I can’t come up with titles to save my life.

16 Jul

I’m so thankful for the life I live.

Didn’t think I’d start an entry like that with how I’ve been acting lately, did you? But it’s the truth. I have done so much growing up in the last couple months. I moved three hours away from home to take an internship in the big city, and it has been so therapeutic for me to get away and really get a big-picture view of my life. As much as I feared that I would be broken for the rest of my life after what ex did to me, I’m feeling so much better so much sooner than I ever imagined. I absolutely love my summer job, I have met some amazing people, had some of the best times of my life, and completely changed my entire perspective on the world. It’s funny how growing up in a small town can leave a person so close-minded, and all it takes some time in the city to realize that there is so much more to experience and so many more people to meet than you ever thought possible. Moving further away from home has also taught me who I value in my life. There are so many people that have not made the effort to keep in contact while I’ve been away, and quite frankly I’ve made no effort either. But I’m alright with that. It really is about quality over quantity, and after a long time coming, that is finally starting to sink in.

Last Sunday, a group of interns and I went to church together at a local Vineyard (the churches I attend back home). The preacher was fantastic– he was this loud, animated, passionate African American like you see in the movies. The sermon he was preaching on was about relationship baggage. It hit so close to home, and felt like he was speaking right to me. But the thing is, despite all of his yelling and arm waving and finger pointing, the message didn’t “hit close to home” the way most do. Usually when a sermon hit’s close to home, I know it was meant for me and I will feel singled out and almost like God is lecturing me through the pastor. I’ll know that it’s something I need to hear, and I always take the meaning from it, but it’s hard not to feel like a child who’s been reprimanded. This time was different, though. The entire service, I had to fight to keep myself from grinning. Which was weird, considering it wasn’t exactly a happy topic. But this time, I felt like God was using this preacher to give me a giant old bear hug. The preacher was dragging all this luggage back and forth on the stage with him while he spoke, and talked about how we as humans gather up all this baggage as we move from relationship to relationship, and can never let it go. That concept is nothing new, but what he said next was sure new to me. He said that he believes that eventually, we hang on to that baggage not because we can’t get rid of it, but because we won’t get rid of it. That after awhile, our emotional baggage becomes so engraved into our identity and becomes such a part of who we are, that we start to get possessive over it.

“Let go of my baggage? Well… Well, no! It’s MINE!”

It’s like Gollum in Lord of the Rings– it’s not long before we’re in a cave huddling over our piles and piles of emotional shit, creepily muttering “my precious…” It’s so ridiculous! And that sad part is you know that it’s true! One thing he said really stuck with me– Having baggage isn’t a shameful thing. What’s shameful is not wanting to get rid of it. That’s when things started to sink in. Do I really want to get rid of my baggage? Of course I would immediately say yes– I’m dying to– because this crap is really weighing me down. But if I let the thought linger, I start to wonder. After all, I lived for years hiding all of this weight under the surface. I carried it alone, and this year I was FINALLY able to get it out in the open. Other people caught a glimpse of the hell that I had been through, and started to treat me with more understanding. They encouraged me, expressed how proud they were of me, and made a point to show me how much I was loved. It felt really good. Why would I want to let go of that right away? So this entire spring I have been battling myself and haven’t even realized it. I try and try to get over all this emotional damage that’s been done, and I become so frustrated because I haven’t been able to drop it. Now I can see that I was the one trapping myself the entire time. I wanted to lose all the negative effects of what happened to me, but didn’t want to completely let go because that would mean losing the positive feedback too. If I quit letting it affect me, quit having to use it as an excuse for my actions, quit bringing it up– how will anyone ever appreciate me for what I’ve been through? But I can’t ride on people’s pity forever. This spring, yes, I needed it to help me move on. I received all the love and encouragement that I possibly could’ve asked for–and then some– and I got to the point where it wasn’t what I needed anymore. It was time to rely on my own strength and confidence to continue the healing process. But I wanted to stay in that stage of relying on those around me, and that was only stumping the healing process. By continuing to allow that part of my life to define my identity, I was still keeping my ex in control. He still had control over me, because I will still letting his actions dictate the way I lived my life every day. As the preacher said on Sunday, you’ll always live as a victim if you don’t let it go. And as much as I thought that opening up about the abuse was enough to let it go, I had to let go of it emotionally too. I can’t say that I have done that completely just yet, but I’m working on it.

So yeah. Just a little update since it’s been awhile :)

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