I Have a Secret

melissa-askew-14692

There’s something tremendously healing about raw authentic truth. The kind of truth that encompasses strength and vulnerability (not to be confused with weakness). I consider a lot these days, more than any other time in my life. Years of pain, growth, and reflection leading me to this season of my life. One in which I believe I see most clearly. The vision afforded us in moments of simple stillness is irreplaceable. I imagine myself awash in a sea of sweet grass and gorgeous floras – swimming in the sense of it all. Grinning. ‘I have a secret.’

Idols

The truth is, most people shy away from all things mental. Thanks to the internet, there are more resources and stories being told, but let’s be honest…. People are terrifiedafraid to own it or accept it. This is what I’ve seen – as a culture, we mourn as mental illness and substance abuse picks off our idols. We weep and sadly post our tributes and advice. But…

How long do we mourn those who died too soon? Those we had never met in our life – how long do we pretend? Making moves to acquaint ourselves with the ugly truth of it all – careful to keep a watchful eye.

Everyone has something to say about the tragedies of life when they involve the dark truth of fame. When pain and suffering lead people, who have everything, to ‘throw it all away!’ How long do we mourn? My estimation – just long enough to follow the trend and feed the feed – social media nonsense.

No Bullshit

But what do we do we do when the truth knocks at our door? How do we respond when the darkness creeps into our conversations? How long do we hide when the reflection of life pings our phones?

I’m finding myself entering a season of no bullshit! There’s something to be said of the ‘short-timers’ in life who no longer live in fear of stepping on toes or hurting feelings. I don’t intend to hurt feelings (quite the opposite), but I’m tired of hiding who I am, simply because it may make someone uncomfortable.

It disgusts me to watch the world mourn idols, while we sit by idly and watch our friends and family drown in their own pain and sorrow. Believe me, I get it – it’s easier to mourn those we have no vested interest in. Lamenting their slow and torturous deaths in many instances. An audience of fans watching the downward spiral of depravity – milk duds and popcorn in hand.

The Truth

The truth? We’re not taking the kids to the crazy neighbors to ‘watch the show’ on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Free concessions or not. We’re not inviting the crazy aunt to summer picnics and camping trips. No, ma’am! We’re pretending, as if we don’t know what it is to be ghosted, all the while creating distance and making space. Sidestepping the reflection of truth. What I see? We evade the things that remind us of all we might feel. Or worse – we hide from the reality that breaking points exist within each of us. We run from others because we’re running from ourselves.

We’re all chasing perfection – a portrait painted in the minds of the broken and blinded. What is perfection anyway? Perfection by whose standards? Always needing everything and everyone to line up to our expectations. Devastatingly disappointed when they don’t!

Perspective

Let’s put this into perspective for a moment – can you fathom how exhausting it is to live one’s life shape-shifting from one atmosphere of expectations to the next? Are we really meant to live this way? We’re all screaming to be accepted for who we are, but can we honestly say we subscribe to the same standards? How accepting are we?

I see it in myself and EVERY person I know – sideways glances and towering stances atop soapboxes of judgment and scorn. We do it in our everyday life – sitting at a restaurant, aggravated by the server who ‘can’t do her job;’ distracted by the parents who ‘can’t control their kids;’ freaked out by the patron who ‘must be mental.’

‘No, we do not accept.’

The Answer

I sit back and take in all that is – reflecting on our culture and current climate. Sexism. Feminism. Racism. Equality. Acceptance. Hate. Love. Everyone’s looking for answers, never realizing the answer is in the question. In every fight, the combatants simply want to be seen, heard, and felt. Ultimately seeking acceptance, while allowing their insecurities to steer the bus.

The answer is in the acceptance. We need not accept the beliefs and ideals of another to accept them. I think this is where our culture has gotten things a bit twisted.

‘Acceptance is love and compassion without understanding.’

The thing is, we do not live in a world of mutual understanding – no one can truly fathom what another has been through. We can never fully understand how life has shaped another, let alone ourselves. Even in our similarities, the differences are too wide and too deep to hide. Throw away your expectations and need for understanding and embrace love.

Imagine. Ask yourself in every moment and every situation ‘what if that was me?’ Be honest.

 

** This is something I started working on yesterday but I was unable to finish. In attempting to finish today, I realized my thoughts were shifting lanes, plus this is a subject I want to dig into deeper. Unfortunately, pain and fatigue are creating roadblocks for me. I debated whether to shelve this, with so many others in my my file of ‘unfinished business,’ but I felt I was meant to share what I have so far. I’m hoping others may seek self reflection and open dialogue. I would love to hear from others on mental illness, trauma, and pain, and how such things affect you directly or indirectly.** 

 

 

 

Photo by Melissa Askew

 

One thought on “I Have a Secret

  1. When I was going through the worst of the chaos of complex PTSD, determined to be upfront that I had mental health issues, it was a very alienating time and the only place I felt I could be myself in all the ups and downs was a local community centre where they had groups and activities for people with MH issues. Now that I am a different person and out the other side, I am so relieved not to have that label (felt like a big sign on my forehead) as I venture back into mainstream social and educational settings. It really is difficult for others who are not or have not been there to understand, and I guess part of it has been letting go of my expectations that others “should” be there for me/understand me etc. Ultimately I am the only one who can really know what I’ve been through, and of course God, who loves me and is eternally patient with me as I become stronger. There are so many resources out there now, from that point of view we are living in fortunate times.

    Liked by 1 person

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