Monday, June 21, 2010
Up until Noelle was born, I spent the better part of my adult life trying to figure out what was wrong with me. No matter how hard I tried and what tactics I used, I could not seem to break out of this cycle of discontent and depression. About 7 years ago I found myself on the carpet in my den crying my eyes out - begging God to tell me why I was so broken.
It wasn’t the first time I found myself on the floor of that room. It had been a nightly ritual for about a month. The den was dark, we had painted it a deep, deep navy blue and it had bright white trim around the still standing original doorway and windows. The den was a last minute, somewhat shabby add-on to the existing house. I don’t even think it the heating system reached it properly. But I liked it. It was warm and comforting. It wasn’t depressing or cave-like because it had 3 huge windows that we covered in white IKEA shades.
During my nightly ritual, after I put my baby to sleep, I would cocoon myself up in a huge white quilted featherbed. I would play soft music on my CD player and pray. On this particular night, I was overwhelmingly sad. The feeling was so concrete, so intense that it felt like an illness had crept into my body and started eating away my mind and my nerves. I was confused, disoriented and so terribly sad. I couldn’t find any clarity. I just didn’t know why I felt this way. Every part of me seemed to be shaken. I even lost the words to pray.
Depression was not new to me; I have struggled with it for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I could name the triggers, like when my Father passed away, but for the most part I couldn’t. There were times when I was on top of the world, when I had everything that I wanted and before I could enjoy the fruits of my labor – , “Good Morning Heartache, here we go again.”
That night in my den, it all came to a crashing head. I didn’t care about all that was going wrong. I didn’t care that Jon just lost his job. I didn’t care that our car got repo-ed or that we were about to lose our house because of a scam. I knew that those things really weren’t at the root of my pain. And to be honest, I knew we would survive. I had been chasing things and status (if you want to call it that), because I thought those were the things that would make me feel complete – make me feel better about my self. Ease the feelings of dissatisfaction and inadequacy. That night I realized the truth was that it didn’t matter what I had or didn’t have. What I lacked was an understanding about myself. That is why I cried out, “I cannot live like this. I don’t care about houses or cars or things. If things never change for me – I want to be satisfied. I just want to be able to lay my head on my pillow in peace. God show me…ME.”
I got up from that prayer. I wiped my tears. I climbed our creaky steps into my orange- supposed to be terra cotta bedroom and I went to sleep. At least I tried. I tossed and turned as usual and woke up just as drained and sad as the night before. But a seed was planted. A truth that quietly, but steadily pushed through over the course of the next seven years.
Every major event, every challenge, every tragedy and success showed me who I was. I both loved and hated the journey. Facades and pretenses I didn’t even realize existed were being chipped away, like a sculptor chips away at a cold hard formless block of marble or ice. Yet, as the façades and pretenses, and every thing big or small that really didn’t express who I was fell away, a pretty strong, smart and resilient woman started to emerge. The funny thing – she wasn’t a stranger to me at all. I knew her well. She was all the dreams I had as a girl - dreams that had all grown up. Dreams about music,writing and beauty. Dreams about love, family and friendship. I have it all.
I was never broken and I was never lost. The whole complete me was always there, I just needed to be re-discovered. I just needed to remember.
Life re- introduced me to myself. I thank God for it every single day.
Photo Courtesy of Dan: Please visit if you would like to see more.