Today I’m owning up to being a product of my generation. Sometimes I cringe when people write about texting in the blog world or when they describe it as a sign of the progression of their romantic relationships. But it’s the reality of the world we live in. And it’s my reality too.
At the start of this year our friends discovered the joys of group texting.
It was a magical escape from mundane life. It was a beautiful way to laugh with your friends all day long. It became a place where we didn’t need to be our fake internet selves.
I consider technology and media an okay form of communication with friends. I don’t think it takes away from my actual in-person relationships (as almost all have both components to them). I can have conversations in person and I can have conversations in written form. I can be deep in person and I can be deep in written form. I can laugh in person and I can laugh in written form.
But the reality is that we sometimes have a filtered-self we present through physical interactions with people, and we also have a (maybe even more) filtered-self we present through social media. The point is that we found a replacement social media where we could pull down a lot of the filters and laugh with each other about things we’re normally too embarrassed to admit are actually funny. I don’t want to be known as the girl who shares 10,000 memes on Facebook. But, they really are funny. And I really like sharing them with my friends.
Anyway, with the joys of group-text, there were also some trials. We kind of went through stages of a relationship. We loved talking to each other every second and laughing. Then a few months in we discovered everyone had different things they were trying to get out of our interactions with each other. Some people only wanted to make jokes. Some people wanted to talk about Jesus. Some people didn’t want texts coming in all day. Some people didn’t like to reply. Some people got offended when they didn’t reply. We even took “a break.” Each person at different times voiced frustration and desire to “leave the group.” And that was a break-up threat—because we all agreed that, “If one person leaves, we all leave.”
The hype died down for a while and I think we’ve found a healthy balance of not making it an everyday thing but still keeping the door open for that form of communication.
All of this is a long introduction to say that last night I visited something I had saved from August 7th—a trying time in our group-texting relationship (mostly because of me). They all sent good things about each of us, but it was my turn for a break from the group, and I didn’t reply. So last night I smiled as I read through them and decided to contribute three months later.
Lydia: An artist, caring, so so driven, intelligent, easy to talk to, has great music taste, great person to be silly with (I don’t care if ppl find it annoying), brave (saves me from ugly bugs), adventurous, has a beautiful voice, cares to have deep and real friendships, and has been there for me in the good and the bad.
Chancho: FRIENDLY, great uncle, nice to everyone around around him and so fun to work with!!! Miss it more than you know! Loves peace, makes me a better friend. l enjoy your Hispanic side because its very much like mine (music-wise and food-wise: bandeja paisa 😋). I am never too embarrassed to cry about my life to you. Not many people get to see that part of me. And Gives good advise in return!
Natalie: so wise, born to be a leader, good at conversations, talented, volleyball star, funny, and capable of making a boring environment into a fun and exciting one. Cares genuinely for the people around her.
Jeff: funny, loves knowledge, and has so much potential to be someone great in life, has amazing style and can pull of any hair cut. Loves to pray ;), good at making the ladies in the family happy. Your jokes make me laugh out loud most of the time when I’m alone! Haha
Juan: you’re a great guy with a great heart, you have a soft vibe that is very welcoming and easy to warm up to, you definitely make friends with everyone you encounter , you’re not someone that I feel like I have to some how earn their friendship , you just seem to volunteer it which is awesome.
Natalie: I love your free spirit; you seem so harmonious and care free. I love your sense of humor, ‘specially because it can be just as dumb and goofy as mine. You have an amazing balance if being ridiculously silly and tremendously deep and profound. You always seem to have a heart of encouragement and genuineness.
Angie: You’re so approachable and warm; you’re very jolly and have a joyful way about yourself; you have a very evident care and appreciation for others, definitely putting your friends before yourself; I see generosity and kindness in you.
Lydia: You’re so not afraid to let people know what you think, and let them know what you think over and over and over no matter what they think. You’re so ready to be vulnerable and build real bonds and friendships, you have to be deep. You strive for a more real and purposeful understanding of life. You put your heart in the things around you weather they be people or things you do and always try and remove superficiality but always be real.
Jeff: You have an amazing style and you are innovative and looking for new ways to advance.
Lydia: You are the only person I know who loves what they do so passionately and so incredibly smart.
Angie: You have a heart that breaks for injustice and you put the needs of those you love before your own.
Juan: You are so incredibly social. Everyone you meet instantly falls in love with you.
Jeff: you’re hilarious
Natalie: you’re so talented
Angie: you’re very compassionate
Lydia: you’re very caring!
Angie: Your awe for the world is incredible. Instead of carrying a rough edge where most people feel like they need to pretend like they know what they’re doing, you can just sit back, be amazed and ask questions. And you are strong. Instead of crumbling in moments that are emotionally demanding you always move forward. You have courage to face whatever comes before you with the hope of Christ.
Jeff: I think it’s cool that you talk to your mom and care about her in tangible ways. Also that you have a journal you’re not embarrassed about. Not all guys can be in tune with their emotions, and it’s nice to be friends with one who is. You’re still on my list for favorite dancing partners. And whether or not you still believe it, I really enjoy being friends with someone who shares in a lot of my personality.
Nata: You’re a little bit of everything. You’re strong when you need to be, gentle when you need to be and determined yet able to be flexible. You ponder life and know how to be silly about it. You know when to let things go.
Juan: You have a good heart that shines through everything you do. Your hunger for righteousness is genuine. And you are literally the most encouraging person I know.
*I admit, I fixed a few typos and sentence structures. But don’t worry, I left some error to leave room for personality to come out ;)
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This is me giving an honest assessment of where I stand today, November 5, 2013, as I live out the twenty-second year of my life.
I stand in brokenness. I carry so many fears about my future. I feel overwhelmed by lies and deception that Satan throws at me. I’m unable to have normal conversations without obsessing that people might find me annoying, or that I’m talking too much, or I’m saying things that aren’t relevant to them.
I lived most of my life happy and free. And I mean that very genuinely.
Having rooted myself in Jesus from a very early age, I always felt very confident in my personality. There were times when I felt misunderstood, but I didn’t take that to mean that there was something wrong with me.
At sixteen I began learning about God’s grace. I had carried sins up to this point that were part of my life for as long as I could remember life. Things I kept private. Things I was embarrassed of. And things I forced myself to reach out to people and get help because of. But I quickly realized nobody could change me. Nobody could make me stop sinning. The fear of having to confess my sin to someone after committing it wasn’t stronger than the power of sin over my life. It wasn’t a good alternative. Being held accountable for my sins didn’t make me stop sinning. Punishing myself for my sins didn’t make me stop sinning (I would literally make myself fast the next day after committing particular sins. This was partly done as punishment and partly as a way to force myself to spend more time with Jesus in order that his power would make me stop sinning. That didn’t help). Setting restrictions to avoid places I’d be tempted didn’t help. At a ripe young age of seventeen, I think God did a pretty good job at delivering the message that my own will power was not stronger than sin. And none of those other things were stronger than sin.
And I remember it very clearly—one night crying and telling God, “This isn’t working. There is nothing left for me to try.”
For the next year, every time I was tempted I would just tell God, “I love you. I want something different for my future than what this sin will bring. I know you still love me and accept me regardless of how I react right now, and I thank you that your power is enough to deliver me in this moment.” It was beautiful. I loved living in complete dependence on God. I loved knowing that he was my righteousness.
And then I entered a serious relationship. I felt ready and able. I had a vision of what a godly relationship looked like, and I was eager to live that out. I was—almost—convinced this was sent from God. At that point in life, I believed I was exercising faith in God by stepping into a relationship I believed he had brought to me.
Something weird happened—something I didn’t anticipate or prepare for. My flesh happened. It felt like new sins just kept coming up left and right. Things I had done in the past and things I had never imagined I’d even come close to wanting. Before I really knew what was happening I found myself in complete shock that I was capable of so much ugliness. And I responded to that ugliness in even uglier ways. I opened doors for Satan to attack my worth. There were so many times it literally felt like an oppressive spirit would just come over me and tell me to act in certain ways. It would tell me I was worthless, or that God was disappointed in me. It would cause me to mistreat people. It led me into deep and very sick manipulation. It made a path for my rebellion to take over in ways I had never imagined that it could. There were so many times I remember feeling like I was just living in complete darkness. I would constantly tell myself, “at least this is so bad right now that there’s no chance it will get worse.” But it always got worse.
I felt worthless on so many levels.
When people who didn’t know what was going on in my life complimented me, my brain automatically deflected it saying, “They don’t know you, Lydia. They don’t know how evil you are.”
Many times I would confess things to people because I just felt like they needed to know how bad I was. I felt wrong for walking around making people think I was good when I wasn’t.
Unfortunately my at-the-time boyfriend took much of the weight of my self-hatred. I think it was a coping mechanism for me. I felt out of control of myself, so if I could just control something in my life—if I could control him and make him do everything I wanted—then maybe I would be happy again.
Fortunately God intervened and started cutting unhealthy things out of my life. Some of that came by breaking up with my ex-boyfriend.
I spent many months growing. They were months that I thought I was growing, anyway.
When I ex made the decision to move on with his life without me, I quickly realized a prominent portion of my self-worth had been placed in his opinion of me. Why? Mostly because he had seen the darkest places in me. If he didn’t want me, nobody would want me. No one else’s opinion mattered, because he was the only one who knew how truly evil I was; him not accepting me meant my darkness was too dark for anyone to love.
So I’ve lived out of that for the last months of my life—angry at God for not coming through in ways that I wanted him to and angry at myself for not being able to live up to the standard of being a respectable human being.
I’ve been scared to be hopeful because I’m even more scared of being let down.
But I’m taking steps to heal. They’re baby steps that usually end in tumbling back down. Sometimes I get overwhelmed looking at my future and realizing that these character flaws will come back and try to crash me back to the ground again. My rebellious spirit, my manipulative tendencies—they’re not just going to go away. They will try to make their way to the surface in every relationship that is important to me. But I have no choice but to acknowledge that any progress that happens in my life from here on is absolutely accredited to the power of God’s grace. It’s a choice I have to make every day—to choose to place the tiny, little bit of faith I have into a God I don’t completely understand.
In the least I know that my efforts to hold life together are completely futile and he is much more capable of handling it.
Asking for my inheritance before my father died
I’m eating with the pigs
You lured me with your guise
The story says you’ll celebrate me
But I’m feeling too out of breath
To climb the wall before me
Separating me from death
Give me just a minute
To bury what is left
You say the dead can bury what is dead
I see them digging beneath me
Offering me a home
The distance is now greater
As I sink into their hole
This task before me, daunting
I can’t possibly climb that high
But if you fill the gap beneath me
You can make steps for me to climb
My home is not a wasteland
To nurture death to souls
My home a place of refuge
Being filled with treasured gold
The inheritance I wanted
Can only come with death
And instead of letting my father pay it
I took the price instead
It’s like I woke up from a dream.
Flashes and disdaining images from something which seems so distant dance in my mind. At all strange times they decide to make way to the surface—to bring with them feeling and faint longing to grasp them as reality. They trick my mind into believing that they were good, when in reality, I know them to be sick and filled with death.
And that’s just what they are. Light swirling about in my head causing images which dig deep into wells of pain no one ever told me existed.
They are a power tool, plugged into its source, and drilling away into my flesh. Oil springs forth and is used as fuel to burn my anger longer. The heat spreads and cooks every piece of me so that I will be a choice morsel for the animals waiting to feed off of me. In the meantime, I scream with a quiver stronger than that of a whale in heat. I unleash streams of pain which make their way into droplets forming in the ducts of my eyes. They are romanced by the whelping ruptures happening deep in my core. My stomach is a volcano, thought to be dormant all this time, but with just the right amount of heat, it is erupting and spreading ash to every part of my body. And now I stand, with ash layered over my body, providing warmth and comfort. My clothing has been burnt off, and it is the only thing left to protect me from the cold air around. My body, now molten rock, has no other purpose but to lay on cold ground and be walked over, trampled on, and misused. But it will burn the bottoms of their feet, and it will pull them in to be destroyed.
For I have been destroyed.
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Was it you who told me once, now looking back it seems so real, that all our mistakes are merely grist for the mill? So why is it now, after I had my fill, that you steal from me the sorrow that I’ve earned? Shall we call this a lesson learned?
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My heart is stilled and stirred and shaken and blurred.
My mind wants to grab ahold of what is true.
A remnant of belief, spawned long ago inside of me, lives in a heart shielded by grief.
A remnant of fear, born at the meeting of failure and distrust, given to me as a child to nurture.
An infant who cries and complains, getting larger in size; a child who refuses to break.
Head-strong, with thoughts and facts and fears and tracks.
Bravery is often confused for ignorance. Standing out on the edge of a cliff is not an admirable act of the will if you don’t know the risk of falling and crashing and hurting.
Not of dying. Of living a wounded life which can never be repaired. Of being crippled by a moment you could have avoided if you would have just stepped back.
Stepping beside the serpent and being commended for your fearlessness is not a compliment I wished to receive. But you told it to me.
The day we rode bikes through hills with roots gracing our trail. And I climbed off to partake in the only freedom that I know—to float and swim and never feel tired. To move my limbs about the in water. To move forward without gravity holding me down and pushing against me.
You told me I was brave for entering an area with dangerous snakes. But it was you that made me aware of them. It was you who condoned my ignorance and made me feel it was safe to take delight while they were nearby.
It was you that planted in me the seed of fear.
And kept me in enchantment of its presence.
It was you who let them bite me.
Their venom watering the seed,
growing in me a tree I had never before seen.
The fruit grew in reverse. At first it was tiny and sweet. It was delicate and light and refreshing.
But as it continued to grow, as the venom was aroused, I noticed your lips quiver as you took a bite. The fruit was sour, tasting of vinegar.
And it gave you heart burn.
And left you with a constant taste of slightly thickened acid in your throat.
With addictive properties, like glucose, telling the body to come back always for more.
A pathway meant to nourish the young.
But you’re an adult. And it coats your body with adipose tissue. Making your heart work harder and harder until it finally gives out.
My heart was stilled. And then it was stirred and shaken and blurred.
My heart was stilled. And now it is waiting for a cure.
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"Oh what a gray and hopeless day. I’ve got a worried mind. The sun’s behind the clouds again. And so am I. I ask the sky, “tell me which way to go. How will I know to shine again?”
I’ve been here before. I’ve seen it all. I can’t take no more. I mean it, I’ll go.
And this is the time, time to change to my life.Yeah these are the times; reaching up to find a window out of doom and doubt. A remedy for agony. Oh hush that shout.
I’ve been here before. I’ve seen it all. I can’t take no more. I mean it, I’ll go. You heard it all and more. Heart beatin’ too hard. And these are the times. Time to change to my life. Yeah these are the times. Reaching up to find.
I took the wrong way home.
I’ve been here before. I’ve seen it all. I can’t take no more. I mean it, I’ll go. What’s this freedom for. And this is the time. Time to change my life. Yeah these are times. Reachin’ up to find.”
I try and keep my music choices encouraging.
Autumn has always been a bittersweet time for me. It carries tension and romance to the surface of my skin, lightly touching my body and gracing me with chills. The earth makes such an elegant facade for what’s really coming. My heart is stirred, as I twirl in the majesty of slight winds rolling through. I feel a roll of bumps forming from the sliver of air entering at the rising of my pant leg when I shift position. I take comfort in what feels crisp and clear. The air feels so sharp that it can pierce through me—separating joint from marrow, spirit from soul.
One day the air becomes too sharp. The wind too strong. They romanced me in doses meant for a child and they nurture me as an adult. Like a doctor promising chemotherapy to make me feel alive.
It’s not a sword stabbing what’s already diseased. It’s a sword flailing back and forth, taking with it every cell that is good and every cell that is bad.
Autumn ended and winter showed me what it means to fall.
It’s not the thrill pulsing inside me as I glide through the air awaiting a warm body of water to catch me and spit me back up. Falling is enchanting until landing means death.
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Just a bit of betrayal
but mostly misunderstanding
and So the War comes upon us
and we both leave empty handed
its been a thousand years now
since I kissed those lips
cuz things tend to break down
so we put up our fists
Theres a Grand Canyon
Inside my chest now
How do you say you’re sorry
with bodies lying on the beach now
you trade me in for a feeling
and it is hard to believe how
I’m just bundle of wounds girl
and so I cut you back
and all the space that was love
has now turned to black
We try to pretend we never wanted what we did but we did babe
it seems there’s more incentive now to leave than we had to stay so
all of my love and hate get so mixed up since you went away
look homeward angel please teach us how to say that it’s okay
Theres a Grand Canyon
Inside my chest now
it’s laid to rest now
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