Mirrors, Google Maps, and other agents of Satan

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Well hello there fellow air breathers. Yes, I am aware it’s been a while since I’ve shown this blog any love, but really who’s paying any attention. Essentially this blog is a place where I can process my internal dialogue, this is all well and good when said dialogue is focused on chocolate, Benedict Cumberbatch’s chin or whimsical artwork of narwhals. Don’t tell me narwhals aren’t freaking awesome, because they are. So is Benedict. I love you Benedict.

But what of my dialogue of late? It hasn’t been happy, whimsical or even diverted by a certain intellectually stimulating chin. It’s been dark, and sad, and angry, and quite frankly more than a little bit lost. This has been frightening, not because it’s not ok to be sad, but rather because I couldn’t climb out again, at some points I didn’t even want to.

There’s a certain duality that exists inside of me. There’s the part that hungers for rationality, for stability and rightness, for all things to simply be a balance of light and shade. Then there’s this other side that’s forced itself into a dominant position. This part of me that is destructive, impatient, selfish and with little compassion.

There’s a constant battle with a nameless anxiety that sits in the centre of my chest and steals my breath. I know what is inside. It is dark and it’s not worthy of love, praise or even acceptance. All of this exists together at the same time inside of me. a swirling vortex of desolation and hope both warring for real estate in my mind.

It’s exhausting.

I’m exhausted.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can still laugh. In fact this war inside me has made for some pretty hilarious circumstances. For example, just the other day I was getting ready for a road trip. I knew that I was in for a few hours in the car on my own so I thought I would use the time to try and reconnect with God. Well done me. So, I selected the Hillsong United playlist on Pandora and set off. I was super pleased when the first song that popped up was Oceans. Great song. Then, the Google Maps lady starts giving me directions on how to get out of my own driveway. My switch flipped, and I started swearing at the map lady. Now, just take a moment to consider the irony. I am full-rage swearing at a disembodied navigator because I want to sing to Jesus. It’s official, I am insane.

But am I? Am I really? Or am I simply exhibiting the symptoms of a deeper problem. There is darkness inside of me I know that it’s there and I know I can’t fix it. However, rather than fixing my eyes upon the ONLY one who can (Jesus – for those playing along at home).  I have been surrounded with mirrors, mirrors that reflect all the beauty and promise around me, yet the moment I try to go through them into what they portray, all I see is myself. My flaws, my failures, just me. And then I think that the real reason I can’t possibly do, or achieve, or have anything that is good is because of me. That by simply existing I disqualify myself from life.

But thats not right is it. Because Im not seeing truth, I’m seeing a reflection of the truth. A simulacra. A cheap souvenir shop reproduction of a priceless gift. A gift that I have already received. It is already mine through Jesus and the life he gave me.

And so onward I say, beyond the mirrors. Into the greatness of today, and the promise of tomorrow. Because that is what I choose. To see above. To see with a clarity that can only come from the One who made me. My friends, hope and peace are very grand companions, I encourage you to never take them for granted.

imagessigh…

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Day 30: A Letter to Myself

Well Hi There Good Looking!

Wow, the temptation to hide this whole letter behind a thick curtain of irony is frighteningly strong right now. However, I’m going to try really hard not to do that, because to be perfectly honest, I’m so sick of hiding. I’m tired of finding the corner in a crowded room, I’m tired of trying to make myself small and un-noticeable (yes that is ironic, since there is nothing small about me!) and I’m just plain tired of hiding who I am behind who I think I should be.

A good friend of mine recently picked me up on the whole hiding thing. She said that my willingness to share my deepest and most personal life stories with every man and his neighbour is just another way of hiding. I shield myself with these stories like a careful camouflage, using them as a distraction. Much like the tail of a peacock. It dazzles the eye, distracting you from noticing that the bird is actually a dude, and that he’s dressed like the love-child of Elton John and Dame Edna (ironic). If you do happen to notice these things? Well, hopefully you’re still too captivated by the intricacies of that tail to care. Apparently I do that with my dazzling stories of depression, and being overweight. Who knew!?

So, what does all of this mean? Will I start wearing magenta spandex wherever I go now? Will I now announce my arrival into a room with a hearty rendition of ‘Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me’? No, I don’t think that’s the point of all this revelation. It’s not about me being noticed or unnoticed, it’s about coming to a place where I finally see the person I am and just accept her.

These letters have been a revelation. They have been a chrysalis, a journey and a birthing. They have revealed so much of what is within me, and they have opened my eyes anew to the extraordinary and miraculous people around me. I have been hugged, thanked, encouraged and embraced by people in a way I could never have imagined. I have reflected, and explored and articulated my life and self and I have been changed because of it. These things just don’t happen in a corner, they don’t happen when you are burying yourself in the sand, they don’t happen when you are trying so hard to be what you think is acceptable to everyone else. They’ve happened here, in this piece of cyberspace where I am front and centre. Where I have poured out my self and discovered a person I kinda like! she is caring, and insightful. She is witty and naughty. She is flawed and in some places a bit broken. But she is emerging, and she is brave, and I have a sneaking suspicion that she is also going to be a bit fierce!

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know it is big, I know it is good and I know I will play the main character! There are no limits, there are only possibilities and opportunities waiting for me to seize them. My life is immense and it’s about time I started to explore it!

And this will be my theme song!!

Now, chin up, shoulders back, and move away from the corner…

Love you xo

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Day 10: A Letter to Someone who Pesters My Mind.

Dear Depression,

You like the dark, you like secrets and hiding places and whispering. You crawl through my skin and infect me like a virus.

You are clever, I’ll give you that much. You don’t just attack like George W. Bush went at Baghdad – all ‘shock and awe’ but no intelligence. No, you’re much more subtle than that, first you lead and coax and goad me away from the sunshine, you do it so gradually I don’t notice the dimness. Then at just the right moment you take pleasure in pointing out that I have wandered off the path again, “another failure” you sigh. You do it with just enough condescension to make me feel concerned, you’re careful though, concerned can quickly turn into action and that’s not what you want. Instead you show me how far I have gone, not so far that I can’t find my way back – but far enough that I should be tired, and so I am. Weary to my bones, my scalp feels too heavy upon my skull, my arms are filled with lead and my brain simply cannot follow a complete thought through. I’m just so tired. So you nurse me to the ground, “rest a while” you say, “it won’t hurt to take a small break, you’ve been doing so well”.  You stroke my brow and soothe my thoughts with hollow congratulations while the world slows down around me.

Then I awake in the dark, and all I hear is you. You know my pain and you torment me with it. You slice into me with my doubts and feed while I bleed, then you mock me as I struggle to fight, to cling to hope – you laugh. The worst part is the rage, it’s like wearing a coat of fire, it burns at the base of my skull and hooks into my gut. It’s violent, every hopeless thought, every agonised cry of self destruction  amplified, intensified and unleashed directly into the core of who I am. It is the void within. It is your home.

But.

That was then. I know you now.

You are a fraud, a thief and a liar. You are the cuckoo who forced me to do your bidding for far too long. I was never alone as you kept telling me I was. I was never without hope or love or a future – you just kept me from feeling it and seeing it. You’re strong but there is one who is stronger.

No, it isn’t me. I can’t take the credit for winning this battle, it would be so wrong of me to even pretend I had anything to do with it. God saved me, He saw me wretched and broken and dying. He loved me where you had nothing but hate and venom. I chose Him over you and now I am held by grace. My weakness to your voice is now covered by His strength. You must really hate that!

How did I choose Him? I asked Him in – simple as that. With that choice a door flung wide, shining light and hope into my darkness. Then I asked for help, the help of those who love me and the help of professionals. Every day I grew stronger until I was once again living and breathing – once again me.

I know there’s still times when you get me to wander into darkness again, but I’m anchored to Him – to love. That love shines in the darkness and you are so afraid of its power. You are such a coward.

Even if only one suffering  person reads this letter, I hope they’ll finally see you for what you are. I hope they recognise your presence the way I did, I hope they ask God to shine His light so they can find their way out. I hope they reach out to those who love them and ask them for help. I hope they seek medical advice and trust that God is holding them in His grace, as He promised He would to anyone who calls out to Him.

I hope you are afraid. The tables have turned. I am not ashamed of this weakness anymore, because I will use it to fight you on behalf of others.

Amelia.

**Thanks again Zaldy for the Photo!