Showing My Roots

 

artist unknown

artist unknown


In response to the beautiful poem, “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon, I submit my own history. Where are you from?

I am from young love.

I am from sacrifice, doggedness and the

dashed dreams of a teenage heart.

I am from secrets and mystery.

I am of silence too loud and hearts barely spoken.

From wild, rebel spirits and stubborn longing.

I am of running away and running towards.

Of moving apart and moving on. 

I am of freckles and knobby knees.

From azalea bushes, magnolias and Spanish moss.

From bayous and crawfish boils.

I am of long walks and bicycle rides.

I am from dirt roads and gravel drives.

From aluminum houses and brick retreats.

I am of swing sets and clotheslines.

I am from melodies bred in the deep.

I am of daydreams and hunger.

Of whispered prayers shouted from the soul.

I am from laughter and tears, from solitude and fears.

I am of hope and I am of despair.

Of tragedies and miracles.

I am of animal lovers and art makers.

Of healers, diviners and medicine women.

I am of believers and skeptics, of sinners and saints.

I am from the leavers and the taken,

From those who knew not what they did.

I am of wounded hearts made new.

I am from many unknowns and truths yet to be seen.

I am from all of this and so much more.

I am now of eyes peering into what will be.

Of heart and body soaking in the now.

I am of living prayers and dancing feet.

 

Walking the Path of Parenting (Anxiety Edition)

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My first born began his middle school life this morning and I am a mess. My chest is tight, I can’t seem to sit still and forming a coherent thought seems to be out of the question. Some of my freak out stems from small things like, “Will he get on the right bus this afternoon?” or “Will he lose his lunch bag on the first day?”

Then there is the big one: This is middle school.
This is the time of puberty, awkwardness and finding a place to belong. Flashes of my own experience overtake me as I worry for him. Of course, I am prone to be anxious–enough to warrant a prescription for Xanax (swallowing one is not out of the question today). J has inherited this anxiety from me, but He seemed less nervous than his mother this morning as I sent him off into the world.

I’ve actually been having sporadic panic attacks about this upcoming school year all summer. Even spent some time looking up online schools. This is what I try to do. What just about every parent wants to do. Protect my kids at all costs. Protect them from physical harm, yes, but also from the pain of rejection, loneliness and a broken heart.

But here is what I am having to remind myself today: I am not meant to hide him from the world. I can’t. The world is a scary and dangerous place, especially the small world of middle school. It’s brutal out there.
But it’s also beautiful. Glennon Doyle Melton (Momastery) calls it brutiful. A bit of both harsh and lovely, pain and joy. It’s risky.

“But sometimes risk doesn’t leave us empty handed. Sometimes as a result of setting out into the brutiful world we find great love, beauty, friendship, and wisdom. Sometimes the rewards of risk don’t leave us wrecked. Sometimes we find our passion, our purpose, courage, connection, and comfort. Every good thing in our lives is a direct result of risk.

The rewards of engaging an unpredictable world are also great.

If no pain, then no love. If no darkness, no light. If no risk – then no reward. It’s all or nothing. In this damn world, it’s all or nothing.”

– See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/2013/04/18/how-to-keep-our-babies-safe/#sthash.ZDYf7Y9I.dpuf

I hope that I am raising a son who risks. Who takes chances even in the face of fear. I hope that he finds the strength to move forward and discover the incredible person that he already is.

On The Crook of Suicide

32200_1483682895135_1745734_nIn the wake of the apparent suicide of Robin Williams, I have been appalled by the vitriolic commentary aimed at him, and virtually anyone who lives with mental illness. There has also, blessedly, been many who have written with immeasurable grace about the darkness of depression, mental illness and suicide. This is not a post about what to do if you or someone you know is suicidal. There is plenty of information out there about that (although I will provide a few links at the end). No, this is personal. This is my story. This is about how my path has sometimes diverged into incredibly, dark–and nearly lethal–places.

Suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety have plagued me off and on since my childhood. I attempted suicide when I was 14. At 19, I was so close to ending my life that I voluntarily walked into a facility where I stayed for five days. After intense therapy and prescription medication, I stabilized and did well for many years. Depression was still a constant companion but for a long time I wasn’t wishing I was dead. Then 2001 hit. My inner world seemed to match the outside world at the time. I was rediscovering many hard things that happened to me as a kid, my relationships were in shambles and so was my soul. Not only did I consider killing myself, I begged God to take me out.

I remember at a young age believing the world would be a better place without me in it. That I was a mistake, an accidental blip on the human timeline. There are a myriad of reasons people attempt to or succeed in taking their lives but this was my reason. I wanted to correct a wrong. I was trusting the voice that said I couldn’t do anything right, that I was a hopeless case, far too broken to be fixed. The longer I listened to that voice, the louder it became and the more “logical” the option of suicide seemed. I believed that I would be doing my loved ones a favor. In the midst of the sickness, I believed I loved them so much that if I ended my life they would be able to be happy. I don’t remember it ever being about ending the pain. I was sure, in my hurting mind, that I deserved the suffering, but they didn’t.

And even, as recently as, early this year I fought back the beginnings of those whispers. Thankfully, I recognized them early, sought therapy, and tweaked my medicine. Most importantly, I have an incredible community who have loved me in and through the darkness.

Obviously, as evidenced by the sad passing of Robin, no one is ever totally out of the woods with mental illness. There is no magic formula that works for everyone. Not only do we have to be on guard with a storehouse of helping tools, we need the people in our lives to speak up when they see us sinking. We need the stigma of mental illness vanquished. We need to accept that some of us need medication and that’s okay!

If you or someone you love is struggling with suicide, please hear me.

You are not alone.
You are not too broken to fix.
You are needed.
You are loved.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or visit the website here.

This is a great Ted Talk on the stigma of depression.

Sui generis?


photo by pitter painter

(My lack of posts since the last one are not because I’ve had nothing to say. I’ve actually had so much on my mind that I’m not so sure how to consolidate the firing of my synapses into readable material. I have started several drafts which I’ve then hastily abandoned for one reason or another…So…Hi again!)

I have been thinking a lot about uniqueness. It’s possible this is a result of the obsessive way my husband and I have been consuming Battlestar Galactica on Netflix. A few late night marathons observing the Cylon clones interact with the human race can mess with your mind.

So, I wonder are we really unique?

For me this is dangerous territory because I have spent the last decade or more believing and preaching that we are all different. That every person has a special “calling” or purpose they are meant to fulfill. We are each “one of a kind”, right? This idea, however, seems to unravel as I encounter more people along my journey. I meet these new people and I’m reminded of someone I’ve known before. I see personality doppelgangers everywhere. So and so reacts to conflict the same way so and so does…she is passionate about _____ just like ______…he treats women the same way ______ does…and so on and so on.

I don’t like this train of thought at all. I want to be different. To stand out from the crowd. Perhaps out of some false belief that this somehow means that I matter. Most of us feel this way. I know A LOT of people who freak out if someone tries to label them (i.e. “Call me a hipster, hippie, feminist, or–insert much hated stereotype here–and I will break your face!”). Seems a bit extreme but things can get heated when it comes to our identity.

I had to find my way out of this maze of deconstruction and I think I discovered it in the wee hours of the morning (rather than sleeping). Maybe there are a numerous amount of women and men on this tiny planet who see things as I do, who get lost in their own head, avoid conflict like it’s the swine flu and interact with the world in the same way as me. And maybe that’s okay.

While our personalities may be near copies of one another, I think what really makes us unique is our stories. I may be built like you in many ways, but we are not made up of the exact same memories and experiences (good and tragic). At the same time, I believe the pages of our lives connect us to each other in ways that we really don’t understand. Try it sometime. Tell someone your tale. Listen to theirs and you will find intimacy.*

*I would warn that one danger here is when we find ourselves comparing our scars to someone else’s. Measuring our pain against the tragedies that others have experienced and concluding that our wounds are worse can only leave us stuck in victim mode. But I think this subject is fodder for an entirely different post. I’m sure I will have more to say later. 😉

Possibility

Possibility. My word for this year.

“I dwell in Possibility–
A fairer House than Prose–
More numerous of Windows–
Superior–for Doors–

Of Chambers as the Cedars–
Impregnable of Eye–
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky–

Of Visitors–the fairest–
For Occupation–This–
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise–”
Emily Dickinson

Potential. Promise. Hope.

Authenticity…even if it kills me

“Like an angry apply tree, I’ll throw my apples if you get too close to me.”
–Locked Up, Ingrid Michaelson

Okay. I’m going to be honest. This blogging thing scares the hell out of me!
I’ve been deliberating about whether or not I should do this for years now. I even set up an account, but once it was ready for the first post I went running for the hills. I’m still not sure about it but lately it seems that everywhere I turn, the subject comes up.
There are a million reasons why I don’t want to do this. I think the biggest hindrance is fear. Fear of judgment, fear of rejection. You know. All the basics. I ask the question, “Who am I?”
Do I have anything to say that others would find worth reading? Who cares about what Sarah is thinking? Isn’t blogging pretty narcissistic anyway? And what if I say something that the readers don’t like? Something that leads people to doubt my sanity, question my motives, and accuse me of turning away from my faith? I could give you the endless list of agonizing questions, but I will stop there.
What I have decided for TODAY is this:
I’m done with being paralyzed by anxiety. I want no more of censoring myself so that others only get glimpses of who I truly am. In my quest for authenticity I am learning how closed off my heart is (sorry about all that apple throwing). This is unacceptable.
So, here we go. Me. My life. My fears, my joys, my darkness, my hope. Uncensored. Unapologetic. Take it or leave it.