Monday, June 13, 2016


you can lock the door, yeah you know how
you can stay alone, you’re so proud but
you can’t keep the darkness out

whatever hurt you, what keeps you mad
wants you to let it go, let it pass
when memories turn to doubt
you can’t keep the darkness out

For as long as I can remember, I've been afraid of the dark.  As a kid, I was afraid of just about everything, fears that led to an involved bedtime routine of checking for bad guys or things and sometimes sleeping on the floor not to mention how I convinced myself that nothing bad could happen to me after midnight because it was a new day and long nights war ching the glowing red clock digits tick through late hours, awaiting the magic illumination of the AM dot before I allowed sleep to come.

When I moved into my first apartment, the fear lingered and led to high electric bills from lights left on all night.  I'm also an avid door locker.  As I've gotten older, these fears have graciously abated some and only rear their ugly heads when I'm most insecure these days.

Now, the fear of darkness is much deeper and much more internalized.  Today, I'm afraid of succumbing to the darkness.  The last few months have been a renaissance of sorts, a time of searching that have led me to a new community, a renewed love for the God of my youth, and, sadly, a resurgent fear that I'm doing it all wrong.  

I feel simultaneously not good enough and also not willing to change because where I am is good.  But on darker days like today, I feel like the darkness that once terrified might consume me.  Maybe I'm not strong enough to hold out for the goodness, kindness, justice that I so desperately desire to embody. Perhaps I won't be able to ever fit into this new community I've come to appreciate so much.  Will my old habits plunge me into the anxiety and depression that once governed my life?  I can feel it; it's a part of my very being and perhaps what once fueled the fears that consumed me.

A friend once told me that he likes to "flirt with the darkness" and, more than I'd like to admit, I understand that.  I don't so much flirt with it as I dip into it for momentary ease.  The habits and pathways that were unhealthy releases for me are too easy to fall back into and still offer reprieve that I shouldn't need.  What's a little giving in when trying is just so. damn. hard?  

These are the things that scare me now, not external forces but rather thoughts and feelings that are a truly interwoven part of my being.  How does one truly divorce herself from a part of her psyche and experience?  And if, some time, I move from flirting with the darkness to living in it once again, is there grace for a way out?

there’s nothing wrong with the heart in your chest
it might be heavy but it’s innocent
it can’t keep the darkness ou
-"The Darkness" by Rose Cousins

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My Callous Heart

Words crashing through the flames smoke spreading far
And I thought we'd remain free from it's harm
You let the fire out, and it's right in front of me
-"The Fire" by Kina Grannis

Who do I want to be? For all of its downs, moving across the country is a great opportunity to reinvent yourself. I'm not nearly fluid or flexible enough to fake my own personality, but I do feel like I have some leeway in deciding what facets of my personality I allow to come to the forefront. When I moved here, it was all about being free and not judgmental – the opposite of my Pennsylvania self. At my core, I am pretty progressive but there are many of conflicting influences in my head. I've got the religious and familial guilt and a whole pile of cultural indoctrination that rolls around that I've gotten really good at ignoring, but I'm trying, for the first time in a long time (maybe ever), to be informed by the faith I can't ignore and allow my callous heart to be shaped and changed, to allow myself to be vulnerable where I've before only protected, reacted, and practiced stubbornness. I'm not so good at this changing thing.

And then, when I'm most honest with myself, I remember that I'm also inexorably affected by my affections. How many times have I molded myself toward similarity to whomever my heart desired only to find myself with neither the object of my affection nor lasting change? I don't want to be that girl, now or ever again.

So then, when the desired is perhaps closer to transformed than I, how am I to respond when his heart is hurting from our actions but mine is not? Am I not close enough to the mind of God? Am I hardened still to contrition? Is he just more in tune with the heart of God than I am? Are our personal experiences creating the differences in response? Does his own regret and conviction apply to me in the same way in his head? Does he think I should feel remorse?

I feel only glad for the connection and camaraderie, but now another dimension of guilt has been applied and introduced nerves for the future. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why, even in that statement, do I apply a “we” rather than own my own feelings and lack of feelings?

How do I balance this fine line between support and indoctrination without falling off either cliff?

I'm not one for regret, but tonight, I'm trying to find grace for callousness.