, relieves some tension. It seems to decrease the chances of a nervous reaction to food, or stress.

Pacing a Trench - TV Tropes

Walking outside is the best combination.

4. Drink Water

So many things feel worse when you are dehydrated, my appetite gets worse. When I feel anxious, my instinct is often not to eat, but also not to drink, to just hold still and try not to do anything to make it worse, which is the worst thing to do.

Here's how drinking water can help in reducing diabetes - Times of India

When I can’t eat, drinking lots of water keeps the nausea down to a more manageable level, and usually helps bring back my appetite. It’s important to stay hydrated after being adjusted too.

5. Relaxing Entertainment

This won’t be the same for everyone, but I find that watching a lighthearted, wholesome piece of media while I eat helps me feel less anxious while eating. Playing music will help too, but the more my focus is taken off myself, the better.

One show I’ve been watching everyday while I eat is “The Cosby Show”. say what you will about the actors, this had to be one of the purest, best, most wholesome shows ever made for TV, at least at that time.

Where Is the Cast of 'The Cosby Show,' 26 Years After the Sitcom Ended? |  Inside Edition

I can’t even describe how good the writing is, subtle, heartfelt, true to real life, without disrespecting a particular race, gender, or age group. Most of the episodes don’t have a “lesson” per sec, but are just about a family loving each other, doing kind things for each other and other people, and spreading that love around. Weathering life with each other.

Perhaps it’s because my home life was not like that as a kid, though it is becoming more that way now, that I like watching this. It shows me what could be, and reinforces the changes I am trying to make. I don’t have to roll my eyes and say “that’s such a toxic way to handle it” like with most shows.

There’s some movies I go back to also, when I need to be uplifted. Usually it’s not inspiring movies for me, just movies about family, and getting through life while finding meaning in simple things. Perhaps what I most need encouraged now.

Inspirational stories are great, but at a time like this, they can put pressure on me to heal faster than I can really heal. We are in such a hurry, as a generation, to outgrow our problems, and overcome, but we don’t want to learn patience in order to do it. We just want to be better Now.

And we can get better, quickly, or slowly, depending on God’s will, but what everyone needs to hear is that you will do both, if you life to adulthood and face struggles.

Sometimes healing is like getting surgery, you go in, it’s done, and you just have to recover afterwards.

Other times healing is like physical therapy, months and years of work and reinforcing and changing how you do things until you’re on the right track.

And if one thing gets to be quick for you, something else will be slow. It’ll be different things for different people.

Mental illness is often a long process, I’ve heard of people who got delivered of it in one go, and that’s great for them. God can do anything, but the majority of us have to walk a path. God is glorified whether it’s fast or slow, because it is still by His grace anyone recovers.

I believe even non-Christians owe their healing to God, who else gives us the things that cure anxiety? Most of them are God created things, Nature, Music, Love. Even art is just reflecting God’s creation.

Perhaps it’s even good to notice this stuff while you are still young, because if you walk it out for a few years, and get through it, you have the whole rest of your life to be free.

I may not like having this now, but when I’m 30 or 40, I’ll be glad not to have waited till then to realize all this, by then I’ll have been practicing living without fear for a very long time, maybe when I’m 80, I’ll have forgotten what it feels like to be anxious.

I don’t think anxiety is a permanent condition. The people who say it is usually have only been dealing with it for a few years, and usually without God, even therapists and counselors tend to deal with the same patient only for a few years. how do they know it wasn’t eventually possible to kick this stuff completely.

It may always be a part of your personality to be tempted by anxiety, but all us anxious people know the difference between being tempted, and actually becoming afraid. The suggestion flashes before your mind, and you either latch onto it and sink, or you ignore it, and swim ahead.

I have been anxious since I was a kid, but not all the time. If it can go for a season, surely it can go for a lifetime.

I may not be out of the woods yet, friends with similar problems to me say it’s taken them a few years, or longer, to get free, some are still in the process; but they did get free.

It probably takes 2 years on average to change your lifestyle enough to not encourage anxiety, and it may take 5 years or more to not be tempted by it hardly at all. If I had to guess, assuming you were working on trusting God, and building up better habits all that time. For those of us who give up on it, of course it takes longer.

My dad has had anxiety since he was born, pretty much, and is now almost 60. I have come farther in one year than he has in his whole life. Though I think there were times he did better, but from his stories, he’s never been rid of it.

But my father doesn’t try to be rid of it. He prays, but makes no lifestyle changes with that prayer, and doesn’t seek the kind of counsel and reassurance that would help him, unless a lot has changed since I last saw him.

Me? I’m changing everything, one step at a time, and my life is becoming the kind of life I wanted for so long. It’s far from finished, and it will never be perfect, but what is Possible in my mind had expanded a lot.

I think that’s a good place to stop. I hope you found some of this helpful, or enlightening, or fun, and that you are continue to fight your battles. If I helped even a little, t was worth it. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Some things I learned in 2020

Whew! It’s been a while, sorry,

Oh well, I need to take it easy for a while anyway while my body heals.

Big news, I finally ended my therapy last week. I started it…what, 7 months ago now? I agreed to myself that I’d go for 6 months, and then see where I was.

It’s not that I think I’m done, in fact, I’ve uncovered way deeper issues and trauma than I thought possible, but my therapist and I weren’t on the same page. We just don’t see healing the same way, and it seemed it was no longer helping, so I will be looking into other forms of help.

For the time being, I’m trying to grasp the fact that I actually was okay with stopping and that I am not crazy for doing it, and trusting myself to make that decision.

Not that I make bad decisions, I just always think I will when it come to taking care of myself.

These past two weeks have been interesting for me.

Do you know why people don’t get healed? There’s a myriad of reasons, I know, but the most common has to be they just don’t believe they will be.

I have had trouble believing in it.

It’s true that healing is step by step for some people, my chiropracter and I discussed it. We both know of people who get healed instantly, mind, body, and soul…but so many who have to walk it out.

I have a friend who did get healed of depression and suicidal thoughts, but had to walk it out.

And I’ve had to walk it out. Literally.

It’s funny how my feet have literally been crooked, and I’ve been unable to walk in straight paths, like the Bible says to do. I have to practice walking a new way now.

My chiropractor also asked me if I visualized walking freely, and being able to just move and not be hindered by this, and come to think of it, my therapist asked me also what I wanted to be like at the end of therapy. I’m not where I wanted to be. But I wasn’t planning to switch therapists, it just worked out that way.

I had a hard time answering both questions. I’ve never walked straight or not had a crooked back, so I can’t imagine moving that way, and a lot of the discomfort of this process is that I move in the same ways, after each adjustment, I move a little differently, but I try to move the old ways and it hurts or nauseates me to do so. (You may know how nauseating cramped muscles in your back and stomach are).

If I manage to stay straight, the strain of it can also be painful, as I’m not used to it.

There are times this journey feels like hell, I won’t lie.

Still… one day, I have to believe it will be worth it.

God is my life coach. He’s never promised this will go away instantly, or that it will be easy… but that it will be done, eventually, and I’ll be okay.

There are days I get afraid that it will never end, and I wonder if I can make it… but I am doing better with that.

“In the end, I’m feeling more and more, there won’t be any end….but I guess when you can’t find an edge, by a map half written, it can feel the end, to have to keep going.”

Here’s what I think though, no matter what you’re going through, you have to be able to picture the end. To see light at the end of the tunnel.

I think people succumb to mental illness because they cease to be able to think of a life without it. Mental illness is a whirlpool of your focus, it just swirls around and around on it, you’re obsessed.

I’ve had reason enough to be lost in that, with physical symptoms constantly. and emotional ones.

But somehow, I feel I am finally a little able to embrace the symptoms because they are a sign something is changing, something is getting better. They suck, but you can endure something if you think it’s for a reason.

I feel less trapped in my home now. Somehow, my attention has been shifted more onto “I must recover” and less to “I’m trapped.” I can no longer afford to be trapped.

What if the door to the cages we’re in as Christians, really is unlocked already? Jesus said He is the Door.

What if all the difficulty getting out of the cage is because we’ve spent so many years walking around the inside of it, measuring our whole world by what we can see through the bars, and we can’t even imagine an entire world out there beyond it.

Can I imagine a life without systemic depression and crooked feet? Only vaguely, like a dream that’s not very clear.

I have realized slowly how low my expectations for myself are, and how they have been for a long time, yet I’ve always dreamed of more. Haven’t we all?

I know, we just had an Election–are still having it–, those of us in America are on pins and needles. Whoever wins, half of us will feel like hope has gone out the window.

But somehow, life will go on either way, and it may not ruin ours as much as we think it will if it doesn’t go our way.

I don’t feel that wokred up right now, because I’ve realized I can’t conrol what happens. I’m one vote of millions, and evil people may tamper, and try to interfere, or maybe my country will just vote stupidly… People will vote for Biden just because he’s not Trump, and for Trump because he’s not Biden, and we all know that’s why, and we all know we can’t do anything about it.

So, why do we get so angry?

We feel out of control, we can’t control politics (not single handedly) and we can’t control COVID, and we can’t control the weather… so we’re so angry, angry at our neighbors who vote different, live different, and see things differently.

While I most certainly will never say anyone who is innocent who votes in Abortion and other atrocities, neither can I blame one single person for it all. I am leery of anyone who tries to do that.

Just as blaming one person or thing for my own problems turns out to be like quicksand. It’s just a trap.

Quicksand Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

If I had to pick one way I’ve matured this year, it’s that I think I blame people less than I used to. i’m tired of doing it. And when I don’t need to control things, I don’t need to blame someone when I lose control.

Of course I picked a job that also puts so much out of my control. This last one went smoothly, but their regualr caregiver returned early, nothing they could do, nothing I could do, it just happened. I have no control.

Either I am trying to frustrate myself, or God has led me to paths that teach me to depend on Him, not my own merit. I could be perfect, and it wouldn’t matter in this case, but that’s just it, I’ve always felt I had to be perfect and I always had a man putting that standard on me in my life, several men over the years. Women too.

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It’s trail by fire to pursue things I can’t control, and some people have told me frankly it doesn’t make sense to them, but what can I say? This is what I’m good at. What I like doing. Even if I can’t depend on the results.

But maybe it will work out. Maybe I’m right to do what I do. How can I know? I feel there won’t be an end to the searching, but there has to be, right?

I was reading something earlier today, a Light Novel by the author of Naruto (yes, I hate that show, but the LN was actually better, maybe his style is more suited to novels or it could be someone else actually wrote the story) and his character said something interesting that I don’t quite agree with, but I think there’s some truth to it. That being an adult is giving up one thing, and finding another.

Essentially that we give up on our childhood dreams, we lose them, and then we find what we want as adults, eventually.

I don’t think that’s true for everyone. Even the author admits there are exceptions.

And I think that we have a purpose.

But I can agree that finding our Purpose means leeting go of our plans for ourselves to try to make it happen.

I tried to get into a teaching position for a long time when I was younger, and it just wasn’t happening, finally I gave up. Not too long later, I was asked to be a Sunday School teacher at my new church.

It doesn’t work that way everything, sometimes you do need to pursue things, some people are given the gift of being able to do that, but for me, most often, the best things in my life are ones that came to me when I wasn’t expecting it.

Christine Caine has a sermon analogy based on the story of Elisha, when Elijah calls him, and he has to drop everything he’s doing, kiss some things goodbye, and go on his way.

God often does not give us a lot of time to prepare.

And hey, you know hwy? Because we come u with really dumb stuff when we prepare. You’ve probalby had the expericen where something seemed like a good idea till you said it or did it, and then it was horriblly embarrassing or hurtful.

That’s happened to me, or things never play out the way I imagine they will because I have no way to know what will happen.

Like Shikamaru, I once envisionaed a life whereI could do hat I wanted. And like him, it’s not shaped up the wa I thought.

Unlike him, I wouldn’t say I’ve been forced into a career and calling I didn’t want, and don’t feel suits me. I feel I am still transitioning into adulthood and I feel no burden to give up on my dreams and just try to make the world better for my kids. I don’t see anywhere in the bible where it says at a certain age we should just stop living our own lives.

I’ve had people literally 4 years older than me talk to people who are 4 years younger than me, and say they already feel they are preparing for the next generation.

Me? No way. I mean, sure I’ll help, but I’m not done living yet. Catch up to me, kids.

My path of healing has tied into this in a big way, I’ve wuestioned everything about my life this year, I thik I’m not the only one. But I questioned less because of the lockdown than because of personal stuff.

You see, I’ve een fighting a battle with the demons that want to steal my whole life, and I’m walking away form it, however slowly, with the realizaton how rare I am.

It’s not rare to have these probleme,s but it’s are to walk out of them and be thinking “My life is not going to be stolen like this.”

The people who do come to that epiphany still have hard work ahead, but they have hope, and millions of people every year are not living with that hope.

I know that people my age and older feel they are the Walking Dead, it’s all over their fiction works and internet presence. People who are barely making it through life. Losers. People who live from anime episode to episode.

And I’ve been there, there are days I still camp out there.

I don’t claim to have it figured out yet.

But what I can offer someone like that is vision.

Leadercast - "Where there is no vision, the people... | Facebook

AS MLK jr said “I have a Dream.:

I am not just dreaming of my circumstances to change, but that how I feel and think of them will change.

Two days ago, I went for a walk around my street, I’ve had anxiety about doing that since I moved here, my dad didn’t help, worried about being harassed (And I live in a very safe neighborhood), but I walked around and I didn’t feel nervous. I didn’t jump every time I heard a car or saw someone outside. And I thought, with all the stuff I’ve been going through, I just don’t care as much anymore about petty fears.

I’ve also stopped caring as much if people are watching, I dance at church when everyone can see me now, who cares?

Winston Porter Denmark Dance Like Nobody's Watching Wall Decal | Wayfair

You see, I’ve lost enough because of what I couldn’t control, why give up anymore.

Maybe the depression has made me care less about some things, I dress up less often and do less make up, though that’s more because of COVID. But when I am around people, I don’t feel I need to impress them anymore, because it’s pointless. I need authenticity, or relationships to me are useless and just a repeat of my past.

I don’t know if that will go away when my spirits become lighter again and this stuggle ends, and I’ll have the same temptations as many, I somehow doubt it will every be a realll strong pull in my life again.

I’m young, but I’m already learned that it’s better to have a handful of people you can be real with, than thousands you can only be fake with.

Anyway, I think I got off the original point, I guess this post has been mostly about that I learned during 2020, and now it’s almost over.

Looking ahead, I am not going to be brainlessly optimistic and say next year will be easier, I hope my problems will be different problems, but I will have problems.

I doubt all the issues of this year will go away in January, but if I have learned anything else, it’s that change is a process and it’s okay if it takes longer than you thought it would, as long as you see it happening.

Like Shikamaru also, I think I am the same person I was before, just with less baggage, more awareness of the people around me, and a better understanding of sorrow than I had before.

I didn’t stop liking Skillet music, but I started liking Evanescence. If that works as a metaphor for someone, then you get me.

Skillet vs. Evanescence - I'm Not Awake and Alive Bring Me To Life (Mashup)  | Bring me to life, Evanescence, Awake and alive

And with that, I’ll wrap this up for now, I hope you got something out of this, and until next time–Natasha.

First song I listened to, now I’m hooked.