begin again; with grace

Hey stranger, 

Minus the "can't sleep have to write 'me too' post," it's been a while, huh? That 'while' has had a few ups and downs. Refiners fire and all that if we were to try and get spiritual about it. 

Because of that, it's the first time I've sat in front of my computer screen unsure of how to begin. That un -sureness (not a word, but we'll go with it)  is what's kept me away for a little while. But a a couple of months ago, in an unreal message, my pastor said, "deal with doubt on the move."

So now I'm back- and giving myself grace (not my forté) for my time away. 

This time reminded me that I'm not a finished product. I didn't know it, but I was believing a lie that said that if I was going to talk to you about my healing, my journey- it needed to be complete... and when I stumbled under that self imposed pressure, I panicked... My pride has had to take a hit on that one, which is never fun. But the feeling of freedom beginning to creep in with the understanding that I will forever be a work in progress until the day I get to heaven?? It's peaceful. My healing, though miraculous up to this point, is not yet complete -  but it will be - that's a promise...

For I am confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus - Phil 1: 6

My incompleteness doesn't invalidate or change the purpose of the journey. It solidifies it because it recognizes my absolute, dyer need for Jesus. 

During my hiatus, April 26 came and went. 

Three years ago on April 26, I woke up in a hospital bed, afraid, and exhausted. I spent the rest of that day answering questions, giving statements, being examined and studied, before collapsing into 15 hours of desperately needed sleep. 

Two years ago, I woke up at home in TX, surrounded by family- spiritual and literal, consoled and watched. 

One year ago, I sat on the beach, astounded at redemption, inspired by newness, relieved to be on the opposite coast of my memories, and grateful for creative distraction.

This year, the lead up to April 26 was fraught with tears and turmoil. I was acutely aware that April 26 was on its way and that I would be here, in the city where that date became an 'anniversary,' for the first time since. 

In the land of trauma, anniversaries are well studied... Anniversary Reactions, the Anniversary Effect. The actions and reactions surrounding that day are an exacerbation of the normal, every day symptoms that accompany PTSD: intrusion, avoidance, negativity, arousal, anxiety, headache, profound sadness, stomachache... Our bodies store those memories at a cellular level- the mind keeps a detailed log even when we'd rather it exist beyond the confines of time. Nothing solidifies a memory more than trying to forget it. When a trauma occurs, the brain is hyper-active, and in its overwhelmed state, it takes more detailed notes of the event than it would of our normal coffee shop interaction or half-smile at a stranger on the street. It notes the abnormality, the shocking different-ness. It doesn't just log the time on the wall, but the colors of the clock, the size of the time markings, the light hitting the aluminum, and the deathly pace at which the seconds tic by. The clock that would normally go unnoticed becomes a museum piece, every inch examined and studied. 

The mind tries to protect us. To warn us- trauma is coming, trauma is coming. The unconscious brain is screaming, "this week is going to be hard, you need to take a minute." But our stubborn nature, absolutely determined to forget, squashes the breath out of those warnings. Pride tricks us into thinking we can do it all on our own. Or at least mine did. 

This year on April 26, I woke up alone, in my apartment , on a normal Wednesday. I took a shower, put on my clothes, ran downstairs to grab a coffee, and took the subway to work the same way I do every day. This year, it felt like just another day. For the first time, the unimaginable weight of that date dissipated a bit. There was not a desperate need to run from NY, but rather, an inadvertent compulsion to stay. To love and live in the place that I fought to keep as home.. the pattern of running away, broken.  

I had so many ideas about where my life would be three years later. About what I might be doing, who I might be walking with. And at the same time, I wondered how I would be here at all. How I would ever live a normal life again. How April 26th would ever just be another day to me. 

But then the day just existed in all its newness. The same way every day does. Its innate newness provided an approachability. 

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." - Ps 30:5

You might be thinking, 'ok, but April 26th was six months ago- what about those 180 days?' 

Oh sweet friend, I can't wait to tell you about those days one day. Because I believe that those days will speak to God's absolute, unconditional, grace giving, soul electrifying, bring you to your knees in gratitude, love in a way I can't yet fully comprehend. But for now, I have to finish what I started over a year ago- 

So when you next hear from me, we'll be back to the 52 day journey; poetically (simply because I love the number 3) walking into day 30 together. 

 

See you soon and all my love,

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me too : NOT ME

10/16/17

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I've had a post written for months that was meant to be my, "I'm back to blogging" post. The one that explains where I've been, what I've been doing, why I stopped writing for so long... It's eloquent and well crafted. Thoughtful and gracious. Planned. 

This midnight-on-a-Monday post is not planned. It is not well thought out, nor is it gracious. It's not going to be published at the same time as the others, on schedule, so that it breeds consistency among a small contingent of regular readers. No. It is raw. It is unfiltered. It is too tired to be trimmed and proofed. It is born out of an inability to sleep caused by the earth shattering reality of seeing hundreds of "me too's" across my Facebook page- a small handful of thousands splashed across the internet.

This is the symptom of my head spinning, my mind racing, and my heart beating out of my chest in anger and frustration. I feel physical vertigo. My body feels what this world is- upside down. 

What I'm reading does not shock me. The number of "me too's." Statistics say 1 in 4. I think statistics have largely underestimated the magnitude of the problem. I don't think we are 1 in 4. I'd guess we are much closer to 1 in 3. Maybe even 1 in 2. When I think of the women in my life - let's say the 25 girls closest to me - counting the number of them who haven't been sexually assaulted takes about 10 seconds, because that number is so relatively small. 

The scale of Harvey Weinstein's abuse should not surprise us. I once read that if a predator is never caught, he can have 200 victims in his lifetime. Consider that 68% of sexual assaults are never reported. Currently, 28 women have come forward in the Weinstein case. In Bill Cosby's case, 58 women have come forward. So applying simple math- those 28 and 58 women represent the 32% of reported cases against these two men. In Weinstein's case, the 68% not reported = 59.5. In Cosby's, the 68% = 123.5. If you add the reported and suspected unreported, Weinstein could have 87 victims and Cosby 181... all of a sudden, a predator having 200 victims in his lifetime doesn't seem so implausible or shocking.

These are scary statistics. They are daunting. They are infuriating. And if this last week's news cycle and flood of social media posts teach us anything, I pray it is that we can no longer ignore the problem. We can no longer pretend that the objectification and sexual assault of women is not our societal norm. These women brave enough to identify themselves in the "me too" category are not jumping on a bandwagon- we are not doing something because it is trending... we are raising our voices against the injustice that has persisted for far too long. We are fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. And we are demanding change so that future girls can say "NOT ME.” 

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PS- if you're new and need context, this is how I ARISE began... just keep clicking the links under "newer post" on the bottom left to follow along in chronological order

PPS- the pretty "I'm back to blogging" post is coming shortly - from there, it's game on because being passive in the fight is no longer an option. 

Happy New Year! 2017 - Triumphant : a girl, her granny, and a car

Hey sweet friends, 

It's been a while, huh? I must admit - the holidays got the better of me. But with a New Year, comes new invigoration - yeah, yeah, we should have it all year round. But I'd be lying to myself (and you) if I said that -wait for it- the NEWNESS that a new year brings doesn't inspire me to be more intentional, set new goals, and begin again with fresh vision... because it totally does! 

Last week in London, we happened to park our car right in front of an old Triumph. My Granny used to drive an old Triumph. Eithne was a lady that I didn't know very well before she passed away - but to me, there's always been something a little magical about her. On my adventure to Ireland, I stopped a distant relative in their tracks due to my uncanny resemblance to a young Granny. In some old photos from an album that gets passed between Irish relatives constantly, I saw it. The baby fat cheeks, the big smile. My Granny grew into a very proper, English lady - but I recognize in her a spirit about life that lives in me. I get the feeling that were we to have a conversation today, lady to (almost) lady, we'd see each other's souls in one another. I also get the feeling - scratch that- I can assure you, that she would shudder at the above emotional rambling! 

My granny, Eithne 

My granny, Eithne 

Anyway - enough blabbing. The name of the car struck me- triumph. My mind looked at my spirit and said, "there's your word for 2017 - triumphant." Triumphant; feeling or expressing jubilation after having won a victory or mastered a difficulty. What if I approach everything this year with a triumphant attitude? (Even the new difficulties life will undoubtedly bring.) What if I expect a win? I know the battle is already won. ->"in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world."-John 16:33- what would my life look like if I LIVED like it? Well, I'll keep ya posted.

If I'm honest, I've got no clue what exactly 2017 holds for I ARISE. I've definitely got some ideas, dreams, and collaborations brewing, but how they'll all pan out remains to be seen - the best part about it will be the adventure - and no adventure would be complete without my trusty companions...you! 

So to begin the new year, I want to give a massive thank you for being along for the ride last year - Cheers to a TRIUMPHANT 2017 - the best is yet to come! 

Thanks for walking with me,