Thursday, February 7, 2013

Making No Apologies

I have a confession to make . . . my tongue gets me in trouble sometimes. You see, I'm mouthy; I open my mouth before I think of what might come out; I react in the heat of moments instead of taking a couple collective moments; I have no filter.

As I've grown older the filter hasn't been as wide - an occasional 'on the whim' thought will be caught before it leaves the confinement of my mouth. There is, however, the unavoidable truth that while the filter may be decreasing in accessibility, the dryness of my humor has only started to harden and crack.
And I've got to be honest, I've never seen it as a problem before. In fact, I've always somewhat prided myself on my quick wit, on my ability to make others laugh at my own expense, on being a smart, funny woman.

Until I wasn't.

Until I was being told my "sassiness" was difficult to handle. Up until this particular time I had never seen sassy as anything but a compliment. Turns out not everyone likes a quick tongued gal.
My apologies to all you men out there that haven't had the fortune of dating a sassy sister; I'm deeply apologetic about your boring choices.

Only, looking back, I wasn't acting sorry - I was acting retroactively; I found myself becoming apologetic about my humor, my wit, my self. I found myself attempting to become someone that I'd never known - I was looking at a girl in the process of being broken.

Days later this same person began to throw my insecurities at me like baseballs being pitched for the World Series; hot, stinging, fast accusatory balls of - wait for it - everything I had owned up to, and warned about, from the beginning.
When I think back to that conversation I am reminded of a quote I found the other day:

I'm quirky, silly, blunt, and broken. My days are sometimes too dark and my nights are sometimes too long. I often trip over my own insecurities. I require attention, long for passion, and wish to be desired. I use music to speak when words fail me, even though words are as important to me as the air I breathe. I love hard and with all that I have . . . and even with my faults, I am worth loving.

I wish I could say that what I said was as eloquent as that, but the premise was similar. I am not easy. I have baggage. I am insecure - ridiculously so, sometimes.
And still I received accusations flagged with what seemed to be surprise.

Here is my big question, though. At what point, as injured, struggling people did we have to start making justifications for our own human-ness? When, exactly, did the fulfillment of the human condition stop being, quite possibly, the most beautiful pieces about ourselves and start being the weapons used against us?

I think about the people who have become a daily part of my life and just what it is that makes me so damn wild about them; let me tell you, friends, it is absolutely, unequivocally never because they are perfect or easy to love every single minute of every day. It is almost always because they've been injured, they've been a witness to struggle, they've owned up to being flawed.

Because that's just it, isn't it? We are struggling every day - each one of us - we're fighting for something, we're standing up against something, we are being broken down. Every. Day.
I don't want perfection. I don't even want near it. I am hard and calloused and needy and scarred - and if we can't find the beauty of the pain in each other, what in the hell are we doing, anyway?

I am mouthy, my tongue gets me in trouble - I am opinionated, I am deeply insecure, I have been knocked down. And I make no apologies.
I am a broken girl, but by no means will I allow anyone to break me.

Emma Lazarus wrote a sonnet once called "The New Colossus" and it ends like this:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . .
the homeless, the tempest-tost to me . . ."

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . .

That sounds perfectly imperfect to me . . . Are you in?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

On the Tides of Tribulation

So, it's been a while. It's been quite a long while. There have been changes - many, many changes in my life and with each change I kept thinking to myself, "you'll have more time to write now," "you really should start writing daily, again," "okay, Steph, keep your promise to yourself and get started with the writing again." And I think we can all see how wonderfully those mini pep talks to myself turned out . . . because it's been a long while.

With each change or minor bump in the radar I could feel God nudging my heart as if to say, "whatchya waiting on, girl?" and, like I often do (I am terribly ashamed to write this out) I turned my ear away from the nudge, I insisted I would make the time another day, I blatantly ignored His supreme suggestions. And then, like He must often do with such a stubborn, hard headed child such as myself, He had to start chucking baseballs at my head, He had to start swinging and hitting His aim, (read my heart) and He had to start raising His voice a little. Let me just say this, ahem, I never claimed to be an easy person. NEVER.

This past weekend He really pulled out all the stops, brought out the big guns, took aim, and hit directly, in the center of my heart. It hurt, bad, and I am broken; I am deeply wounded and confused and struggling and I am thankful.

You see, I met a boy . . . and isn't that how it always starts?

I met a boy and I opened up and laid it all out and I even started to let myself think this might turn into something - like something real for the first time in about 3 years. And in the process of daydreaming about no longer having to date and worry and fret I lost sight of Him. I forgot about the promises I'd made to my heart and my spirit and my Father; I left far, far, far behind me the prayers I whispered and wrote about wanting a man to push me into my faith, not out of it.
So there I was, deep in the throes of liking this man and forgetting about THE man, and I was shoved face first into the muckiness of being cheated on, lied to, and belittled. I won't go into the details - mostly because I don't need to - you all know what it's like to hurt, right? This is the most hurt I think I've ever hurt over a man, ever. So I took that hurt and I allowed it to feed into being supremely pissed - at myself for believing what he was saying to me, at myself for losing sight and allowing myself to be manipulated, and at God for creating a situation in which I was let down, again.

Suggestions of getting in my Bible and praying were gently lobbed at me by friends and family, but I knew better; I wasn't going to pray, I was going to stay angry; I wasn't going to be in my Bible, I was going to get on Pinterest. That'll show Him, I thought.
What did I pin, you ask? Well, these were the first three pins I saw - and that was that.

Psalm 147: 3- written by a victim of the HolocaustGod doesn't give you the people you want, he gives you the people you need.  to help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you the person you were meant to be.

I am fairly certain that the Bible left out one key message in the Creation story; it probably went something like this:

And on the seventh day, while He was resting, He laughed. Hard.

Who, exactly, do we think we are, guys? PINTEREST?! I was going to shove it to my Father by getting on Pinterest instead of getting on my Bible. Who had the last word? I assure you it's never me, in these sorts of situations.

In this day and age of Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest it has occurred to me that so many people, myself included, look to their social media devices as their God, as their religion, instead of opening up the good book and listening with an open heart.
Last Friday I attended a night of prayer with two of the most incredible people I've ever met and one section of the prayer was to ask for perseverance; the Pastor stood before us and said he wanted to remind us that we should be prepared because when we ask for perseverance we will likely be handed tribulation in order to get to the perseverance. I heard those words on Friday night, I prayed for perseverance in His sight on that same night, too. And on Saturday morning I was met with a swift test, I was met with my tribulation.

I'm persevering. I am in the midst of perseverance.