Because Depression Don’t Pay The Fucking Bills.

This morning I found myself shaking with anxiety as I tapped out a text to a formerly-known-as friend (?) explaining how much of a fucking flake I know I could be and how sorry I was.  A feat that didn’t quite throw me into a major depressive spiral but it most certainly made me feel shitty, shitty, and all the things that do throw me into a shitty major depressive spiral.

But I’m here. On the 6 train.  On my way to work armed with my well worn and trusty mask. Because depression don’t pay the fucking bills.

Everyday Grace

November 13, 2013–

I do believe I have a greater understanding of Grace. Or…to be truly honest…a greater understanding of my need for it.  Right now, there is this small but pervasive anxiety competing with the Still, Small Voice I so heavily rely on.  And I don’t think I’m doing enough, saying enough, showing enough, praying enough…I don’t believe I am enough.  

Selah. 

But that’s not to say I am not confident.  I am confident in the One who is More Than Enough.  And I would rather be closer to unsure of myself, in order to be closer to sure of Him.  

 

December 13,2014–I sat on this for a year and a month. Not intentionally. I meant to go back to it, thinking it was incomplete. That there had to be more to say, to flesh it out a bit. But a year and a month and a heap of uncertainties later….the fact still remains: His gracemercywisdomlovingkindness covers my fears. His abilities trump my inadequacies.

And of this I am still confident.

Keeping Pace

I used to take pictures of you all the time. Not because you were a new and fresh, breastmilk-tinged babyface. But because I was at once enraptured and overcome by both you and the urgency to remember. Somehow, as of late, I’ve not picked up the camera. You are no less glorious today. No less new. It’s just…the camera simultaneously captures your youth and solidifies your growth. Confirms your slipping away. Maybe I am too early for these fears.  But the thought traces something damp down my cheek.

A faint shadow reminds me of how I used to frequently admonish myself to slow down for you. But now…

I just want to keep pace with you.

Things To Do:

Special place
Chalkboard wall
Gallery wall
Keyboard
New guitar
Craft supplies

Kleenex.

image

I’m making my way toward finding the well hidden entrance to the Vortex of Time. I plan to recover our Stolen Days. Or at the very least, get some answers.  I have the sneaking suspicion there aren’t any–no answers nor days stolen.

So I endeavor to again pick up my camera. Because you are no less new. No less glorious than The Day We Met.

Slow down, Baby.

On Grace Deferred…

It seems I have compounded quite a bit of something…(resentment maybe?), whilst waiting on or adhering to or figuring out or listening to I HAVE NO REAL AND HONEST CLUE.

Everything and nothing.

I feel like I am raw and exposed in the middle of an old Western desert scene washed in sepia, with that telltale tumbleweed rolling across my path as a sign of an ensuing battle between two solitary figures.

But the thing is–and here is where I begin to splash a little technicolor on my circumstance–these opposing sides don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Doesn’t have to be either/or.

I can do my best to gift the ideal I so desperately wanted. And still fall short. And still be okay.

(Eventually. “Okay”, eventually.)

IMG_751002321055818

Speaking aloud the truth that hurts my soul, hurts my body, hurts my everything…does not have to cripple me. Does not have to dictate the space I exist in.

(Because I have let it. Even when I wanted to stop. Needed to stop. Begged it to stop.)

I AM A SINGLE MOTHER. I FEAR I HAVE CARRIED OVER THE BROKEN HOME OF MY CHILDHOOD TO MY DAUGHTER’S. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO STOP THE RANDOM RAGE-WISHING THAT MY HUSBAND-IN-TITLE WAS NOT THE FATHER OF MY CHILD. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO STOP BEING UPSET WITH GOD FOR SAYING THIS WAS RIGHT, ONLY TO LET IT TURN OUT SO WRONG. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO STOP BEING UPSET WITH MYSELF FOR SILENT SUFFERING IN THE HOPES OF “MAYBE” TURNED PLAIN HUMILIATION TURNED USUAL. AND SO MUCH. AND SO MUCH. AND SO MUCH.

March 3rd, a Monday, I fought the hell out of a nervous breakdown. I began to shatter over a hot stove with some utensil in hand cooking who-knows-what. I struggled for hours between fits of exhaustive sobbing, giggling, quiet tears, rage, numbness, fear, confusion, determination (and even some, “Oh is this really what You want to do right now, God?!”). It didn’t take a whole lot of perception on the part of my little one to figure out something was wrong. But her eyes. Her eyes were unafraid. She still felt safe. Her trust is what I clung to like it was a rope burning its mark of contention into my hands. The ascent afterward was rough and rocky but the little pockets of Grace have been more profound; more vibrant. A few talks with a therapist that offered more than 50% off his rate. Sudden change in work schedule that allowed me time to recoup between days and a few consecutive Saturday mornings post-work that were free from hurry. The uninterrupted midnight pedicure my feet have been requesting for over three years. Walking the length of the east side of Manhattan with blue sky before me and the sun on my back. Migraine-free $5 coffee splurges, extra sweet. Reconnections and conversations that hugged my spirit. Cooking a meal and washing the dishes in one fell swoop; uninterrupted. Deep, cleansing breaths. And so much. And so much. And so much.

Best of all, experiencing the Grace of surrender; raising the white flag. Not attempting to do it all. In fact, doing nothing and allowing God to sometimes carry me, sometimes sit with me. Allowing God to teach me that there isn’t always a lesson, a trial, a test or grand scheme. But there is always life–often times, just that–and His Friendship and Lordship extends through every aspect of it. And I am safe…even when I’m not okay.

Selah.

IMG_246056088972450 (1)

Parenting Peculiarly

I remember having a conversation about a year ago (the day we celebrated The Little Libertarian’s first birthday), where I was asked about my style of parenting, how it came about, did I read any specific books, what did I call it, and the like.  Then, at the time, I answered that I did not have any specific books, that I recently found out that what I was doing was popularly known as Attachment Parenting, and that I just call it doing what comes naturally.

Flash forward to year two of our relationship and I can tell you that its landscape is a heck of a lot different. I thought back on that conversation and what all has changed. My answer now? Some call it AP, some call it Conscious Parenting, some call it Gentle. I, too hastily, called it Parenting Naturally. I don’t want to just do or be any of those. It isn’t enough. It. Is. Not. Enough. Because while they all can fit under the umbrella of “Naturally”, so can frustration and anger and lashing out. So can sadness, abuse, and callousness. Because, naturally, I can probably be all those things–and so I need God to be my sieve.

Godly. I want to parent Godly. Which seems like a lofty goal but the way I figure, if I set my sights on Godly then I’m bound to reach Peculiarly. I’m perfectly fine with that, because I’ll likely need sifting until the wheels fall off. Yes, I’m fine with that too…it means He’ll still be taking notice and parenting me.

From Chrysalis to Chrysalis

There are crayon marks on most of the walls in my meager one-bedroom apartment.  As well as marker. And pen. And even some watercolor in a corner.  And mostly, it doesn’t bother me. 

The bathroom wall has dried tissue balls stuck to it because I forget to wipe it off after a half hour of experimenting with water and tissue and practicing throwing technique. And mostly, it doesn’t bother me.

I’m hanging somewhere between Crazy Crunchy and Too Broke To Be Granola. And mostly, it doesn’t bother me.

Right up until I wonder and worry and wish I was some other Mom-more-put-together. 

Oh God, am I doing anything at all right?

We occasionally go stretches without venturing outside because I’m a strange kind of people-loving introvert. And some days I’m more introvert than people-loving. And I get stuck decompressing. And I get stuck employing all the coping skills in my arsenal of depression combatants….except for one: getting outside.

And oh God, am I doing anything at all right?

(Kismet are you happy?)

I don’t own a proper diaper bag. I’ve been seen about with a tot on hip and a reusable shopping bag with a diaper and a bottle of water thrown in. And a pair of pants. Yeah, maybe a pair of pants.  And wipes. Oh, and a small spray bottle of Olive or Coconut oil. Or, honestly, I scrap the bag altogether because my strange case of people-loving introversion keeps me local. That and being broke.

Anything at all, God? Anything?

And I’m lonely and I’m frustrated and I’m desperate and I’m uncertain and I’m tired and I’m grateful.  Some days, an overwhelming heartache competes with an overwhelming joy and I say to myself, “ah, such is life” and I’m grateful.

(But Kismet, are you happy? Did you experience my love today?)

She has a fondness for The Hungry Caterpillar.  Toddlers with a fondness for anything tend to want that thing over and over and…so I’ve had caterpillars and butterflies on my mind. And if life wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable, if we never squirmed even just a little, then we would likely never emerge as something beautiful. And maybe, if I thought I had it all prim and together, I would miss all the magnificent moments.  Moments like today when an errant dancing foot caught my jaw:

“Mama, huwt?”
“Yes, a little but it’s okay” while rubbing my sore chin. Then my little girl leaned in and kissed the booboo. Magnificent. My eyes lit up as my heart spread fragile wings and soared to God’s Throne Room to express gratitude and amazement.

And so, I do accept this hard exterior of far-from-perfect, uncertainty, fear, grief and worry and crayon marks. I will gladly (and prayerfully) squirm from Chrysalis to Chrysalis if it means a fragile beauty and flight that only the Hands of God can guide.

(Kismet, maybe nothing at all that I do is right, but He will make me better).
image

The Marvelous Mundane

Open skies. Flashing lights. Chills, shivers, goosebumps. Warrior angels. Supernatural healing conferences. Double portions. Gold, gems, glitter.

Where does it end?

I can’t deny, my younger newbie Christian self has been there. I grew up Pentecostal Holiness/Apostolic so I was no stranger to some “manifestations”. Then I had the pleasure of being exposed to a more Charismatic church experience (I say that with a slight measure of sourness). It was appealing because much of it was on the opposite end of my considered legalistic upbringing. 

[And I encountered many a strange thing.  Some things of which I was wary and uncomfortable but was willing to let slide because, after all, it was “The Anointing” or whatever other Churchese term.  I was young and quite impressionable.  But I digress.]

I preface with all that not to debate or offend but, rather, to emphasize where I am now.

And now:

  I find a holiness and pleasure in the scut work of cloth diaper duty.

  I am equal parts humbled and in awe of The Kismet’s ability to see past my moments of frailty and freely offers her affection and forgiveness.

  The careful and earnest way she says “Please” makes my heart melt and eyes tear; my spirit sores to petition Abba Father with my own “Please”.  And I feel so special, so loved, to know His reaction is mutual.

  I breathe in my little one’s bliss each time she witnesses the miracle of wind making its way through the trees– sometimes gently, sometimes fiercely. Everytime invisibly.

  The way she dances with complete abandon, then takes my hand and  invites me to join her makes me laugh and think we should worship this way always.  With complete abandon.

  The rise and fall of her tiny chest as she sleeps is a testimony to the existence of a Creator. The sound of her snores strengthens my faith.

I pause here, only for fear I might burst with praise. I’m not saying I don’t believe in the supernatural workings and miracles of God. I’m saying I don’t need them. I’m saying the everyday extraordinary–the marvelous mundane–serves to turn my heart and head toward the Cross each and every time.