– Coming Home –

I remember it pretty well.  Several months ago we were out on an evening walk.  The sun was setting but it was still hot out. The humidity made our clothing cling to our skin and I could feel little beads of sweat slide down my cheeks. The summer was drawing to an end and so was our time together.  I remember being so angry at you.  I was so angry that it made me sad and I couldn’t formulate my feelings into words.  I was angry at you because of your words and actions the night of our anniversary.  I was angry at you for making me upset the weekend that we got engaged.  And I was angry at you now for ruining our last days together.  I began to doubt everything.

We turned around a curve on the track and Aspen trotted a few feet ahead of us, pulling hard on the leash for us to go her speed. There was a heavy silence.  I could sense that you were wanting me to respond to some of your questions, but I just didn’t feel like it. I was tired of fighting. I was tired of trying to reassure you. I was tired of you hurting me.  And so instead of responding to you, I just wished you away.  At that moment, I couldn’t wait for you to leave for Ranger school… the sooner the better.  And if I’m honest, I didn’t care how long you would be gone.  I just wanted to be alone.

Those first few weeks you were gone, I questioned everything about us.  Is this what I really wanted?  Are we going to have fights like this forever? Will we ever be able to move on?  The worse part was that I was left alone to my thoughts and to try and answer these questions alone.

For three weeks, my mind drove me crazy.  But the moment I heard your voice on the other end of the line, my thoughts were at ease.  Everything was clear. I wanted you, no matter how hard it would be.  I wanted us to work.

You’ve been gone for six months now and I’ve had more than enough time to left alone to my thoughts. I’ve done a lot of thinking and a lot of learning. I feel much differently than I did six months ago. I feel okay about everything. Our relationship hasn’t been easy, but that doesn’t mean that it is going to be difficult forever. Our story is much different from others but maybe that is the beauty of it.

You’re finally coming home this weekend. I honestly can’t believe it.  You’re coming home and staying. I’m sorry that I wished you away several months back.  I just wasn’t sure that I could deal with all of this anymore.  But maybe this is what we both needed, time to ourselves to grow and learn.  I feel good about everything.  I think after everything, we truly will be okay.



– The Problem with Personalities –

The problem with people, are all the personalities.

For a long  time now, I’ve been praying for a friend. One of those friends that you could call in the middle of the night and you know they’d answer.  One of those friends that know everything about you.  I’ve been praying hard.

Every night after thanking God for all my loved ones, and for blessing my life in ways that I still don’t understand, I’d ask him to bring me a friend. Someone I could laugh with, confide in and draw closer to God with.  Someone a lot like myself, yet different in all the good ways.  Someone to keep me company while my loved one is away.

At times, I’ve almost lost hope, but was encouraged to keep praying and to hold out for the right person.  And so, I did.  I’ve been asking God for the same thing for over a year now.  Do some prayers go unanswered?

There was a time when I thought he had finally heard me.  I thought that he was finally giving me what I was so patiently waiting for. It all made sense.

But the problem with people… with friendships… with love… with life…are personalities.  And quite frankly, our personalities didn’t align.  Because you see, I’m very sensitive.  My feelings get hurt all to easily.  And I really love to help out others, purely because I enjoy doing things to make others’ lives easier.  But I do not like being taken advantage of.  And even though I easily forgive, once you really hurt me, I’m done.  But I guess that is one of the problems with my personality.

I haven’t been praying for a friend anymore.  I’m taking this as a sign from God that I need to just focus on myself right now and appreciate the amazing friends that I already have. And maybe God has already answered my prayers.  He gave me Nathan.  After everything we’ve been through, all the hurt, mean words, breakups, lies, harsh truths, he’s still here.  He is the greatest gift.  And most days, I’m convinced that it took more than just praying to get us where we are.  He truly is my best friend.  And his personality is perfect.

– The Woman in the Mirror –

I stood in front of a mirror that surrounded me on all sides.  I stared into the beautiful eyes of woman that I didn’t recognize, and she stood there staring right back.  She was stunning; it took my breath away.  She was dressed in an ivory gown that cascaded to the floor with jewels that reflected in the light.  She swayed from side to side, watching as the dress followed her every move.  There was a group of women behind her calling out approving, but she couldn’t hear them… She as somewhere else.  Physically, she stood before them.  Mentally, she flew back in time…  Two years to be exact.

It was a warm summer evening, the sun was setting and you could hear the crickets coming out to begin their nighttime songs.  The two of them decided to go on an evening hike, something they did a couple times a week.  It was beginning to get dark and the trees that they wove between were blocking most of the light from the setting sun.  They kept their eyes lowered to the ground, both avoiding one another’s eyes and to prevent from tripping on any tree roots that exposed themselves from beneath the dusty path.  

There was a serious conversation being discussed between the two of them, but I can’t remember how they got on that topic…  The boy tried explaining to the girl, apologetically, that he just couldn’t marry someone like her, and that whatever was happening between them now, was just temporary.  In the boys eyes, he was doing the right thing.  He was being honest and putting up walls in order to prevent any pain down the road.  He believed that he had both of their best interests in mind. 

But her heart just broke. Because all she heard was “You are not good enough for me.” Once again, she was told that she couldn’t be loved the way she longed to be.  She felt broken.  She felt little. She felt like God had forgotten all about her.  She questioned what was so bad about her and why she wasn’t worthy of love?

They continued winding their way through the trails.  The girl kept her eyes locked down on the path to avoid him seeing the tears falling down onto her cheeks and the heartbreak that was in here eyes.  She could feel him look over at her as if waiting for a response, but she could find nothing to say.  Her mind gave her a thousand reasons as to why she wasn’t good enough for him… They weren’t raised the same way…  They had different beliefs and convictions…  She had not saved herself for marriage…  She was too new in her walk of faith…  She wasn’t thin enough…  She wasn’t smart enough…  She wasn’t a good person… Ideas of reason after reason filled her head. 

And then, the worst thought of all… She pictured him on his wedding day, standing at the end of the aisle, smiling with tears in his eyes as he watched the love of his life walk towards him in a clean, white dress.  She thought of him holding his wife-to-be’s hands, eager to kiss her after reciting their vows.  She thought of God looking down at the two of them becoming one person, lovingly. 

Where would I be?” She questioned. 

A tickle on the back of her arms snapped her back into reality.  A veil was being placed on the top of her head and draped around her shoulders.  I stood there once again looking into the eyes of this beautiful woman that I didn’t recognize.

“So, is this the dress?”

I broke away from the woman in the mirror and looked to the reflections of my mother and family.  They were standing there smiling and eagerly waiting  to know if this was the dress.  Was this the dress I would wear on my wedding day to the man who said he couldn’t marry someone like me?  Was this the dress I would wear to prove that silly boy wrong?

I looked back into the eyes of the beautiful, intelligent, strong and worthy woman that stood before me in the mirror… No longer a young girl.  I had come full circle.  I smiled at the woman, and she smiled back.  I nodded my head eagerly.

“Yes, this is the dress.”

– You Don’t Deserve to be Written About –

I promised myself that I would never write about you again, because you don’t deserve to be written about.  But here I am, scribbling down the shitty things you did to me and the haunting memories that you left me with.  You are the one thing I hate most about myself.  But believe me, I don’t pay any thought to you anymore.  And what you did and who I was when we were together, has nothing to do with who I am now… So don’t get that confused.  Don’t mistake these words for reminiscing thoughts, so don’t flatter yourself.  I haven’t spoken of you since I saw you last.  And when someone happens to mention your name, I act like I don’t remember you.  I don’t wish poor things on your or your life, but I don’t wish good things either. Your well-being means nothing to me.  The past means nothing to me.  Let’s just get all of that out of the way.

I sat in the second row of tables that were lined up in the large auditorium which was gradually being filled with graduating seniors.  I took out my phone so that I wold have something to fumble around with.  I didn’t know anyone that was sitting around me and I wasn’t about to start up some awkward surface-level conversation with one of them.  Not that anyone would try to talk to me anyways… So I just sat there continually refreshing my Instagram account, loading posts that I had already seen a few times that day.  I finally gave up, laid my phone down on the table, and waited for the meeting to begin.

It’s funny, you can be in a room filled with other people, surrounded with conversations and laughter, and feel utterly alone.  How pathetic was I? I started this journey at college with no friends and I was ending it with no friends, but that’s a different story for another day.  I contemplated jumping into a conversation with a couple of girls behind me.  I was pretty sure that I had a class with them the last semester. But, I decided against it.  What was the point? It was just a little too late to make friends at this point.  So I just sat there, facing forward, hands folded on the table, waiting… Like a loser.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my phone light up, signaling a new text message.  I picked up my phone, unlocking it to read the full text.  It was a number that I did not have saved in my contacts.  But after reading the text, I knew exactly who it was that was trying to reach me.  I didn’t need a name to pair with this mysterious number.  My heart began racing.  I felt beads of sweat form on my forehead.  My body temperature rose.  And I wanted to freaking scream.  How did he find me again?

This is the point in the story where I skip back in time to tell you a story about this person that had my blood boiling.  But the thing is, I don’t want to. I have worked so incredibly hard to remove this person from my mind.  And it has taken me so long to repair the damage that he caused to my life.  I really don’t like to back in time, placing my current self in my past self’s shoes, and attempt to work through the emotions.

I may be blowing this all out of proportion.  In fact, I know I am. This guy didn’t mess my whole life up.  He didn’t cause me to fail out of college or to lose all of my friends. He didn’t cause me to do drugs or really anything terrible what-so-ever. When I was with him, I lost my self-worth.  I lost track of what was truly important in my life.  Everything that I loved and that was important to me quickly faded out of sight.  I no longer had any purpose.  He consumed me.

I sat there holding my phone in my hand, looking down at this text from a monster of my past.  Do I respond or do I just delete his text and ignore it?

The responsible part of me begged the dark part of me to just ignore him and block his number, again.  But the dark part of me wanted him to hurt.  I wanted him to bleed and suffer.  I wanted him to feel pain and rejection like it had never been experienced before.  I wanted to watch him lay there, begging for help… and just walk away.

It had been more than three years since I last spoke to him, and he had decided to reach out to me one more time, in order to make completely sure that there wasn’t any chance of hope for us… Let me repeat, more than three years… The responsible part of me was being smothered by the dark side of me. I honestly don’t remember exactly what I said back to him, but it had something to do with kicking rocks I’m sure.  Oh, and explaining to him that if he ever contacted me again, I would have him arrested for harassment.  I told him I never cared for him and that it didn’t matter to me what he did with his future… I was just glad that I wasn’t part of it.

After that, I blocked his number… and I haven’t heard from him since.  Should I have been nicer and chosen kinder words to speak to him?… Probably. But I know my self-worth now and I love who I have become over the last couple of years, and he isn’t going to steal that from me again.

– The End of Forever –

The two of us laid squished together in a tiny twin bed, but we couldn’t have felt any further apart.  He was faced away from me and I could feel him trying to pull away, not wanting any part of his body to touch mine.  His silence was unnerving and causing me to feel more hysterical by the minute.

The room was dark but I could see the street lights peeking through the small slit in the curtains.  The air-conditioning, which was on full blast, was humming in the background.  Every once in a while, I could hear a distant laugh in the hall, followed by the slamming of a door a few moments later, signaling the return of students from their weekend parties.  I halfway wished that I was one of them.  A long night of drinking and dancing, no troubles or anything complicated to worry about.  But I couldn’t be one of them… Because I was laying here in deafening silence begging for anything in response from the man that I thought I loved.

I began crying, softly at first so that he wouldn’t know.  But the more I thought about the past two and a half years, the more the tears flowed.  I couldn’t hold them back. My quick breaths began to softly shake the bed and my sniffles awkwardly broke the silence. I felt him shift his weight towards me.

“Why are you crying?” He asked.  It was the first thing he had said in over an hour. Why was I crying? How could he even ask such a stupid question! He should have known exactly why I was crying! My entire future, everything that I had been planning for and working towards the past two years was coming to a screeching stop.  Absolutely everything about my life as I knew it was about to change.

“Because… this isn’t going to end the way that I always thought it would,” I finally replied.  The tears came down even harder.  I expected him to respond.  I laid there waiting.  The moments passed, the silence heavy, and then I felt him turn away and fall asleep. Just like that.

How could you  just turn away from someone that you said you loved when they needed you so much! I felt so broken and beaten… and he just turned away.  We had begun planning a future together.  In our minds, we were each others forever.

I felt betrayed.  Looking back, I should have gotten up right then and left.  I should have thrown all of his things in a dumpster, blocked his number and never looked back.  I deserved an answer. Why was all of this happening? Where was all of this stemming from?  One day we were okay and then next, broken.  I still kick myself that I didn’t stand up for myself that night.  I just laid there next to him, crying myself into a fitful sleep on a damp pillow.

That was the last thing that I remember about us being together.  I don’t remember if we saw one another again after that night.

After that night, we decided to go on a “break,” which was a cowardly way of stating that you wanted to break up. We were going to take the first whole week of summer to just focus on ourselves.  He would be going back home three hours north, and I would be staying here… just waiting. Waiting for him to come back and decide that he still loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life together.

At some point before classes let out and all of the students went home for the summer, it occurred to me… this was it. That was the end of us. He wasn’t coming back to me.  He wasn’t going to change his mind, run back and profess his undying love for me. Inside, I broke a bit.  There wasn’t anything that I could do to make him love me.  Nothing that I could do or say was going to bring him back.  And so, it was time for me to just move on .

I couldn’t just sit at home the next week waiting around for a response that may never come. I would drive myself crazy sitting there wondering what he was doing and if he was ever going to text me. I needed to get away.  I needed to do something just for me.  I deserved it.  For so long, I had lived for everyone else.  I put all of my focus on him.  I had myself convinced that he was my future, and without him,  there was no happiness.  I needed an adventure.  I needed something all to myself.  I needed to show myself that this was not the end, it was just a new beginning.  It was time to focus on myself, to be selfish and do whatever it was that I wanted.

The thought of a blank slate and a future to do whatever I wanted with was almost exciting enough to forget about all of the current heartache.  I had let him dictate that past two years of my life.  He wasn’t going to control a minute more of my future.


– The Appointment –

I wasn’t sure how I got here. How could I have let it all get this bad?  I sat slumped back on a couch with cushions too soft and worn in.  Outside I could hear the thunder rolling in the distance and the trickle of a few raindrops on the window signaling the arriving of a storm.  In my mind, the storm was already here.  It had been unknowingly raging on and destroying everything in its path for years.

I sat in a small 12 x 12 room carefully decorated with decor in calming colors and prints with inspirational quotes about life and self-worth strewn across them on the walls. Across from me say my new psychologist, not psychiatrist… there’s a difference. She was a woman in her late 50’s, but she didn’t look anywhere close to the age.  She was a small woman, probably not any taller than me.  She had a thin frame and soft, gentle features.  Her eyes were a pale blue and her baby blonde hair was styled in a pixie cut which she continually tried to tuck behind her ears.  Every time I saw her, she looked put together and at ease.  I always thought, “this woman has it all figured out.  She had the answers that I need.”

The reason that I had chose her was because of her biography that she had written about herself online.  It was long and very detailed.  It had impressed me that she had taken the time to explain what had happened in her life that led her to counsel others, admit faults in her life, and her desire to motivate others to lead better lives through Christ.  I was sold.  I picked up my phone and called her to schedule an appointment.  On the other line answered a gentle voice.  She introduced herself and then asked my name and reason for wanting to schedule an appointment with her… a question I just wasn’t sure how to answer yet.

I sat across from her, looking down at my hands picking off whatever nail polish that would flake off, refusing to make eye contact.  I don’t remember much about my first visit with her.  I think I was just so consumed with questions about why I was even there.  I remember feeling completely vulnerable, like I had no right to privacy anymore.  I had given up the privilege of keeping things to myself when I had made the choice to lie, time and time again.

I sensed that she could feel my nervousness, because she was avoiding questions of depth.  Instead, she asked about my family, my friends, work and hobbies.  I answered her questions as briefly and shallow as I could.  I was so hesitant to let her get a glimpse of who I really was.  I didn’t need another person seeing how truly fucked up I was.  It was the last secret that I wanted to hold onto.

As our $90 and fifty minute session as coming to an end, she asked me a question that I had never been asked before.

“What do you like about yourself?”

I quit picking at my nails and instead looked over at a corner of the room, hoping to find the answer over there.  What did I like about myself?… I could feel my eyes glaze over as the question repeated itself over and over again in my mind.  I lifted my head to look at her, somehow thinking that she was going to feed me the answer that I was needing.

“That’s what I suspected,” she said very softly as she turned her chair towards she desk.  She picked up a clipboard with some papers attached to it and handed them to me along with a pen.

She instructed me that this was a depression scale worksheet and that I needed to read through the questions and answer them as honestly as possible.  I quickly did she she said and handed the clipboard and papers back to her.  She went through my answers and tallied up the points.  Once she finished, she lifted her head up to look at me.  She laid her head to the side and a half smile came across her face, a look that I learned was her trying to show me her sympathy.

“Did you know that you have severe depression?”

I just looked at her in disbelief.  I couldn’t believe what she was saying.  I felt both a wave of relief and panic wash over me.  I shook my head at her.

“And from the looks of it, you’ve been dealing with it for along time now,” she said with the half smile still on her face.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted her to reach out to me so I could cry on her shoulder and not feel so alone.

The moment she said those words, it all made sense.  All of these years I have dealt with the feelings and thoughts and accepted them as a legitimate way of feeling.  I assumed that everyone felt this way, because everyone had bad days, and this was just another bad day.  But my bad days faded into bad weeks, which slipped into bad months.  And when I reflected on the past year, my heart ached and I felt numb.  It had been a shitty year.  And I just wasn’t sure that I had the strength to make it through another year like the last.  I knew that something had to change, dramatically, I just wasn’t sure what or how.

She told me that because of my mental state, she would like to see me every week  for a while  I knew that she was trying to phrase it in a way to show that she wanted to make quick progress with me.  But to me, it felt more like a check-up to make sure that I hadn’t decided to off-myself with too much alone time in my mind.

I nodded my head at her and scheduled an appointment with her the following week.  I wrote her out a $90 check and was on my merry little way.

I sat out in my car after the appointment feening for a cigarette.  It was pouring now; I could barely see through my windshield.  To me, it had always been remarkable how the weather outside seemed to align perfectly with how I felt inside.  Or maybe it was my mood that aligned with the weather… Did it even matter?

I sat there staring at the water pouring over the windshield like a steady current and felt a large lump rise up in my throat.  I couldn’t hold it back, so I just let go.  I cried and cussed at myself, hit the steering wheel and cried some more.  I knew that no one could see me, but even if they could, I’m not sure that I would have even cared at that point.   I was such a fuck-up.  Everything and everyone good in my life, I ruined by my careful lack of caring.  I did not deserve anything good in my life.  I did not deserve to live.  I cried harder.  The deepest and darkest of thoughts had once again found me and crept into my mind.  All at once, ideas on how to stop this endless pain raced to my mind… Drive into oncoming traffic… Drive off a bridge… Take a bottle of sleeping pills… Guns laying around the house… There was a never ending stream of ideas to on how to make it all disappear.

And at that moment, my mother popped into my mind. My beautiful, loving, selfless mother.  Selfishly taking my own life would only be destroying hers.  And so I couldn’t do it.  She would want me to fight, because as she had always told me growing up that she didn’t raise any quitters.  So I was going to have to fight this, until I felt like I didn’t have anything left, and then, fight some more.

I pulled down my visor and looked at myself in the compact mirror.  I wiped the tears and redness away from my eyes before folding it back up.  I placed my car in reverse, backed up and then drove out of the lot and back home nervously unprepared for the long journey I had ahead.