Kitchen Sink Chronicles

a little mess, a little thought, and a whole lot of faith

War and Truth

“The tomb was empty so we don’t have to be.”

Today I am thankful for struggle, because it makes me free. If I didn’t struggle, I would not be a warrior. I would not be endurant. I would not be alive. Struggle means I’m working towards and fighting against. I have a beautiful journey and a promising future, and every bump, jump and valley along the way has helped me to be exactly who I am, exactly where I am, exactly as God planned.

Easter Sunday has never meant so much to me before. I’m proud to believe that Jesus rose from the dead on this day in history. Without understanding the context, though, the power behind this miracle is impossible to realize. Jesus conquered death. Death is the separation from that which sustains life; it’s being cut off from nourishment, from love, from health, from breath. Have you ever felt the chill of darkness? The cold walls of emptiness? Have you ever been dead, in a tomb?

I imagine that you have, in one way or another.

I have, too. I know the trapped feeling, the impenetrable stone cavern, the heaviest of burdens blocking the only exit. Cold floors. Torn linens. Nakedness.

What if I told you that the darkness is beautiful? But how? Pain, abandon, fear, darkness, chill, death — how is that beautiful? Because everything is made beautiful in its time. Even when the world seems hopeless, even when the door is locked, the light is blocked — because there is a rock whose strength penetrates even the tightest of thresholds, shatters bulletproof glass, shakes the mountains, crumbles the earth — all to illuminate broken, raw, vulnerable humanity, hardly clothed in more than shame and regret — lying with blood stained sheets and a thorned brow, barren and weak and so empty.

Empty.

Empty only until the fully human demonstrates full capacity of God and rises from the tomb, leaving light in its wake, defying the very definition of death and reassigning it ‘life.’ The day when death no longer kills, but rather gives new life. The day that Jesus rose again and saved us from ourselves.

That is beautiful.

Each year I am proud to celebrate that Jesus conquered death, once and for all. But why then, why WHY, why do I still struggle? Because I’m only human. There’s a whirlwind in my mind all the time, but it’s my human wellspring, my definition. Created by God to struggle as I do, so I only further realize my need for Him.

Lord, your light gives me strength, and in you I am new.

I think true happiness comes from the freedom in allowing yourself to not always be happy.

Experiences

The thing about really experiencing life is that you never really can tell what’s coming, and you just have to fly with it. There have been numerous instances in my life of this, and I don’t want to just sit down and list them all for you. But I do believe that everything happens for a reason, and it is important to embrace the good and the bad. I’m not saying to abuse this principle, don’t go seeking trouble because you think it’s predestination. My point is this –> hindsight is 20/20, and if you take some time to think about the good and bad experiences you have in the context of your whole life, you really can learn a lot. That is more valuable than perhaps having altogether avoided an uncomfortable, scary, dangerous or challenging situation.

I’m slowly coming out of one of those bad phases now. It’s been a long, difficult two years, but they have been some of the most valuable years of my life. I learned a lot, I grew a lot, I was humbled a lot. I also came to recognize that a lot of my regrettable habits and decisions stem from anxiety, which stem from fears, which I allow to “take the wheel and steer” (a la Incubus.) This is merely an observation, not a judgement towards myself — and by keeping it at such and not labeling or condemning my persona, I can start to see connections.

I have had a roller-coaster ride of a relationship with food for as long as I can remember. Hoarding it, sneaking it, counting it, restricting it, cooking it, studying it — but having a somewhat fear/fascination with famine throughout. Those horrible pictures of starving babies in Sudan? They make me want to cry. Or throw up. Or both. Child abuse? Eating Disorders? Familial relationships? Passion? The brown soil, the green grass? It really is all connected to one thing: hunger.

We are all hungry.

When I was young, I thought hunger was that grumblesome feeling in my tummy that made all things — even cauliflower — seem delicious. As I grew up, I began to hunger for other things, like knowledge, purpose, acceptance and love. My life was lacking in those areas and felt displaced and rejected. I don’t want to say that it was any one person’s fault, though. I don’t blame society or my peers, my parents or my teachers. It’s just something that happened. While I had a subconscious awareness of who I was (and was okay with her when I was alone), something about being around others made me nervous, fearful, defensive, unsure of myself. I was hungry for something more, and I didn’t know what. I didn’t even realize that I was hungry at all.

Feeling so disconnected eventually took a toll on my inner self-connection. I lost touch with how to take care of myself, and kind of forgot that I needed to. I pushed myself in some areas and refused to take breaks, and I denied myself in other areas, and refused to show myself grace. Anorexia. Depression. Anxiety. Pain.

Those experiences aren’t so different from what I imagine these children to have had:

Displaced by war. Lost families. Malnourishment. I don’t actually know, I’m just imagining.

Hunger.

In modern society, it might be frowned upon for me to compare my own past with the past of someone in a third-world country, without all the beautiful privileges I have in America, like education, access to food, hygiene, shelter, freedom, etc. I’m not talking about political factors here, though. I’m talking about those forces that pulse through our brains; perhaps we are aware of them, perhaps we aren’t.

Physical hunger can be one of those forces, too. I know what it’s like to be hungry. Not just grumlby tummy hungry, the kind where the hunger starts to hurt — and then stops hurting — and then everything else starts hurting. Dizzy, faint, weak. Scared. Numb.

When I look at those children’s picture, yes I pity them to a certain degree, I fear for them, I cry for them, I pray for them. But I also understand them. They aren’t lesser humans, in need of special treatment or special help, they are capable of great, powerful things. Powerful good or even powerful evil, as am I. They just don’t know how to reach that strength because they need nourishment first.

Food only goes so far, but it’s an important factor. Without it, the mind is faint, the soul gives up.

Spiritual food gives strength. Think adrenaline. Anybody can feed anybody spiritually. Yes, it’s possible.

Mental food — this is the part that can become a bit sketchy. “Western supremacy, huh?” It really is an underlying value in the American society. We drive nice cars, we eat bacon, we stress about college applications, we joke about the diseases that plague us, we feed our scraps to the dog instead of the garbage can in honor of world hunger.

That’s not doing anything though. I’m not saying that we have to actually get up and do something right this minute, either. But it’s important to understand that mere awareness isn’t doing anything. What is so much more powerful than reading a book about philanthropy, making a sandwich for a homeless man or tutoring an inner-city child is the capability and the strength to understand those people. I think everybody is capable of this, although it can’t really be put into words. I can’t tell you how to understand.

It’s just as simple as being in touch with humanity, our humanness, who we are as a whole. But it’s also just that complicated.

 

Jane

She isn’t entirely sure who she is, but she has an awareness nonetheless: an awareness, and an acceptance. She has a fear that people don’t know her, and similarly a fear that they actually do. She cowers behind her big, wide eyes, staring intently in a person’s direction, then avoiding his or her gaze. She hides in plain sight, the darkness that clouds her days — after day, after day, after day — is invisible to those around her. Her quietness is her defense. It’s something I understand completely, mine is my laughter.

A facade.

Do we all have a facade — this personal fable? I prefer to imagine myself of various identities, those in which I expect others to categorize me. But internally? I don’t look for a label, really. I don’t even think about it much. Somewhere there is a peaceful place inside of me, a place where I rest comfortably knowing that I have a right to simply exist.

Distant and disconnected though we are, we understand that the blood running through our veins is pure — purely our own. It belongs inside its circuitry, beats in our hearts, pounds in our heads. Only we can let it out.

Sometimes the rhythm awakens the waves in the red waterways — sometimes a picture, a memory, a fear that we let steer us.

I think I understand her.

On a side note:

fear. control. rebellion. passion. heartbreak. cleanliness. energy. purity. adventure. interest. excitement. accumulation. money. safety. health. honesty. clarity. discovery. awareness. experimentation. freedom. life.

  Lolz @ myself for having this blog

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blog

dog

hog

log

bog

sog(gy)

groggy

froggy

groggy

sleepy

tired

wired

inspired

Today is a day of all things happy. I was able to sleep past 4 am (omg, seriously) until like 8:00 and then my seester and the doggie came in and snuggled in bed with me. We then went downstairs to caffeinate and eat mangoes straight out of the bowl. We lolled around on the couch, then went to go grocery shopping.

Seester bought me some groceries, and I can’t even express how much of a relief that was. I don’t have an income, and while I do get funds from my scholarship, I spend a lot of my “grocery” allowance on car insurance, phone bill, gas, electric, etc. The money drains, and then there are things I need to pay for like school supplies and my psychiatrist — which was almost $200 because the deductible hasn’t been met. That, and I’m trying to save for Italy, because JUST IN CASE something terrible eats up my scholarship, I still want to be able to go. I have already invested nearly $2,000 in this trip, I’m going, dammit!

So aside from my money situation — it was so nice that my sister bought me groceries. I always panic about groceries because I can’t justify spending money on myself, much less to put FOOD in my body. It sounds perfectly natural for other people but I have an issue with it for myself. And it was so relaxing. We bonded the whole way there, we had wonderful sister time, and then feeling provided for, comforted, safe because I know my sister has my back even if I feel unworthy. And I don’t just mean she has my back financially, she is always behind me, even when we bicker and argue and such. It was so much more than groceries that my seester gave me — it was the insurance I needed about this whole “forever” ordeal. I know, logically, that she will always be there for me, but I kind of had a life change with her marriage — my sister isn’t just “mine” anymore, she belongs to Chad, too. She is the woman of a household, has wifely responsibilities. She’s a mom to a cat and a dog, and soon a puppy as well. She has a job, she is planning for babies one day. And still, God is providing for me through all the instability. All the changes that are taking place in my life are GOOD changes, but change is still scary. But I’m taken care of, I’m provided for, I will be okay, even if I mess up. I don’t deserve all the wonderful things in my life, but that doesn’t mean I should reject them. This life and everything in it is a beautiful, beautiful gift. I need to give myself permission to enjoy it. Things WILL go wrong in the future, but then they will go right again. It’s just part of life.

I’m so grateful for my sister. She buys me groceries when I feel unable to buy them myself. She gently encourages me to take care of myself without judgement when my behavior is concerning. She snuggles with me and invites me into her life, her home, her family. I have a bed. I have a confidant. She lends me her shoes and steals my dresses. She bakes banana bread that smells amazing and she drinks strange juice concoctions. She’s quirky and does this really cute slouchy, puppy-dog face thing when she says something snotty to Chad, who then kisses her forehead. I’m so grateful for my sister and everything she is.

Life is a struggle, but in the long-run, life is good.

#TBS

Throw back Sunday to when I was edgy and cool…

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And now I’m just a bum. What happened…

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Scrambling

It’s been one of those weeks. One where I feel so disconnected from myself, I don’t even know where the past five days went — I blinked once and it was Monday, I blinked again and now it’s Friday. That thought is a bit scary.

I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning — oh wait, that’s because I didn’t have anything. A whole box of band-aids, some blaring alarm clocks, taking double of my Prozac because my psychiatrist agrees that I need more help.

A-la Forrest Gump, one day I started running (metaphorically, of course) — what was it, five years ago? — and I never stopped. I had all kinds of excuses — running from my problems, running to change myself, running to be healthy — but I realized that none of those are true. I’ve been running from myself, because I don’t know who I am. Or rather, I’ve failed to acknowledge who I really am for so long, and I don’t want to stuff it down any longer but the thought of breaking free scares me. I feel stuck, suppressed, like a liar. What if I finally told the truth? I NEVER want to hurt myself again.

What if I said I don’t hate my mom, I’m not mad at her — in fact I miss her? I want her to love me? What if I said that it isn’t that I am so self-conscious because of what others think of me, it’s that I don’t like me, and I want ME to like me? I don’t want to go to medical school because I’m sick of the pressure to get good grades, the constant stress, the feeling like I’m going to throw up because I have so much to do and I don’t know how to get it done. That I feel alone, why do I feel alone? That I’m grateful for my scholarship, but I don’t think I deserve it because deep down my goal isn’t to be famous, acknowledged, or a world-renowned nobel-prize winning researcher? That I don’t actually like spinach. I deserve more respect than I give myself. I hate cow poo and don’t want it anywhere near me.

I don’t want to lie anymore, to hold back. I don’t want to lay on my floor and count the cracks in the ceiling, wishing I was dead. I don’t want to wander around Walmart, wondering what would happen if I pretended to be somebody other than myself. What if I told the truth to all the people who think highly of me that I’m actually damaged — a liar, a cheat, a cheap-skate, dirty, worthless, stupid.

Is it true that I’m not smart because I have to work hard to keep a scholarship that was given to me — harder than I’ve ever worked before and I don’t want to do it anymore? I don’t want the pressure. I love learning, I really do, but I am so scared of losing everything that I don’t enjoy it. What if they find this out?

What if people knew that I can’t really afford a kindle fire, a car, gas to drive to and from Illinois, that I’m scared I won’t receive funding to go to Italy this summer and I’ll be drained of money, ashamed, and nobody will be left to help me?

What if I get a B in every class this semester.

What if people find out how much I think about boys — “He is cute, he is sexy, I would date him, I wouldn’t date him, that guy is nerdy, I like nerdy.” I’m supposed to think about…well I don’ know, other things. Not supposed to be boy-crazy.

What if people knew that I have wanted to skip my classes this week? Chem? I want to skip — I’m behind. I went anyway. Micro? I skipped two review sessions and left the third early, went to class and was preoccupied. Biochem? I want to skip. I currently have ten minutes to print my notes and get to class.

I want to scream, beg for help, tell people I’m not okay but I don’t know how to snap out of it. It’s scary, I’m shaking, and I don’t want to be this. I’m supposed to get over it. I’m being dramatic. Everybody has stuff.

I wish I could start over — but I don’t even know what I’ve messed up.

Am I struggling, is this normal? Or am I just fucking crazy?

realization

holy shit — it is TOTALLY punishment.

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