Truth Crusades

My head and my heart are in what feels like constant war, as in opposing magnets on opposite sides of a spectrum, consistently contradicting one another to the near point of absolute insanity. This could also be known as anxiety but I wanted to be descriptive in order to drive the point home, to paint the picture of anatomical organs jousting to a bitter end. This battle usually takes place within my stomach thus ensuing relentless stomach pains and strange physical ailments without any tangible explanation. Sometimes the battle takes place in my shoulders or back, too, but nine times out of ten, my gut will take the brunt of the attack.

Early on, I learned that it is my responsibility to ensure everyone is happy, that par for the course I give until I have nothing left to give and even then, I can’t stop. My brain is so angered by this selflessness, understanding that such action leaves me vulnerable and open to being taken advantage of. Thus, I am left feeling utterly drained. My heart explains that it’s my duty to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to whomever is in need of it even if said person is not going to believe the truth. In the case of denial of the truth, I must not give up my duty in making said person understand. Again, my brain becomes enraged because cognitively, the idea that I have to deliver truth like I’m a part of the fucking truth crusade when that truth is being repeatedly rejected is insanity in and of itself!

All of my heart’s irrationalities are centered on this idea of never feeling like I am enough. You didn’t try hard enough. That person believes something false so you must be a terrible person for allowing that to happen. If you loved hard enough then this person would never believe such a fabricated narrative. This person is hurting so it must be your fault. If you had tried harder then said person wouldn’t be hurting.

Lest you fickle fucking heart forget about your own fucking feelings, shouts my brain from the rooftops!

But one of the people who gave me life, who made my heart beat, hated his life so I must not be good enough, replies my heart.

Well, then, what’s the point in even fucking trying, my dismayed brain, seemingly defeated, asks.

It’s fucking madness!

Amongst the battle, I am diligently working to change this narrative, so not to be a product of such conflicting, untrue, and unproductive thoughts and emotions. I am working to break the cycle so to speak. For the sake of my well-being, I can no longer be host to this war zone. Sometimes, my brain has valid points and sometimes, my heart does. I need both my brain and my heart to work together, to dwell in harmony, and compliment one another. I’m not sure how to get to said harmony but I know I’m on my way and at the end of the day, I believe it’s more about the journey than it is the destination.

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Sundown, Moon Rise

I pray sometimes. To whom? To what? I am unsure. I call it the Universe but maybe it is God, maybe it is some sort of higher power. The Universe and Mother Nature are higher powers in my eyes but the point is I pray sometimes. Does it help me? I can’t honestly say that it does. I think it’s something organized religion imposed upon society to make us sleep better at night and feel better about all of the so-called sins we commit on a daily basis. But that’s just me. In no way is this follow up a judgment upon other people’s beliefs.

I still don’t believe in luck – I really never have. Sure, I use the expressions, “I was lucky” or “You’re so lucky,” but I’ve never believed in coincidences and for someone to be lucky implies such happenstance. There are no accidents in this life – I wish I could say there were because God (or the Universe) knows how much I despise that exhausted expression that, “everything happens for a reason.” Alas, it does and whether we know and/or like the reason is an entirely different story.

Interestingly enough, I just returned from a six-day trip to my hometown of Kansas City where religion and praying and God are everywhere – even the local diner! I have complete respect for people’s beliefs except for when said people try and shove their beliefs down my throat. I love living in a country that is built on an idealistic foundation of diversity and acceptance. These ideals aren’t obviously well received or practiced in all corners of this country but the concept is there and well practiced in many places like the place I call home, Los Angeles, and we have to begin somewhere.

I am grateful for parents who never forced me to attend church but left the choice up to me, a mother who expressed her experiences and aversion with organized religion but never made me feel bad for being curious. I’ve attended Catholic mass on Christmas Eve, fell asleep in the fetal position of a pew at a Midwest, mostly white congregation of a Baptist church, pretended to feel the holy spirit at a Methodist worship service, ran out of a predominantly black Baptist church into the cold, winter night due to an anxiety attack, and been told I’m going to Hell unless I ask Jesus into my heart. This all resulted in the formation of my own spiritual beliefs – beliefs that allow me to feel peace in my soul and resonate on a higher level for me than monotonously singing Christian hymns ever did.

After lying next to death, my spirituality wavered. I began to lose a lot of faith in everything including some lifelong convictions and myself. Thankfully, spirituality is also what picked me up after so much loss, what taught me that the loss and the disappointment are worth it most of the time. My mother used to repeatedly iterate, “the price of love is grief,” and that couldn’t be a truer statement. But, I would much rather love and lose than never love at all. I would much rather experience the grief if it means I get to experience the joy, the butterflies, and the connections. And if all I’m left with are great memories, then it’s worth it.

I still want something of substance to last longer than most things in my life have. That is a sentiment I can only describe as human. I am constantly telling myself, “Life is too short. Go for what you want, Linds. Ask for what you want. Take initiative.” Lives are so full of regrets and while this may be unavoidable, having a life full of chances taken and an abundance of loss is a life well lived and precisely the true story I intend to tell even in my death.

A Righteous Revival

I once laid in bed with death, right next to it – our skins touching, my body’s warmth against its eerie absent-like coolness and my weary head upon its betraying shoulder. I managed to whisper a few nonsensical words to its deaf ears and shed a few tears in its unwelcome and untimely presence. I once vowed my life – the one I’m living right now – for better or for worse, in sickness and in health to another living, breathing human being in the attendance of other living, breathing human beings. I once allowed death to fool me into longing for its bittersweet company but I’m still living that life. I no longer vow it to anyone – not another human being, not even death – only my self.

I just want something to last longer than I, I thought to myself as I stepped into the…

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Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. (Follow-up)

Follow up to “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

I can see that not much has changed in way of the loneliness – and not the kind of loneliness that comes from being single because two years ago, when I wrote “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop,” I was in a relationship. It’s the kind of loneliness that lives inside me, that’s prevalent in times when I am unable to show my love or when I’ve had limited human contact. It’s that loneliness that I didn’t know existed until my mother was diagnosed with cancer and I knew her last breath was coming sooner than later. It is the vast, gaping hole in my heart that will never be anything else but a void now that she’s gone.

Thankfully, I no longer view the acknowledgement of my loneliness as weak. In fact, if I view it as anything aside from its face value, I view it as strength. I know that only when I allow myself to feel the negative emotions, when I’m not just trying to avoid or suppress with temporary distractions, only then can I begin to put the loneliness in its proper place and begin to heal.

The anger I speak of has always been present since I was a very young child. Its very core stems from my dad’s emotional absence and if I’m being honest, the guilt I feel over not missing him as much is probably more about the narrative that I tell about him: My dad was a drug addict and an alcoholic. When I was sixteen that was accurate. I’m all grown up now, though, and I know there was much more to my father than prescription pills and booze. He was a complex character as I’ve described in a handful of my blogs, but for some reason, even today, I find myself telling the narrative: He was a drug addict and an alcoholic. If I’m being gentle with myself, this is probably because so much of his affect on my life was centered around his addictions and his failures. He failed me in such a profound way that continues to be a part of who I am today and of the decisions that I make, especially the subconscious ones. I am still certain that if my dad was still around today, we could have had built a better relationship than the one we had for twenty-six years.

Unconditional love – I no longer have a difficult time believing that not many are capable of it. In fact, I know that not many are and this may quite possibly be one of the revelations that people perceive the bitterness from. It’s still heartbreaking but at least I’m realistic now, rather than hopeful. Hope is such a bitch – she’s so necessary but she often disappoints.

The inability to show love because the person on the receiving end is either not open to it or completely uninvolved in the relationship has led to a widespread disconnect from many people who were once considered a part of my life. It took me awhile to realize a lot of my loneliness was being triggered by a multitude of one-sided relationships I was actively participating in. Being a part of my life does not mean sitting in the outfield waiting for me to throw you the ball only to drop it and leave the game mid play. I’ve stopped throwing the ball because it’s the only way I’m going to find myself in the types of relationships, platonic and romantic, that I deserve to be a part of.

I’ll leave you with a quote that has resonated with me since the day I read it by the late, admirable Robin Williams.

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A Righteous Revival

My solo nights frequently consist of excessive activity of the mind, involving my mother’s untimely absence and the ceaseless longing to speak with her. I mull over the details of my days, politics, gender issues, race inequality, economics, you name it, there is something within every subject that I find the desire to chew over with my mama, to gain some of her poignant wisdom albeit good enough just to hear her voice.

The inability to do so more often than not leads to an overwhelming sensation of loneliness and this loneliness has a tendency to manifest itself into a physical and emotional need due to the manner in which I react. The needy feelings turn into anxiety and the anxiety into anger. Thus, a sad, sleepless night ensues – That, or a sweat-induced, nightmare plaguing eight hours. The anger stems from an inner battle where I chastise myself for…

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Perfect Stranger

I’m trying something new for the next couple of weeks – I’ve been writing A Righteous Revival for the past three years and I’d like to feature some past stories. With some of my re-blogs, I’m going to include follow ups as in what has changed since the first time this particular blog was posted. Tonight, I give you “Perfect Stranger,” a recount of the day I lost my father to his battle with cancer, one of the saddest, life changing moments in my life.

A Righteous Revival

I was sitting solemnly on one of the numerous staircases of Grand Central Terminal’s main hall, my head heavily resting in my right hand and elbows upon my knees.  I wasn’t admiring the intricately designed ceilings or patiently waiting for my transportation to arrive.  I was people watching and anyone who has ever been to Grand Central knows that it is quintessentially one of the sole greatest places on earth to do such a thing.  Not only was I watching the people hurriedly come and go but I was preoccupied with thoughts on what their lives were presently like – I was focusing on the simple fact that we all have a story to tell and I was wondering what each of their stories was.  Moreover, I was curious as to what each of his or her struggle was – what each individual was fraught with.

My particular struggle that…

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Open Books and Carry-on Baggage

I wish I could say that I’m just now learning or that this next part is news to me but if I’m going to be honest, then it is being brought to my attention again would be a more accurate description of the fact that I cannot talk to everyone. Not everyone gives a shit nor does everyone listen without passing judgment. There are countless times when I can utter these words but particularly in this case, I can say with great emphasis, I miss my mother so much.

I could speak to my mama about anything and everything. I could do so confidently, securely and without feeling like I wanted to take back everything I just revealed to her afterward as I have felt with so many others. It doesn’t take rocket science to notice that I am an open book and I often wear my heart on my sleeve, and I do so with candor, humility, and frequent eagerness.

I think this could stem all the way back to that “golden rule” that was drilled into me from a young age, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” I suppose it’s also the idealist in me believing that everyone will respect my willingness to share, will see that my intentions come from a pure and almost childlike place. As I admit that, I immediately call bullshit, the inner voice viciously scolding my naïvete.

Some of which I choose to share are things that most thirty-one year olds have never experienced. And some of the things I choose to share are choices I made that maybe I’m not necessarily proud of but by no means, do I regret. I rarely ever give myself credit where credit is due but in the last few months I have begun learning how to do so and I’m not about to let someone’s insecurities or fears spoil my progress. Simply put, I have to work on remembering that I owe no one a single explanation for why I do the shit I do or why I did the shit I’ve done.

My past is my past. I come with lots of heavy baggage, baggage that most people my age have yet to experience the weight of. I find it incredibly sad that so many are so quick to judge having never carried around an ounce of what I have carried. So many are so willing to dismiss me simply because I exceed the maximum allotment for a carry-on.

Today on my way home from work I was almost side swiped by a car. My take out tacos went flying across the seat landing on the ground as my brakes stalled my vehicle just in time to avoid a wreck. I escaped thankfully unscathed, though wholly shaken. I needed someone to empathize and tell me it was okay – That I was okay. I crave days gone by when I could pick up the phone, dial my mama’s number and confidently confide in her knowing full well that when we got off the phone, my carry-on might just receive the green light – at least for this flight.

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