My biggest fear is that eventually you will begin to see me the way that I see myself.
Not my quote, but it definitely hits home.
Today I am just going to share some things that I have found that have put into words the things I’m going through.
I have a bad habit of isolating when I am sad or depressed. Part of it is cause I don’t want to drain the happiness of those around me or burden them with my problems. Another part is because my mental state is fragile and I don’t need anymore negativity to make me feel worse than I already do.
I’ve been learning the value of not placing the people I love on a pedestal. It robs us both of our objectivity. And the inevitable fall from grace leaves me shattered every time.
This is not something you just logically understand and flip a switch. You get hurt and it takes work to come out of. But when that depression, that hurt, and that anger, that whole f*ing thing goes so deep that you can’t even feel your own body anymore. I read books and I tried to understand why this happened. I go to therapy, I meditate, I try to do good things, and I tell my parents I love them and I swallow it even when I don’t want to.
In every relationship I am too much.
Too much love to give.
Too many feelings shared.
But I don’t know how to close off a heart that needs love to feel alive.
I don’t know how to hold myself back from giving.
Even if it leaves me empty.Shelby Leigh
I started making my list of things I want to work on in this upcoming year. Practicing expectations vs. reality was one of them. I need to stop expecting things from others. I need to stop assuming that others will love me in the same way that I love them.
I also need to learn that I need to stop thinking I need to change if people don’t accept me for loving the way that I love. If others don’t like that I love deeply then that’s a reflection of them, not me. I’ve hid myself away from this world for a long time and I’m getting tired of being pushed back into the shadows.
I’m honestly looking forward to starting therapy soon. My traumas have officially outgrown my fears. I’m starting to see some of my problems reflected in my children. I need to be the best role model I can be to them and normalize therapy and let them know that it’s more than okay, it’s often a necessity.
I need people to understand that this blog is now my safe place for processing. I do not need anyone to try and “fix” me or my problems. I do not need others to take offense to the things I say. These are my thoughts and my feelings. They are me, not you. Regardless of if you may be partially responsible for some of my traumas or not, I don’t need any sort of acknowledgement, apologies or justifications. I post here because I can speak without anyone responding. This is a place for my thoughts to go, unfiltered. If things are hard for you to see I ask that you please just unfollow my page. I need this to be a safe place for me without fear of judgement or abandonment.
Can you hear me?
I know you see me standing here but can you understand the words that escape me? I try to keep them in but sometimes they spill over to make room for more. There are too many of them now and I don’t like it.
It’s loud in here and it’s often hard to even hear my own thoughts.
I’m right here, with tears in my eyes and my face red from my screams. But you just stand there and look on as if you’re seeing through me.
There’s no one else around so why can’t you hear me?
If a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise?
Does it even make a sound?
An isolated tree that stands atop a hill is noticed when it sways and bends. But I know I’m a tree amongst a forest, and you wouldn’t be able to pick me out from the rest.
And that’s okay. Honestly, it really is.
I should be speaking to someone who comes to see me and not to those who walk through the forest and return home without a second thought to the wonder and beauty that they got to experience. My leaves will fall but I’ll be damned if they don’t come back in the next season and standing taller than the season before.
Does it make a sound?
Only to those who are actually listening for it.
Listen to: State Lines – Novo Amor
*Current song to listen to while you read this… Toby Mac – 21 Years*
Today marks 3 months since you left us. While I know you are in a much better place and are no longer in so much pain it doesn’t make it any easier. Especially around this time of year.
I was supposed to protect you. I’m your big brother. That was my job. To make sure you were safe.
But I failed you. And I failed your son. And I stole the little moments of joy from your life that you held onto so dearly.
I kept my children from you when they were such a bright spot in your life. Why? Because you did things away from them that I didn’t agree with? Yeah you were addicted, but you didn’t bring it around my kids. So why did I always make sure you were at an arms length away from us?
My new job is right by the funeral home where your body last was. And every time I drive by it I get angry at the bs and lies that came out of people’s mouths as they told stories of you. “She was the annoying little sister.” No, she really wasn’t. What was annoying about you? That you just wanted to love so deeply that you wanted to be around your friends and family all the time? Out of all the memories I have of you not one of them were ever of you being annoying. It was never you. You were the sweetest child I had ever met. You just wanted to spend time with us.
People gave up on you. They stopped making you a priority. Everyone went on with their lives but you were still a child who needed to be raised and taught right from wrong. And who was there to do that? I stole your sister away from you. She wasn’t there to teach you all the things she had learned.
You were always placed in peoples shadows. So of course you did things to try and make your voice be heard.
But I didn’t hear you. No one did. While you were screaming for help we were all distracted by the other noises around us. Granted, ours happened to be raising 3 kids but that shouldn’t have stopped us from letting you be a part of it.
I take solace in knowing that not once did we ever tell you that you were a screw up. Yes, we pulled away, but when we saw you we showed you love. I know it’s a horrible thing to say, but the people who are struggling with themselves now because of the way they treated you while you were still here, they should be feeling guilty.
You were such a beautiful soul that had so much to offer this world. You had a beautiful voice that deserved to be heard. You loved my children so much and I never realized it until I had to go through all the pictures for your funeral. So many pictures with you and them. One of my biggest regrets is that while we have so many pictures of you from photo shoots I’ve done, I was always behind the camera and I don’t have a single picture of us together. Not one. My baby sister and I have no pictures of us.
It shouldn’t have been you. You made bad choices, but they were never to hurt other people. Yes, others were hurt because of them but your heart has always been so good. Why were you taken from us and not someone who intentionally causes pain and lies to others?
I struggle with you passing, even more than when my grandfather passed away. Because I now live every day wondering if I could have saved your life. I wonder if I would have pulled that car over and come over to you and asked you to come see the new house if you would still be here today. I wonder if we would have written you letters and explained to you how our lives have changed and how much we were looking forward to you being a part of it if you would still be here. I wonder if we would have let you see the kids more often if you would still be here.
I carry a lot of weight from you being gone. I find some peace in knowing that you committed your life to Jesus before you met Him, and that you now get to spend your time with your precious baby boy. But I so wish you were here. These holidays are going to be rough without you.
We plan on making sure that our kids never forget who you were. You were more than your demons. But you owned those demons and you never blamed others for them.
You should still be here.
I should have protected you.
I failed you.
And now I have to live with that failure for the rest of my life until I get the blessing of seeing you again.
I love you. You were so precious to us and I’m so sorry that we didn’t make it known more often.
I hope you left this world knowing you were wanted and you were loved.
May you rest easy, beautiful girl.
Your Big Brother
I’ve got to be honest with you… after I shared my first post in this series last week I immediately had doubts. Fear of judgement overcame me pretty quickly. Why share these parts of my past that no longer reflect who I am?
This is part of my healing process. This is me learning to love myself. I have had so little self worth in the past that I didn’t feel I deserved to be a part of this world.
I thought writing this post would be easier than it actually is, wrongly assuming that many of these things I had already forgiven others and myself for. But the more I write and think about it, the more I realize that this is still a major part of my life that needs to get resolved. Because if it’s not, it’s going to eat away at all the progress I have made.
This week’s topic is about anger. Now, as you’re reading this you will find that a lot of my anger starts with moments of pain. Instead of communicating in the past when things bothered me I would keep everything bottled up and not address them. Do you know what happens when you don’t let things out? They multiply and get ugly very quickly. And eventually everything explodes, sometimes when you least expect it.
And it causes a whole lot of destruction in the process.
And that’s where a lot of my current anger still rests. In the fact that I was a tornado that ripped through a lot of people’s lives with no regard to the damage I was causing along the way.
For most of my life I have tried to be a good person and do the right things. I would avoid situations, places and people that could lead to bad decisions. I tried to be very cognizant about the friends I chose, especially in high school and college. But I have always had a serious sense of paranoia that despite all the good I was doing I could be accused of doing something that I didn’t do.
Do you know how difficult it is to live a life trying to ensure that everything is so perfect that you could never be blamed for something? It’s exhausting. Constantly trying to think 5 steps ahead of everyone else, playing what-if scenarios in your mind over and over again.
And do you know what is absolutely gut-wrenching? Doing everything right and still having your worst fears come true.
Now, I’m not a perfect person. In fact, I’ve done a lot of wrong in my life. I’ve cursed. I’ve stolen. I’ve lied. I’ve lusted. I’ve hurt a lot of people emotionally.
But there’s also a lot I’ve never done. I’ve never physically harmed someone. I’ve never cheated on anyone. I don’t even spank my children (we will get to that below). I try to make sure that the good I do outweighs the bad that sometimes comes from me.
But sometimes, it’s really hard to do good things when you live in a constant state of fear because of, often, the insecurities of others. And the feelings start as sadness and grow into anger.
So let’s get into this, shall we? Let’s talk about how words, and more specifically false accusations, can destroy a person.
I absolutely love being around children. And, for whatever reason, kids seem to love me. I can come down to their level and speak to them in a way that they can relate to. I can be silly and playful and act their age, not my own. Tea parties, dress up, sword fights, hide and seek, writing make believe stories, drawing pictures, painting your nails. These are some of the best things to do in life, period. It’s one of the reasons I was really good at my job when I did photography. Moms would call me the “Baby Whisperer” because of the way I could calm kids and make them happy. A child’s laugh and smile are truly just two of the greatest gifts to the world.
And I never had to think about the way I interacted with kids for the longest time until someone one day mentioned that I made them uncomfortable by the way I apparently looked at their children. And it absolutely destroyed my heart and ruined a part of my life. So now, anytime I am around people, because of one person, I am always fully aware of my behavior around everyone, not just children. I am always trying to make sure that I can never be in a position where someone can say something that is not true to who I am as a person.
Do you know how exhausting that is? I would love to be in a career where I could help children all day. In fact, if I could do things all over again I would 100% be a pediatric doctor. I often, still, think about going back to school for that, even at 32 and with 3 degrees already.
I’ve had people tell me how great I am with kids and how much they see that kids love being around me. And it’s always a great thing to hear. But it’s also very sad that I have to live in fear that someone, someday could manipulate a situation just to destroy my life. And it makes me extremely angry. Why? Because in this world we live in, the accusations don’t even have to be true to ruin someone’s life.
I just want to do good, but I can’t because of other people. My wife asked me how long it would be before I volunteered to help with the children’s ministry at church. Would I love to do that? Absolutely. But I live in fear of others words. I’m starting to let my guard down a lot more around family. It just makes my heart so full whenever the girls get so excited to see me, even if I just facetime them.
I also try to be very cautious about the way I discipline my children. I do not spank my children, but I also do not judge anyone who chooses to discipline in that way. To be fair, my kids probably deserve a good spanking every once in awhile for their behavior, just not from me. Again, because people wanted to throw words around without thinking of the consequences that would come from them, I will never discipline my children in that way. So instead, my next best option for discipline comes from empty threats of grounding and yelling. And, at times in the past, a lot of yelling.
My threats are empty because I don’t want to be perceived as a mean parent. Granted, yelling at my kids isn’t a whole lot better, but it’s just been the one thing that I haven’t been able to control when I get angry. When I say I yell at my kids, I don’t mean that I scream at them. More times than not, it’s just enough to get their attention, or be heard over their own yelling. You know, the “dad voice”.
But I have been angry that, again, I was falsely accused of doing something I have never done and would never do.
So let’s continue this trend of false accusations and the anger that comes along with them…
My trust for others, and my lack of friendship, stems from a fairly devastating accusation that ended an extremely close friendship.
I’ve been very honest with the fact that when I love, I love deeply. And I will give so much of myself, even with a friendship, for people I truly care about. I am that person that will show up at 3:00 in the morning. Or the one that will leave work in the middle of the day to come and give you a shoulder to cry on. I will be the person that will drive around town for hours in search of a hard to find item. I am the person that will give the shirt off my back, even though I am so uncomfortable with my own body.
I will ask for forgiveness for my lack of humbleness later, but when given the opportunity I can be a pretty incredible friend.
And I have a way of making people feel good. Like, really good. As in, if you’re having a really crappy day, I can more than likely tell you the things you need to hear to be in a much better place. I am an extremely kind person, especially out in public. Sometimes to the point where it annoys my wife (I will wait, for long periods of time, instead of interrupting someone out in public). I always tip on everything, because I always assume that if service wasn’t great then this person clearly must be fighting a battle I know nothing about.
But sometimes my kindness can be taken the wrong way. Sometimes people believe I have ulterior motives.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Fact, I do know how to flirt. But I can assure you, more times than not if you think I am flirting, I’m probably just being nice. Or just being playful. Even my wife sometimes thinks I flirt out in public.
But honestly, I genuinely just try to be a good person and make other people feel good. Do you know how sad it makes me that because of the world we are in I can’t tell people when they look nice? Or that I like their clothes? Or can’t mention it when they get a new perfume or cologne that smells good? Do you know how angry it makes me that I can’t compliment others? Do you know how frustrating it is that I can’t use the word “beautiful” to others other than my wife and kids? It’s stupid, because it is a word that should instantly bring a smile to someone’s face, but because people think there has to be some other connotation to the word I can’t tell them.
Anyways, apparently my kindness and willingness to be there for close friends was taken by others as more than just being a really good friend. People so wrongly assume that the opposite sex just can’t be friends with one another without there being something more.
And that particular situation just absolutely destroyed me. Sadness, depression and ultimately anger. Because all I ever wanted was to just have a really good friend. Someone that I could be there for and they could be there for me. But people had to ruin it by not seeing things for what they truly were.
And then more accusations of me being in situations that I’ve never even been in. Those ones ares the hardest to swallow because you hear one story and then it just keeps changing to outlandish claims that you eventually just get overwhelmed by. But the anger comes when people you thought you could trust start to believe them. And then completely pull out of your life as if something actually happened. And, again, the accusations are worse when they come from people that you thought you could trust.
That’s enough of the false accusations I’ve had to deal with. Let’s discuss other things that are still consuming me with anger…
How about thinking someone who was supposed to be a mentor to you for 6 years ends up not being who you thought they were and were actually using you all that time? Yeah, that would be from a previous work superior. Thankfully I had an amazing person come into my life and in less than 6 months fixed a lot of the damage that I didn’t even realize at first was caused. She eventually moved on, but I am blessed to still keep in touch with her to this day (and who may be reading this now).
Or how about your accomplishments being belittled to the point where your own siblings and uncle tell you that what you’ve done doesn’t even matter? This lead me to a point where I actually had a breaking point where I almost physically hurt one of my brothers. And if it weren’t for my dad being where he was in that instant and intervening, things could have gotten really bad. Not that other people’s opinions should matter, but when you have sacrificed so much to be where you are and other people treat it like it’s nothing, it really hurts.
Or losing all relationship with your siblings. That one hurts a lot and eventually lead to anger because I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be a part of their group. I remember early in my twenties the relationship I had with all of my siblings was great. We would hang out together all the time. They would spend the night and we would stay up until early into the morning playing games together. Or we would go to the movies. Or just play catch at my parent’s house. But now do you know when I hear from any of them? Aside from one who lives on the other side of the country, only when they need something. And I’ve been told it’s because they think I believe I am better than them, but all I truly want is to help them be better people. I have offered so many times to help them, and do you know how many times they’ve taken me up on it? Once. One time, ever, and they didn’t even actually do anything with it. I can be hard on them, but it’s only because I see the potential that they don’t see within themselves.
Another thing that really angers me? Is being punished for doing well in life. That we are held to a different standard than everyone else in the family because we are responsible. The fact that things will be taken from us to give to someone else who truly is not deserving. And I’m angry about the fact that my wife has to have such terrible memories about our wedding because she is the “other daughter”. I’m angry that she had to be continually slapped in the face last year at her own sister’s wedding and constantly reminded for months that her wedding wasn’t as important. I’m angry at all the work that I had to pay for last year from family that did the same thing for free to everyone else. It bothers me that something that was given to everyone else isn’t being offered to us just because I have a good job. It hurts to be treated worse for doing better. I’m angry at the fact that almost all of our family lives less than 10 minutes from our house but very rarely ever makes an effort to see us, but will drive over 2.5 hours multiple times a month to see other people. I’m angry at the fact that my wife was basically broken from being in a toxic work environment for so many years that she chose to walk away from flexibility with her children to be in a place where she was respected.
I get angry at the way that my oldest daughter constantly lies to us, even about the dumbest things. I have anger about the way my youngest children treat each other, knowing that if they just chose to love one another unconditionally that they would be so much happier.
I am angry for the fact that I almost lost my wife last year because I was stupid and thought I wanted things I definitely did not want. And that I hurt her by saying some pretty damaging things. And the fact that she lost a lot of trust in me because of it, sometimes still having unseen consequences.
I get angry at the fact that I let myself get so unhealthy that I was unable to even do anything active with my own children. And I still struggle with my body to this day. Do you know how frustrating it is to be so uncomfortable with yourself that you will avoid swimming, even around family, because I still see myself as 60 pounds heavier than I am.
And I get angry at the fact that I willingly chose to turn my back to God and think that I was in control of my own life.
As you can tell, I’ve got a lot of anger I still need to free myself from. I’m hoping that giving myself to Jesus entirely will remove this from my heart.
I realize I still struggle greatly with feelings of sadness and anger. I pray that You will guide me in seeking the forgiveness that I truly need to free myself from this pain.
Please help me in forgiving those who have stolen parts of me that I struggle with finding again.
All I want to do is bring joy to this world. I want to bring happiness to others. I want those around me to be filled with smiles and laughter.
I want to be the best husband, the best father, the best son, the best brother, the best friend, the best caretaker, etc. that I can be.
I know You have already forgiven me for all the wrong I have done. I hope You can help me with the pain and anger that I am trying work through.
I ask that You please continue to be patient with me.
Please forgive me for turning my back on You so many times, allowing myself to be consumed with all of this pain.
I love you all, with all my heart.
You are beautiful.