Author Archives: Beautifully Polarized

About Beautifully Polarized

Life is ever changing. God is working in me more everyday. He has blessed me with a husband who is my best friend in every aspect of life, and three children who teach me about life and love everyday. He has blessed me further with friends who help me get through the rough days, and laugh with me on the good days. And, I believe He gave me the best mom a girl could ask for. He has also given me trials so that I can grow into the person He intended me to be. Walking with Him makes life in this world bearable.

I want to be…

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Better.

I think that’s the bottom line. I want to be better in so many ways. A better wife. A better mom. A better friend. A better counselor. A better Christian.

Better.

More fit. More outgoing. More organized. More energetic.

More.

Do you ever feel that way? Like you’re not enough? Like what you’re doing isn’t enough? Do you ever feel like you’re just not quite living up to your own expectations?

I don’t mean this in a ‘oh I’m a terrible loser’ kind of way. I simply mean that I have this drive within me to be better. To thrive and not just survive. I have this desire within me to be a person who exudes love and who emulates Jesus. I want to be selfless in such a way that it builds me up as well as others.

But somehow, I don’t see myself being this person right now. I see a person who is too inwardly focused. I see a person who is bogged down with life. I see a person who must live within the confounds of a limited capacity.

For many years, I gave and gave and gave without realizing that it was too much. I didn’t realize that it was out of balance and that I was ignoring my own needs. But then, when personal crisis hit, I was forced to completely pull back and focus solely on myself. That’s hard for a giver, but I had no choice. Several years later, I’m ready to find some sort of balance. It can’t look like it used to, where I ignore my own needs. But doing for others is what has always come naturally for me, so that’s what I want to get back to on a more regular basis.

This is what I want to do. But there is a problem. It still overwhelms me. Life still overwhelms me. Stress unravels me. Many times, just getting through the day is all I can do. I have a hard time understanding this. How can this still be the case? How can it have been so long, yet I’m still so limited? Will things ever feel more normal? Will I ever move closer toward the person I once was?

Will I ever be better?

Here’s the truth. There is a balance that I can find. There will be ebbs and flows along the way. Sometimes I will be able to do more than other times. And that’s ok. I just have to remind myself that it’s ok. I have to remind myself that I am on the right track to being the best I can be. And if I’m not at my best everyday, that doesn’t make me a failure. It makes me human.

So, I’ll keep trying to be better, because that’s important to me. But I’ll do it in such a way that it’s healthy and uplifting. That’s a better way to live.

Soul Sadness

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This is going to be real and raw and heavy.

Somewhere deep within me is a sadness that is embedded into my soul. I can’t explain it, I just know it’s there. I feel it almost every second of every day. It doesn’t leave me but for short snippets of time. I carry on with my days. I smile. I laugh. No one knows the sadness I carry unless I tell them it’s there.

I hide it well.

But it weighs me down. It nags at me, begging me to deal with it. I want so badly to share it someone. I want to tell someone about it. But not just anyone. I want someone who can sit with me and really understand. I want someone who can sit with me and really listen. Really empathize. Really feel what I’m saying. I need this.

I need it.

It isn’t enough to just briefly tell someone in passing that I’m sad. It isn’t enough. A quick conversation or text message isn’t going to help. An effort to cheer me up or a ‘look on the bright side’ moment won’t do the trick. I feel desperately alone and I need someone to walk alongside me.

I feel as though I don’t belong here. The person I’m looking for doesn’t exist except in the person of Jesus. And though He is with me in spirit, I still long to be with him in a more tangible way. I want to be with Him, not here.

Not here.

I’ve tried so hard to overcome this sadness, but it still plagues me. I wonder what I’m doing wrong. Is there something I’m holding onto that keeps me from being happier? Is there something I’m doing that causes the sadness to linger? I don’t know. I don’t think so, but maybe I’m wrong.

There are days when it’s clear to me why God chose me for this life. For this illness. And then there are days when I have no idea why. There are days when I don’t understand why I’m sad so much of the time. I try not to let guilt pile on top of it, but it’s hard. I try not to fall in the ‘should’ trap. Because I should be happy.

But I’m not.

And I don’t know why.

And I don’t know if what I feel is a normal way for a Christian to feel or if it crosses the line into something unhealthy. I just know that I want to be with Jesus. More than anything. But at the same time, I have this awareness that my work here isn’t done, so it isn’t time.

Somehow I have to reconcile the sadness and the waiting. I don’t want to live a sad life. But I don’t understand happy people sometimes. How are they so happy? I don’t get it. I wish I did.

Oh, how I wish I did.

Backwards

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Sometimes being bipolar is so confusing. Things seem to be backwards for me. It seems that the less sleep I get, the more energy I have. And when I get plenty of sleep, I am tired and sluggish.

When I get less sleep, I have greater focus. I’m able to accomplish things that I typically couldn’t. I am driven. But when I sleep like I’m supposed to, I tend to feel depressed and lack motivation. I can’t seem to muster the energy to accomplish things.

This makes no sense. It’s backwards. This is how bipolar affects me. And I’ll tell you something – it doesn’t make me inclined to want to take care of myself the way I’m supposed.

I don’t want to get enough sleep. I feel better when I don’t. And I’ve kind of learned that I can manipulate it to some degree. I can choose to get up early and stay up late. I can choose to work nonstop throughout the day, which energizes me even more. It makes me feel like the energizer bunny. I keep going and going and going…

So what’s the incentive to practice good sleep hygiene? I honestly don’t know right now. Truly. I understand the risks involved. I understand it could develop into something I don’t want to deal with. But maybe I can control that to some degree too? Maybe I can ward that off if I start to see those signs. Maybe I can stay in the sweet spot. Or maybe it’s all wishful thinking and it’s too good to be true. Maybe after a few days of feeling great I will crash and burn.

I don’t know.

What I do know is that I’m overwhelmed right now and I have too much to do to be tired and sluggish. So for now, if I wake up at 5:00 AM, I’m getting up and getting to work. And if I’m not sleepy at midnight, I’ll keep working. Well, ok. Maybe midnight will be my cutoff.

This is a tough disorder to live with. It’s a constant balancing act, and one that constantly changes. Once you find something that works, you stick with it, but it only seems to work for a certain period of time before things begin to get out of balance again. I guess for now limited sleep may be what I need. Or not. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Welcome to my world.

The Two of Them

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It wasn’t too long ago that they were both so little.  One pink, one blue.  She, spunky and stubborn.  He, quiet and calm.  They grew together.  She was protective of him, her little brother.  They were a pair, the two of them. 

I can still see them, her in her Power Puff Girls nightgown, him with his Darth Vader light saber.  I can still see their silly hairdos on crazy hair day and their cowboy hats at the rodeo.  I can still see her as Minnie, him as Mickey.  Her as a cheerleader, him as a football.  They were a duo, the two of them.

As they grew older, they grew to be the best of friends.  They laugh and joke with each other.  The confide in each other.  They go to each other for help.  This is a mother’s greatest joy, to see her children love one another.  They have such a special relationship, the two of them.

The two of them. 

Close in heart, yet far apart.  No one told me my heart could be stretched like this.  Her six hours away, him 9 in the opposite direction.  15 hours separate them, and I feel every minute of it.  Today, the two of them will start school.  She, a junior, he a freshman.  In college.

The two of them.  In college.  How?  They should still be asking for cheerios and sippy cups.  They should still be resting their heads on my shoulder, yet somehow, they are hours apart, making their own ways in the world and my heart is stretched thin between the two of them.

But no matter how grown they get, I will always see the little girl and boy holding hands and navigating childhood together, the two of them.

Nomads

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The last several weeks haven’t gone as we had planned. If we had had it our way, we would have left our last home, done our traveling, and moved right into our new home.

As planned.

But, that’s not the way it has gone down. At all. It’s been one delay after another, it seems. And here we are, seven weeks after arriving in our new city, still homeless.

Definitely not as planned.

The first few weeks were fine because we had a place all lined up for us to stay. After that, though, things began to get a little hairy. We couldn’t find another place to stay. Nothing. We couldn’t find anything. How is that possible? I don’t know, but it’s what we were up against.

Luckily for us, we have very gracious family and friends who have welcomed us into their homes and have allowed us to stay with them while we wait. And that’s no small favor. There are a lot of us and we have a lot of stuff. We are a disruption to their lives, to say the least.

As I’ve been frustrated and grumbling about the situation and upset that things just aren’t working out, I’ve tried to remind myself along the way that God has taken care of us throughout this whole ordeal. I’ve tried to remember to be thankful and grateful and not complain. I’ve probably failed more than I’ve succeeded, but I’ve tried.

This morning, I read a devotional that really helped put things into perspective for me. It isn’t about life here on earth. It’s about what’s to come. What seems like major turmoil now is really no big deal at all. And not only that, but God has not let us suffer too much through it all. He has made sure we have been taken care of. We’ve never spent a night on the street or gone hungry. We are fine, even if we may be uncomfortable for a moment or two.

My point is, I have to remember to keep my eyes on eternal things and not earthly things. So I’m not in my house yet. So what! It doesn’t matter. So I can’t work because my license hasn’t come in yet. So what! It will come in time.

For now, I’ll keep living my nomadic lifestyle until it’s time to move into my own home. And I’ll keep being thankful for my family and friends who love us enough to take us in. And I’ll keep being thankful for my God to never forgets about me.

Green Eyes

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Green eyes looking back at me, rich with a story I didn’t even know I needed to tell. Glistening from the tears you shed. You speak pain. But what pain? What is the pain? Where does it come from? What is it about? I feel it, but I’m not sure what it is. I don’t know how to express it. I don’t know where the hurt lies or where it comes from.

But the eyes know. You know.

You stare back at me, willing me to understand. You cry out from behind your glassiness. You know the emptiness I feel. You feel it, too. If only you could speak, you could tell them what you know. But you can’t.

You can’t, so the pain just gets tucked away. Stuck. Stuck deep inside somewhere that even I can’t find it at times. It troubles me. It kicks and screams at times. It boils inside me. The pain. It knows it can’t live in there, hidden away forever. Yet, still it doesn’t come to the surface.

It stays buried to some degree. It stays so that it’s always a part of me. It stays behind those green eyes. And even though you know, you don’t betray what you know. You keep the secret. Even from me, the keeper of the eyes.

How can that be? How can I be the home for the eyes and the pain but still not understand it? How can I still not know? How can I still not be able to explain it?

I want to. I so badly want to tell them what hurts. I want to share it with them. I want to bring it all out into the light. To expose it. If I could, maybe the pain wouldn’t be so great. Maybe it would release its hold on me. Maybe the pain that pierces through my green eyes would turn into something else.

Maybe.

Maybe I’ll never know. Maybe I’m not meant to understand. This pain. What does it want from me? Green eyes, can’t you tell me what you know? Can’t you help me understand?

Green eyes.

You’re not always here, bright and staring back at me. It’s the green that knows. Not the brown, nor the hazel. It’s the green. You’re the one that knows the pain. You’re the one that keeps the secret. I know you. When I see you, I know you see me, too. You let the sadness leak out. The others hold it in. The hazel and the brown. But you, green, you’re the brave one. You let the sadness be seen.

Green eyes. I see you looking back at me, wanting to tell your story, wanting to share your secret. Bring it to the light, green. Don’t hide anymore. Be free. Share with me what you know so I can be free, too.

Set us free, green eyes.

Anchor Dr

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I took my final walk through the empty house.  A single tear rolled down my cheek.  More threatened, but I was holding them back, though not sure for how long.  I had already cried on the drive to the house and knew I would cry once I got back in my car.  But for now, I would hold myself together.

“Why is this so hard?  It’s just a house,” I keep telling myself.  But is it?  No, not really.  To me, it was our first real home.  It was the first place of which we really took ownership.  We built it.  Our name is written in the concrete of the pool deck.  Our dog is buried in the backyard.  We baptized two of our children in the swimming pool.  We renewed our vows under the trees in the front yard.  Memories.

When we moved in, the kids were 12, 10 and 4.  Now, they are 20, 18 and 12.  Two of them learned to drive here.  They graduated high school here.  They are adults now and no longer living at home.  They grew up here.  When they think back on their childhood, this is the home they will think of.  Our youngest learned to swim in the pool in the backyard.  He started school here.  He graduated elementary school and started middle school here.  Milestones.

I completed two master’s degrees while living here.  I figured out what I want to do with the rest of my life.  I started my career.  Josh celebrated his final Air Force promotion soon after we moved in and retired as we moved out.  We both turned 40 here.  More milestones.

We also weathered some storms in this home.  We made it through several deployments and long TDYs.  We both lost our grandfathers.  We faced a family member’s cancer diagnosis.  We faced autism.  And we fought like crazy for years as bipolar disorder tried to destroy us.  Somehow, these four walls offered us protection through all of these trials.  This was our safe place.  We found refuge here.

So, no, it isn’t just a house.  It’s a home.  It’s our home.  And even though we will no longer be living in it, it will always be our home.  We will miss it.  I will miss it.  But, I will take with me my memories and I will look forward to what is yet to come.  I will look forward to turning another house into a home.

The Empty House

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It’s amazing to me how connected I am to my stuff.  My things.  My worldly possessions.  It’s sad, really, and kind of embarrassing to admit.  But, I have to say that when the movers left on Friday, and my house was suddenly quiet, and very empty, I felt lost and lonely.  I felt like a huge part of me was missing.  It was a very unsettling feeling.

How could I feel that way just because my stuff was gone?  Why did it matter so much?  Why did I feel lost?  And why did I feel lonely?

Maybe it’s about my identity.  I put my stamp on my home.  It’s a direct reflection of who I am.  It tells the story of my life in some way.

Maybe it’s about belonging.  This has been my place to call home for a while now, and suddenly it doesn’t feel like home anymore.  I feel misplaced.

Maybe it’s about comfort.  Cozy couches and beds.  Warm blankets.  Family meals around the table.

Maybe it’s about all those things.  What I hope it isn’t about are the things themselves, but rather what they represent.  I certainly hope that my security isn’t grounded in material blessings.  I don’t think it is, but it’s something to think about.  Ha!  That’s me, always thinking.

 

Speak Up

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I don’t usually speak my mind about controversial issues.  I don’t like to ruffle feathers.  I know now that makes me part of the problem.

I read a post recently that shook me.  I told my mom about it.  A few days later, I told my husband about it.  Apparently, It bothered me more than I realized it did.  I can’t stop thinking about it.  I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that a person could be so wrapped up in his own feelings and anger that he completely missed the fact that a human being died.

A person died.  He lost his life.  He stopped breathing and no longer lives among us.  And he died because people can’t get along.  He died because anger won.

Can we put aside the argument about who was at fault for a moment?  Can we not argue about whether or not the police officer used correct protocol or brutality?  Can we not argue whether or not the young man was an innocent victim or a criminal resisting arrest?  Can we simply look at the fact that there is hatred and anger among us and that is the root of the problem?

But you know, I don’t really believe that.  I think underneath the hatred and anger is fear and misunderstanding.  We don’t know each other.  We are too divided.  We set up camps on our separate sides of the proverbial railroad and we keep our distance.  Then we make assumptions as to why the other side does what they do and we get angry with them when they don’t do what we would have done.  But we don’t know why they do what they do.  Do we?  We don’t really know.  We just assume.

How do we embrace what we don’t know?  How do we love what we don’t know?  We can’t.  How will I know the fear a black mother feels for her black children if I never spend time getting to know a black mother?  I won’t.  How will a black man ever understand the pressures a white man feels if he never spends time with a white man?  He won’t.  It isn’t just about white people understanding black people.  It’s about all people understanding each other.  It’s about mutual understanding and respect.

We have so much we can learn from one another.  There is so much rich and beautiful culture we are missing out on because we are too ignorant and stubborn to open our eyes and see what’s right in front of us.  I say ‘we’ because I’m just as guilty as anyone.  I’ve been living in my own white bubble for too long.  It’s time to step out and start adding more color to my life.

I’m a counselor.  I work with people who have some tough issues in their lives.  I work with people who are probably hard to get along with outside of my office.  But here’s the thing, I know their stories.  I know what they struggle with.  I don’t see the tough guy exterior they portray.  I don’t see the anger they put forth.  I see the scared little boy that’s inside.  I see the little girl that has been hiding for years and protects herself by pushing everyone away.  I see the real person, so I can love the real person.  Do you see my point?  When you take the time to get past the exterior, you generally find out that the anger is just a cover for some kind of hurt or fear.  When you take the time to get to know someone, you break down those walls.  Anger loses.  Love wins.

Love.  That’s what it’s all about.  That’s the bottom line.  I know we don’t all subscribe to this way of life, but for me, as a Christian, love is my end game.  Jesus commanded us to love.  If we are so focused on who was right and who was wrong that we forget to grieve the loss of a precious life, that is an absence of love.  Anger won.  Love lost.

Our problems are bigger than racism, I believe that.  But right now, racism is what we are facing.  It’s a big issue.  All I need to know is that God loves all people equally.  Black, brown, white.  Male, female.  Rich, poor.  Educated, ignorant.  CEO, janitor.  Criminal, rule-follower.  He loves us all the same and He wants us to love one another.  How absurd for anyone to think that the color of skin dictates worth!  That doesn’t even make sense.  That makes as much sense as saying that blondes are superior to brunettes.  White over brown.  No one would buy that argument over hair color, so why does anyone buy that argument over skin color?  Senseless.

It’s very simple.  If love wins, anger loses.  If we know each other, we don’t have to fear each other.  Without fear, we don’t have to put up shields of hate and anger.

Peace.