Self Harm No Longer

This blog post is really hard for me to talk about and admit, even though it’s probably been evident to people longer than it has to me because of location.

I grew up thinking self harm was inflicting horrible pain upon yourself or cutting your wrists. And I ignorantly thought that since I once attempted to cut my wrists with a knife and it scared me shitless that I didn’t self harm.

Except I have been for a majority of my life. And I’m publicly posting this as a commitment to stop.

Whenever I’m anxious, frustrated, or unable to cope with my feelings, the first thing I do is pick my arms. I will scratch with my nails until I draw blood or pinch my skin until it opens and then I will pick the scabs and not allow them to heal. Sometimes when I feel neck deep in anxiety the first sign is not how I feel (when I’m neck deep I don’t “see” it), but looking at my forearms. They will be spotted with red welts, dry flaking patches of dead skin tired of scabbing, and dark traces of where a wound has been.

Nobody has really talked to me about it. Maybe they didn’t know why or didn’t want to be rude.  I guess it may disguise itself to others looking like psoriasis that comes and goes. Or perhaps people thought they were bug bites I scratched until bleeding. But I know why.

The reason varies. Sometimes I feel nervous or overwhelmed and it gives me something to distract myself with. Sometimes I feel frustrated with myself or a situation and I feel relief with “punishing” myself. Sometimes I need to fidget and ground myself and that is what I resort to.

I cannot practice self care while still practicing self harm. I am consciously acknowledging that the pain and comfort of scabbing my arms is not acceptable and not the right response. I am forgiving myself instead of letting myself think I am despicable. I am translating that energy and relief into writing with mindfulness and fidgeting with jewelry or my fitbit.

I commit today to self harm no longer.

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Just Little Bits and Pieces of Recent

1. My cousin celebrated her 75th birthday and had two pinatas at her party. That she actively participated in hitting. That made my day.

2. My brother was in a bad accident BUT he doesn’t have any permanent injury and my almost due SIL was NOT in the car. Praise God!

3. I’ve jumped aboard the Stranger Things train. Dustin looks a lot like my brother as a kid. Like, crazy similar vibes. I’m really digging the series!

4. My family has made peace with that stupid leather sectional. We are going to make it work.

5. Depending on when the baby feels like being born, I will have a nephew or niece in the next 30ish days! Ahh! So excited!

6. My foster non-prof is kicking back into gear for the 2016 planning.

7. Bible study starts next week. We will be studying 1 Corinthians.

8. I’m on a stress detox. I seriously messed up my body in the past few weeks. I’m anxious because my schedule is filling up again but actively avoiding extra stress right now.

9. I’m going to drastically cut and color my hair this weekend.

10. I’m researching bullet journaling because I think it’s a better system than a planner. I like that I can add all of my life to it. Reading lists. Weight loss/food tracking. Weekly/Monthly goals and highlights. Etc.

How is everyone doing? Have you watched/binged Stranger Things yet? Do you bullet journal?

Made Up: Realizing Skin Deep Perspectives

Confession time. There are times I get extra dressy and made up for my boyfriend. For what purpose I’m not quite sure. Some compliment fishing, if I’m honest? But mostly because I want to look special to show love and appreciation when we do something special, or to make a casual date something special.

Except that’s not how Josh ever sees it. Seriously, this guy doesn’t give me a second look over most of the time. And HE never dresses up for me unless it’s a dress code for the event. What gives? Doesn’t he know I suck at makeup and it took me a LONG time to get this put together? Doesn’t he know I fussed over what to wear today to tie to all together?
Once in a while, he’ll tell me he hasn’t seen my shirt or dress or something before and ask if it’s new. That’s pretty much the extent of it.

Do you see how fussy and huffy and full of expectations my last paragraph was? I can and have gotten flustered over it.

But it finally dawned on me after forever and a day why he doesn’t say anything, and it’s not because he doesn’t notice or isn’t a good man. It’s because he’s a good, honest, and simple man. It’s because as awful as I paint him in paragraph 2, that is just a biased perspective that isn’t being rational.

The truth is, Josh has told me multiple times I don’t need makeup, he likes me fresh faced just as much. He also compliments my physical traits at the strangest times. We’ll go on a rigorous hike or drive back to my place after the gym and he’ll glance over and say “Pretty Kitty” when I’m dripping sweat, frumpy, and could probably afford more deodorant. We’ll be three episodes into a Netflix binge and I’m in comfy clothes and day worn makeup and he’ll compliment my beauty.

That’s because, as shallow as I think of myself at times, my guy doesn’t see my beauty as conditional or situational. So why make a big fuss out of fancier clothes or extra beauty products? My lesson here is that in a relationship, dating or married, expectations are sometimes false perspectives on reality. What we expect of another person may sometimes paint them in a bad light and be a lie. That lie for me sometimes is that he doesn’t appreciate my extra efforts or doesn’t think much of my looks. But when that perspective is fully illuminated, I see that isn’t the reality of things at all.

Next outing I will dress nicely to feel nice for me, and take the extra effort to communicate verbally that I appreciate this time with him. That the two of us adventuring or enjoying everyday things are special to me.

Fail-er, Not Failure.

I’m a schemer and dreamer. I plan things and more often than not, they do not get completed or sometimes, started at all. It’s what makes me really faulty as a person. My diet stuff has fallen on the wayside and my gym routine is spotty. My bible journaling never happened. And my regular Bible study happens in a few weeks.

Where does time go? What the heck am I doing with it all?

I’m a fail-er. I fail a lot. A helluva lot. In fact, I want to stamp “FAILED” on my forehead and give up. Cease and desist, my mind tells me, just give up. Give up on everything. Give up on dreaming, give up on planning, and while I’m at it, give up on breathing.

And that’s when the tiniest voice inside me has to remind I’m not a failure if I try again. Even if my next 100 tries are just as unfruitful.

Yes, I’m lousy.
Yes, I talk big.
Yes, I am a disorganized mess.

But I am not a failure. Even when that statement feels like a lie, I think the Holy Spirit helps me hold on to that validation. Because sometimes, that’s the last bit of thread I have left when I’m unraveled. God’s purpose for my life is bigger than all my fails. I can’t see past them sometimes, but He can.

Nowhere Near

Last night the volume in the house got a bit loud and heated. It was stupid, it was frustrating, and it was a situation where I just needed to get out. Given the fact it was nearly 11pm, I also didn’t have many options.

I drove slowly through neighborhoods hoping I didn’t look like I was thief scoping my next home to plunder. After a while, I parked in front of a home I was familiar with, but dared not disturb that acquaintance at that hour. Two teenage looking guys on bikes rode through the street and decided to pass awfully close to my car and I booked it out of my hiding spot.

As I went back to weaving through quiet sleeping cul-de-sacs, I realized in sadness that I DIDN’T HAVE a place to go. My boyfriend is a few towns away, and he would have been there in a heartbeat or let me come over, but I didn’t have a non-family member I could trust to bare my soul to and not hate me for crashing their place at 11pm.

I live in a good town. There is generally nothing to fear, and we are ranked one of the top safest places to raise a family. But when night falls, even our town tends to get shady. In the daytime we are family friendly residential and shopping spots, but at night you see what I assume is drug dealing and the like.

I’m longing to have that close friend again. One where I can plan weekend fun with, or chat over coffee with. I have some wonderful acquaintances here, but we just don’t fully mesh. I don’t know if I shoo people away without knowing it or if I’m just horrible at making really close friends? Either way, there’s an emptiness where a close friend should be, but I don’t know how or when that gaping hole will be filled.

I think one of the hardest parts of being a quarter-lifer is having so much change happening around you or to you. Those connections you built in your youth dissipate as people pursue careers, callings, and have families and move away.

I cling to my amazing friends states away, but sometimes, I just need someone near. An actual girl friend with a shoulder I don’t have to metaphorically lean on, because she’s right there.

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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I gobbled this book up so quickly! It surprised me, because the first time I encountered it years ago, I flipped through the pages, looked at the giant font size and all the pages with photos and thought, ‘Hmm, this is way below my reading level.’

That statement is rather odd for me to make because I gravitate towards young adult fiction. I think many people do. But anyway, this time, I felt a spark, so in my cart it went. By that evening I was already 4 chapters in.

Ransom Riggs has created a great little world through the help of vintage images he and others have collected. The story and characters are woven out of the black and white visuals and there is something powerful about reading the description of a character and then flipping to an image of him/her. Somehow, combined with the fanciful and other-worldly aspects, it grounds the idea that such humans/creatures do exist in our world.

The protagonist, Jacob, is bored with his humdrum life as a teen in a wealthy family that dwells in the suburbs of Florida. He is certain he doesn’t fit into the mold of expectations that are cut out for his future. His desire is to be displaced of an unsatisfactory future career in the family business.

His life changes in the blink of an eye when his grandfather whom he is close to calls him in a frenzy. His parents have ruled out Grandpa Abe’s antics as senility, but Jacob goes to check on him anyway. What happens next opens the door to a whole new world as Jacob pieces together clues from his Grandfather’s words.

The reader is introduced to a headmistress, Miss Peregrine, and her flock of peculiar children. They all posses special abilities which make them “peculiar” to the world around them and unfortunately make them prey to dangerous beings.

I was shocked to find a decent amount of strong language in a book targeted for the 11+ crowd. There is language that alludes to sexual references which would make me uneasy recommending it to anyone under 16 (to be clear, there is no sexual content). I also found that Riggs expects his reader to be quite knowledgeable. He references a variety of complex concepts and verbatim that pleasantly surprised me but didn’t quite seem to fit the voice of a 16 year old kid from the ‘burbs. For instance, he uses the word ‘humping’ which youth today would allude to something else entirely, but is a terms of military origins for carrying the breadth of your belongings with you. Some of the vocabulary requires seeking out definitions for – things like: homunculus, lanai, interloper, inoculate, and parapet.

Overall, it was a wonderful read and I enjoyed every page of it. It was enchanting, legitimately creepy, and engaging.

I’m very excited for the film adaptation coming out later this year, but now that I’ve read the book, I see one major change to the story and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I will, like all other movies from books, take the film as a whole different beast with creative licensing.

Here is a poster for the upcoming feature:

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And now I’m off to buy the sequel, Hollow City!

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