My Own Prison

I had a revelation the other day.

A lot of my anxiety stems from my childhood and things that happened to me when I was a kid. I played sports from a very young age: basketball, softball, track and field, cheerleading. I was a clarinetist in marching and concert band, and I was involved with various school clubs (4H, JETS, etc.).

People might’ve thought I had a lot of friends, especially since I was an athlete, but I felt like the loneliest kid in the universe. I was an only-child, too, so I didn’t have siblings, and the kids in school were really cruel to me in elementary school and junior high. Some of them were abusive (mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically).

I’m not ready to talk about the trauma I experiened, but the point is, I never felt like I had a safe place to go. I carried all my fears around in my stomach, and I never found relief from that knotted-up feeling.

At home, I didn’t feel like I could talk about what was going on at school.

At school, I couldn’t let my guard down.

I was plagued by nightmares and night terrors throughout my childhood, so I found no relief in sleep.

I was so terrified of the dark I would wrap myself in all my sheets and blankets until I felt like I was suffocating, and I dreaded walking down the hallway at night.

In high school, I found more acceptance, but I was already traumatized. By the time I reached adulthood, my heart automatically expected more of the same – more rejection, more betrayal, more ostracizing.

More abuse.

Carrying around all that fear, worry, and anxiety became a natural part of my existence, and I’ve realized – I need to forgive the kids who bullied me. I need to forgive the teachers who allowed it to go on. I need to forgive a lot of people, and I probably need to ask for a lot of forgiveness, myself.

See, the brokenness in those people created brokenness in me. And the brokenness in me perpetuated that cycle of brokenness in others.

Brokenness breeds brokenness. But freedom births freedom.

Written in February 2014
from a hotel in the Dominican Republic

This wasn’t a touristy region of the DR, and the hotel had burglar bars and even metal gates that staff could shut and lock if a threat ever arose (gangs, armed criminals, etc).

I find it ironic that this place was like a small prison and how, at the time, I was processing through childhood trauma that had been imprisoning me most of my life.

I hadn’t thought it that way at the time. Looking back, I see the deeper symbolism…

Extraordinarily Ordinary

Extraordinarily
Arbitrarily
Ordinary ‘ole me
Not particularly young
Not particularly old
I’m stuck somewhere in between
Pretty (with effort)
Questionable (without)
The fact is I am pretty plain
Not reserved
Not bold
Not baleful
Not cold
But also not really that great
Extraordinarily
Arbitrarily
Ordinary ‘ole me
Aching to excel
At just one thing (anything)
And hoping for more than a dream

Pretty Plain

My Struggle

Laziness is a fruit of complacency.

The root of all bitterness is self-righteousness and, ultimately, pride.

These are difficult things for me to accept, because both of these things (laziness and bitterness) have a tendency to crop up in my everyday life. But I would rather be vulnerable and admit it (so I can move forward) than to stay stuck (because I’m in denial).

Red Line, Flatline

Red line, flatline
Rhythm and time
Everyone, everything
Sometimes is fine
What will she do
When she sees you again?
Nothing
It’s nothing
It’s all in my mind

Red line, flatline
Rhythmical prose
A delicate, flowering
Green-petaled rose
Where would it leave me?
Where would I be?
If all that I’m feeling
Inside were to show?

Red line, flatline
Three-quarter time
A sweet-sounding waltz
Is so dangerously blind
Finger my heart
Then shatter my moon
A thousand I-love-yous
But just one goodbye

-Written August 29, 2012
as detours and roadblocks appeared in my relationship

*Honorable Mention - 89th Annual Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition

Lust vs Love

Lust takes selfishly at the expense of the other person, but true love gives at the expense of self.

Self-centered love is philautia. Lustful love is eros.

True love (selfless, willful love that reveals itself thru actions rather than feelings) is agapē. Let agapē be your highest goal.

Polish_20200808_014708401.jpg

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…