For the past few months, I've opened this page multiple times with full intention to pour my words into a new blog. I have even written entire pieces only to hold back on posting right at the last minute. For some reason, something has been stopping me. A long, intense case of writer's block you could say, or something much bigger and deeper.
2016 was the most unusual year of my life. I walked down paths I have never before taken. I experienced things, which were once foreign to me, that left me awestruck, grievous and pained all at the same time.
It was all the ugly and wonderful things, all at once.
Nevertheless, I closed out 2016 exhausted, and feeling as though I had just walked out of the longest, hardest battle of my life.
And as I sat down to write about the lessons, experiences and achievements - I couldn't.
The author was left without words, and worse yet, the passion and motivation to pursue my art was gone.
I felt lost and out of touch with myself, disconnected to the very essence of where the words are birthed.
My heart and my soul.
Finally, I began to admit what it was, this thing that was keeping me from connecting with myself. I began to press into the dark hole I was trying so hard to repress and ignore, and anxiously attempt to prove to myself that I was stronger than what was going on inside of me.
Deep, deep pain.
My heart was broken, but in a way I had never before known.
My heart was broken by having my first real taste of death and the unspeakable pain that brings knowing you will never again see that beloved individual on this side of heaven.
My heart was broken because for two years I poured myself out for someone I truly loved, who I know desperately needed to be loved and yet, love was not enough. It wasn't enough to heal all of her wounds, and put her so badly broken pieces together. In the end, it was the classic scenario of a hurting person, hurting others, pushing away the very people that love them the most, resulting in me feeling like a most worthless failure.
I would sit in the chair in my living room, the room with the front facing windows that bring in cool breezes and the most beautiful views of hummingbirds gathering nectar from my hibiscus bushes, where I sit every morning, drinking my coffee, totally unable to bring myself to open my journal.
And in the midst of all of this, as I was pulsating with foreign feelings of undiscovered pain, I forgot how to talk to God.
For as long as I can remember my biggest fear has always been failure. So, when facing what I have believed as my most epic failure yet - I haven't known how to process it. How to press in and allow myself to fully understand it all.
This evening, as I was riding a moto back to my home, I noticed a man crossing the street with two crooked feet that were turned fully inward. I watched him as he crossed and my heart immediately wished I could do something for him, until I realized what was happening.
Why did I immediately have the desire to help someone I don't even know? Someone who has learned to live in this world in spite of his disability? Do I want to help him sincerely, or because of a certain sense of accomplishment I believe I will gain?
Why do I have this heart that causes me to feel feelings on a level so deep, it can sometimes be debilitating?
Have I helped others out of pure and true motives, or from a place in need of affirmation and appreciation?
Does my fear of failure correlate with also needing the love, acceptance and validation of others?
These thoughts and questions that I've allowed myself to think and ask recently have brought revelations, which have slowly begun to unveil the source of the brokenness and pain that has kept me feeling numb for longer than I wished to recognize.
There are two types of people in this world:
1. The people who see the world through the lens of the ugly things. They allow the ugliness to taint their vision and perceptions, thus shaping their reality with a very strong bend toward pessimism and distrust.
2. The people who see the world through the rose colored glasses of all the wonderful things. These are the idealistic, sanguine, "happily ever after" kind of folks. The ones who always find the sunshine after the rain, and the rainbows behind the clouds.
But, here's the thing, we have to accept both.
All things are not ugly, and coincidentally, they are not always wonderful either.
They coexist in a marriage of bitter and sweet, beauty and ashes, and wonder and pain.
In order to live a life fully aware and in touch with yourself and humanity, with the ability to empathize and relate, while still maintaining healthy boundaries and finding time to take care of yourself, you have to press into the ugly things and embrace the wonderful.
I wanted to see only the wonderful.
I wanted so badly to convince myself that the ugly was only there intermittently, and that the ache in my heart was fleeting.
I wanted to believe that my love had the power to heal and put broken things back together.
I wanted to runaway from anything that made me feel weak and powerless.
And at the end of the day, I was allowing myself to believe in a heinous case of lies.
To face the truth I had to face myself, but face myself in a way that is altogether uncomfortable and dissonant.
I had to be willing to go deep and examine the source of my pain, and realize that I am a complicated, flawed, broken individual myself.
My love comes from a place that is tarnished and tattered, tainted and disillusioned. It is impossible to love perfectly when you yourself are imperfect.
We love out of our own need to be loved.
We love in the ways we want to receive love.
We love in patterns we believe will fix and heal us.
And in the end, on our own, we will never be perfect, we will be failures.
The most startling discovery I've had along my path to self-enlightenment, and acknowledgement of my inabilities, was how incredibly freeing it is to allow yourself to admit that you majorly screwed up. In realizing that you probably made some gargantuan mistakes, and left irreparable wounds. Recognizing the weight of your weakness and admitting that you too are in need of reconstruction.
When you shed the weight of convincing yourself of the ludicrous notion of your perfection, you begin to make peace with who you've run away from for so long. The parts of you you so desperately try to hide and tuck away. When those begin to reconcile with your pride, you can find the beauty within the cracks and crevices of the secret places you wish to conceal.
The ugly must dance with the wonderful.
Life brings you a bouquet of that which does not make sense blended together with the most beautiful fragrance of joy and wonder.
I witnessed the miracle of life for the first time in person, and mourned the death of a dear friend the very next day.
A beautiful new season was starting to unfold, while another one was abruptly and painfully coming to a close.
The juxtaposition of the tragically beautiful ugly and wonderful things.
I'm not a hero, a savior, or a saint.
I am very broken and messy person who is trying to make a very tiny corner of the world a better place, loving others in the midst of their messy brokenness - and sometimes that gets chaotic and intense.
The best part of this new and daunting season I am in of being real and truly honest with myself is that this is the time when God comes so near.
When I quit all the hogwash and let Him love me and all of my stench and disappointments.
Where He gets to clean me up and put me back together.
When I learn that His love is the only love that heals, and the only one that brings restoration, reconciliation and redemption.
Because His heart won't stop coming after me, even when I fall prey to this insanity of masquerading as though I have it all figured out.
He gets to show me the ugly and the wonderful, and how He can make it all work together in a beautiful, harmonious melody.
All at once.
And as the chorus hums, and the peace begins to flow, the words come back, the quietness returns to my heart and I know that within my sensitive, over-caring heart, there is a pure love that He put there, and that love is a light that has to keep being shared.
Despite the pain.
Despite the disappointment.
Despite the moments of failure.
All the ugly and wonderful things, bring forth a beautiful, imperfect masterpiece handcrafted by the Creator.