Loss.

So, alumni weekend!

After a great time of worship and reminiscing and such at Hayward Wesleyan, I headed on out to Cable and WWC. And while I was driving, I was thinking about WWC, and how amazing it was and how much it changed me. And then Mercy. And how that changed me too, but in a different way. I feel like I talk about this a lot, and compare them a lot, but I can’t help it. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to write about it again.

Because on the drive from Hayward to Cable, I found myself with this feeling of loss. Even when I think about this stuff, I don’t often feel it, but for a little while there, I felt it. The wonderful things that happened in my life at WWC and were taken away by Mercy.

WWC was a wonderful, safe place for me. I came alive that year. I learned to trust. Things became clear. I grew in my relationships with both God and other people. I found my voice. At WWC, I was accepted and loved and valued like I’d never been before.

Because of Mercy, I found myself confused and unable to trust. I retreated into myself again. I’m afraid to trust God. I’m afraid to trust people. I’m afraid to trust the church and Christian organizations. Mercy has tainted those things for me. I’m always suspicious of Christian organizations now, afraid that they’re abusing their authority, using mind control tactics, brainwashing people. Because that’s what Mercy did.

I’m afraid to speak. I’ve lost my voice. I’ve retreated back into my shell, behind my walls again. Those walls that WWC broke down, through love and acceptance and clear teaching and community.

And I found myself, for a moment, grieving the loss of that freedom. That’s something I’m going to need to go through, I think. The process of grieving that loss, those things that Mercy stole from me.

And in processing all of that, I’ll begin building again. Those things I learned at WWC, they’re not gone. They’re still there, just buried. Shattered. But the pieces remain. Ready to be put back together.

 

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In honor of the final WWC alumni weekend…my WWC story, part 1

Tomorrow I make the 3 hour drive up north, to a place I once called (and still think of as) home. For likely the last time.

See, this weekend is the last Alumni Weekend at WWC – the Wisconsin Wilderness Campus – where I spent my first year of college. This is the last year that WWC will be open.

I know I’ve talked about WWC quite a bit, but I hope you’ll excuse me if I spend some more time on it. WWC was one of the best years of my life, so there are lots of stories that I love to tell. And I figure, maybe if I can tell my WWC story, which is difficult but happy – maybe I can tell my Mercy story too, which is difficult and not-so-happy.

Why is my WWC story difficult, if it’s happy? Well, for one, it’s over. And sometimes it hurts to think about it and remember those wonderful times because they aren’t here anymore. Especially now that WWC isn’t even going to be there to go back and visit. I’ve more or less lost touch with most of my class from that year, too – my WWC family. We’re still friends on facebook and all, but I rarely talk to any of them, much less see them.

The second reason it’s difficult is that, while amazing overall, and a thoroughly positive experience, it was a tough year in some ways. It was my first year away from my parents, and while that was a really good thing, it also took some getting used to. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. When you can’t trust the people around you, sometimes you lock yourself away behind thick walls. And then once you find yourself in a safe place, surrounded by people that you can trust, you start taking those walls down, and both the good and the bad come to the surface.

WWC was my first choice for college. I got a letter in the mail describing the program and I just knew. This was where I was supposed to spend my first year of college. I put in other applications too, of course, but WWC was always my first choice. My parents knew this. Still, when I got the acceptance letter in the mail, and excitedly showed it to my dad, the first words I remember him saying were, “So you’re still thinking of going there, huh?” (In a somewhat-disapproving tone.) “Um, YEAH! I decided that a long time ago!”

My parents didn’t exactly approve. They spoke of it like it was a joke, and so a lot of my relatives did too. Particularly, I remember hearing about how I was “going off to camp instead of college.” I hated that, because I felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously. Like my dreams for my future were a joke. And that hurt. I was thankful for the few relatives that did encourage and take me seriously.

I’m not sure if I’ve told this story on here before, so please excuse me if it’s a repeat. I was at the family reunion for my mom’s side of the family, and a distant cousin was talking with my dad and I. I don’t know him too well, but I know he’s a lawyer, he’s successful, respected. He asked me about what I was planning on doing for college, and I told him about WWC. He turns to my dad and says, with all sincerity, “You must be pretty proud of her.” My dad laughs, and says, “Well, we’ll see.” A split second of shock, and then I laugh it off. Embarrassed. Trying to cover for my dad, make out like it was just a joke. It may have sounded like a joke, and I’m sure that’s how he wanted it to sound. But it wasn’t. Not really.

In any case, the end of August finally arrived, and I was on my way up to northern Wisconsin and my first year of college…

(To be continued…)

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Good Enough?

“You don’t have to be good enough, because God is good enough.”

In my Intro to Biblical Counseling class, we’ve been writing in journals all semester, and over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing our journal entries in class and counseling each other. Last week, I decided to share. It was both exciting and a bit nerve-wracking to talk about some of my personal struggles and especially some of my self-talk and core beliefs. I’m so glad I did it, though. I was really encouraged by what my classmates and professor said in response to my journal. I wish I would have written more of it down. The quote at the beginning of this post is one thing I did write down, and something I’ve been thinking about a lot. 

You don’t have to be good enough, because God is good enough.

I struggle so much with feeling like I have to measure up, and feeling like I rarely do. I try so hard. Always feeling like I have to prove myself…feeling like I have to continually prove myself over and over again, because if I stop, if I mess up, then maybe people will see what I’m “really like.” I have to work so hard to prove that I’m even acceptable. I work from the assumption that I am bad, I am lazy, I am selfish, I am irresponsible, I am childish, I am weak, I am…all of these negative things that have been said or implied…and that if I am not constantly working to prove that I am not those things, that is how everyone will see me. I know, logically, that this isn’t true, but it doesn’t stop me from living like it is.

I’m reminded of one of the characteristics of Adult Children – we are either super responsible or super irresponsible. I tend to fluctuate between the two, although it seems to me that lately, I “talk” the “super responsible” role while living the super irresponsible one.

I’m not measuring up; in fact, I feel like I am failing spectacularly. Not that it’s really all that spectacular, because this seems to have become a pattern in my life over the past couple of years. 

I am so burned out on school right now. Trying to keep up with classes and chapel while also trying to do therapy, take care of myself, and have a social life…and it seems like in the end, none of it is really getting done. I’m failing at all of it.

I’m embarrassed at how much chapel I’ve missed this semester. Classes too. And how far behind I’ve fallen. Even things that I’ve improved on a little…communicating with my professors, actually getting to the writing part of my Comp II paper…I’m still failing at. I’ve isolated myself so much. Closed myself off from people. I am so lonely, and I don’t know how to change it. I don’t take very good care of myself. I’ve been pretty tempted to start cutting again, because even if it’s not the healthiest way to deal, it helps, dangit! I’m not going to do it, for various reasons – including the fact that I’ve gone about 3 1/2 years without it – but I really want to sometimes. I’ve been going to church on occasion, which is better than last year, but it’s so far from where I used to be. I feel like I barely have a relationship with God – I am so thankful for the knowledge that He will never let me go, because if it were up to me, I would be totally lost.

And now we get back to where I started this post: God is good enough. I don’t have to be good enough, because God is good enough. And He loves me. Unconditionally. And He’ll never give up on me. His grace will never run out. He is big enough to cover any mistakes I make, any sins I commit, any failures, anything I do wrong. 

That’s so hard for me to comprehend. But it’s true.

And maybe…I am exactly where I need to be right now. Failures and all. Maybe God is trying to teach me a lesson about His grace and His love. Maybe He is trying to show me that He will never give up on me, no matter what. Maybe He is trying to teach me that even when I feel like I am a failure and all I can do is mess up and no matter how hard I try, it doesn’t get better…He is still there loving me. Carrying me through it. Maybe He’s trying to show me the futility of this whole “trying harder” thing. Because trying harder isn’t the answer — He is. (I totally teared up while writing this paragraph, by the way.) I think…He’s been trying to tell me these things for a long time. But He knows I’m stubborn. He knows that it takes me a while to learn. And thankfully, He is patient enough to take the time to teach me, even if it takes years (which it often seems to).

God is good.

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And more thoughts on friendship…in poem form.

Been thinking a lot lately. I have a lot to write about, but it’ll mostly probably have to wait till Christmas break. But a friend wrote a blog post that reminded me of a poem I wrote a couple of years ago, and I wanted to share it. It relates to some of the stuff I’ve been thinking about.

(Also, my Biblical Counseling class has me thinking a lot about self-talk, and I’ve realized once again how sad it makes me feel to hear other people saying terrible things to/about themselves…how much it makes me just want to give them a hug and tell them that it’s not true and somehow make them believe that it’s not true. Why do I feel this compassion for others but not for myself? Why am I different? And could it be that others feel the same way when they hear me sharing my self-talk as well? Food for thought… Anyway. Poem.)

Wishing I knew how to do this whole “friendship” thing.
Sometimes I feel like I’m hopelessly awkward.
Sitting in my room alone, because I don’t know what else to do.
When I try, I just make a fool of myself, more often than not.
I’ve spent so much time alone —
I don’t know how to be with people anymore.
I’ve spent so much time silent —
I don’t know how to talk anymore.
I’ve become so used to this rut I’m stuck in,
I don’t know how to escape.
All of these beliefs, directly opposed to the idea
Of me having friends.
Why would I talk?
I have nothing to say worth hearing.
Such a low view of myself —
Walking around apologizing to the world for my existence.
I am nobody, I don’t matter, I am less-than-human.
I am…not real.
In my mind, as soon as I walk away, I am forgotten,
I cease to exist.
Never given a second thought.
People have plenty of friends already.
Why would they need me,
Or even want to know me?
So I just figure that no one does.
It’s just the way life is.
But I get so lonely sometimes…
And I wish it wasn’t this way.
Wish I could believe that it was different,
Could be different.
Wish I could believe
That people actually wanted to get to know me,
To spend time with me,
To be my friend.
Remembering the time I was told once that someone did.
At the beginning of the year, I really wanted to be friends with you.
But you wouldn’t talk to me!
I was so frustrated, because I felt like I just couldn’t connect with you.
I was talking with one of the girls about it, and she said,
“Oh, she just opened up to us a bunch at Bible study last night.”
And I was like,
“Why doesn’t she talk to ME?!”
I had no idea —
No idea.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s the same now, if maybe —
People do want to be my friend,
But I’m so stuck in this fear, this isolation,
These — dare I say — lies…
That I just can’t see it,
Just like I didn’t see it then.
If it’s true,
I hope they will be patient…
As that friend of mine told me later,
It took a long time to get to know you, Anna.
But it was totally worth the wait.

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About Friends

So, this kind of goes along with the previous post. At least, the direction I’m planning to take it does, we’ll see how it actually turns out. Because this is the direction I was originally planning on taking in that post, and that’s not quite what ended up happening, haha. But I don’t mind when that happens (which is good, because it happens a lot), because usually it means that I needed to write about whatever I did write about more. That’s why it’s called ramblings, because it can go in whatever direction it goes and that’s okay.

So.

There’s a friend that I often mention in therapy, even though we rarely talk anymore. I recently sort-of got back in touch with this friend, and was telling my therapist about that last week. He asked me, if this friend could sit down and talk with you now, what would they tell you?

I thought about it for a bit.

I think…this friend would tell me to stop hiding in my apartment. To stop being so quiet and closed-off.

Thinking about it now, I would add to it a little, based on what I know of this friend:

That people want to get to know me. That I have something to contribute. That I’m a fun person and a good friend and people want to be my friends, and I’m not letting them. People want to spend time with me and get to know me, but I’m not letting them.

Just like I didn’t let this person get to know me or be my friend when we first met. Because I couldn’t comprehend the idea that they actually wanted to get to know me and be my friend.

There are probably people around me now that want to be friends with me just like that, and I won’t let them. Because for some reason, that idea that people want to get to know me and be friends with me, is still kind of foreign.

Guess it’s something I’ll just have to practice, hm? It’ll get easier. But it won’t get easier unless I try.

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Talking Too Much?

Sometimes, I am quiet. Other times, I feel like I talk far too much.

One of those times recently was in my Family Studies class. We were having a small group discussion, and I started telling my group the story of when my dad threatened to kick me out of the house. Why did I tell this story? Looking back, I’m really not sure. Sometimes I just start talking and I can’t get myself to shut up. I mean, it kind of related to what we were talking about, but it really wasn’t necessary to tell it. It’s kind of a long story.

So I’ve been thinking about this. Why I say stuff like that – that some part of me knows I’ll regret later on, whether it’s about my family, or Mercy, or something that seems uncomfortably close to bragging.

And I think the truth is, I tend to isolate myself and stay silent and closed off so much that sometimes I just feel like I need attention. I’m embarrassed/ashamed to even admit that, mainly because of my struggle with self-injury and the stigma of being an “attention seeker” in regards to that. But honestly, I think we all have our attention-seeking moments, we all need to be validated and feel like we belong and are loved and cared about. It’s just that some people have healthier ways of getting those needs met than others.

Sometimes I tell stories about my family because I’m feeling unsure that things were as bad as they seem, and I want validation. When I’m telling a story about my family, maybe what I’m really saying, underneath my words, is Please tell me this really was serious, really was bad, really shouldn’t have happened. Please tell me that I’m better than what they said/implied I am, because right now I feel like I’m not good enough, stupid, selfish, lazy, unloved, unwanted, alone, etc. Please accept me, please like me, please care about me, please remind me that I’m worth something.

I think I understand better now why I regret it when I say things like that, why I feel like I’ve said too much. It’s because what I’m saying is not what I mean. I’m talking around the real issues and hoping that people will hear what I’m not saying. And also because this is not what I want to be known for. My issues are not who I am. My past is not who I am. My family is not who I am. I am a person beyond all that, there is more to me than that! Those things don’t define me, and yet I continue to let them define me. I hide behind them. 

It’s only when I stop hiding that I’m really happy and fulfilled. When I stop hiding behind my issues and my stories and my talking around things, my needs are met. When I’m open and honest and real. When I let people in. When I let them care about me. When I choose to trust. When I show my feelings. 

My WWC friends were always good about seeing the real me even when I was hiding behind my issues. I don’t know if they realized they were doing it, but they often reminded me, just in the way that they treated me, that I was a real person beyond that stuff, that those things didn’t define me, weren’t who I was. It wasn’t that they were somehow better than the people around me now – it’s not that the people around me now are lacking. It’s that I opened up to them. I trusted them. I let them see my weakness and my fear. I let them in. I let them care, let them accept me, let them love me. 

And if I want to stop being miserable, that’s what I need to do now. I’m not quite sure how. And I’m scared. But I need to try. I need to find myself again, to come out from whatever dark corner I’ve hidden myself away in. It’s scary. Hiding feels safer. But it’s miserable, and I’m sick of it, and I just want to live again. 

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Hiding.

So, two days ago I wrote a post about how far I’ve come in the past 9 years, and here I am now, about to write a post that shows how far I still have to go. *sigh* Yay honesty?

It’s been a lousy week, honestly. I haven’t gone to class or chapel at all, I’ve barely left my room, much less my apartment. I’ve managed to make it outside a couple of times, go get something to eat, sit at a park for a little while – so that’s good, I guess. Afraid to go over to campus though, or anywhere I might run into people that know me.

So here I am, sitting on my bed, eating junk food, sleeping, and wasting time on the internet. I feel lazy, weak, and absolutely pathetic. I’m angry at myself because I feel like if I were just stronger, more disciplined, I’d be able to make myself do my homework and go to class. So the only reason I’m still sitting here is because I’m not trying hard enough.

Gotta love anxiety. *sigh*

And you know what triggered it? My new favorite class. And I hate that. I hate it when things that I love make me anxious. I hate it when I get anxious about good things. It’s so frustrating. I don’t want to be anxious about things that are good. But sometimes they’re just overwhelming and too much and I freak out and run away and hide in my room.

See, on Friday in class we talked about our dances. I got a lot of good feedback on mine. Some really touching compliments and some good constructive criticism. And while you might think that it was the criticism that freaked me out, it wasn’t. It was the compliments.

And I don’t know how I’m going to explain this in a way that people will understand, but I’m going to try.

There’s part of me that tries so hard to fade into the background. To be invisible. To be silent. To take up as little space as possible.

There’s a part of me that’s terrified of anyone seeing me, really seeing me. Sometimes it’s easier to just pretend that they don’t see me at all. To pretend that I’m not real, that I don’t really exist. Sometimes the thought of existing, of being real and solid and noticeable, freaks me out.

Before I go any farther with this, I want to reassure you that I’m not delusional or anything. Logically, I know that I exist, that I am real, that I am solid, that I am not invisible, and people can see me. I’m speaking metaphorically here. Sort of. See why I said it was hard to explain?

It’s a complex issue. I can’t even sort it all out in my head. There’s part of me that wants to be seen and noticed, and then there’s part of me that’s terrified of it. I’m afraid of both being hurt and hurting others. It’s all mixed up in there together, and I can’t separate it out. But I know that right now, I’ve got a really strong fear of being seen and being known.

And in class on Friday, when people were talking about my dance, I guess I got freaked out because I knew that they saw me while I was dancing, not just literally saw me up on stage, but deeper than that. And yes, that was the intent, so that’s good, and hearing that my dance affected people made me feel amazing, but at the same time, it scared me. It made me want to run and hide, somewhere where nobody could see me anymore.

So here I am. In my room. Hiding.

And I hate it that I do this. I hate it that things affect me like this. Especially when it’s stuff that should be good and happy and shouldn’t freak me out! Do you know how frustrating it is to be scared of something that you enjoy? There’s nothing wrong with the class, nobody’s done anything wrong to make me feel this way, it’s just my own issues coming up and making things difficult as usual. I’m scared of so many things that I simultaneously love. And how does that work? (Not very well, I can tell you that!) And sometimes I can get past the fear, and sometimes the fear isn’t even there, but then sometimes it is, and sometimes I can’t get past it, and all I can do is sit in my room and hide and feel like an irresponsible, lazy, weak, pathetic loser. Like it’s all in my head and if I just pushed a little harder, I’d be able to get over it. *sigh*

Here’s hoping I can manage to make it to class tomorrow, hm?

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9 Years Ago

Nine years ago today, I was in the psych ward.

I was in 10th grade. I had been struggling with clinical depression for at least a year, probably more like two or three. When I had tried to get help the year before, the people who were supposed to help me didn’t take me seriously. I gave up and went back to pretending I was fine, determined I would just deal with it on my own. I did a good job hiding it, but things only got worse. I started cutting myself. My suicidal thoughts became more serious. I reached a point where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to live or die.

One of my best friends convinced me to tell the school counselor. I had been talking to her on a regular basis anyway, and I trusted her. I told her that I thought I might need to be in a hospital or something. She agreed, and she called my mom. My mom and my aunt showed up at school and drove me up to the cities. I spent 8 hours in the emergency room, waiting for a bed to open up.

I spent a week inpatient, and then two weeks in the outpatient day program.

It was right around the time of the Riverbend Dance Arts spring concert. I think it was the end of my first week outpatient. It was the year I did a dance with my friend Alex: “The Mirror Only Does What It Wants To.” I had to talk to my dance teacher about changing our costumes slightly — my arms were all cut up, and I didn’t want anyone to see, so I had to wear long sleeves. I remember trying to explain to Alex where I had been the past couple of weeks. It was kind of awkward, because we didn’t really talk about serious stuff. So I told him in a way that I hoped would make him laugh. “Um…remember a few years ago, we did a dance called ‘Welcome to the Nuthouse’? Well, now I’ve experienced it. I was in the psych ward.”

This is me after the dance concert. NOT me in the hospital, despite the scrubs. That was my dance costume. Really.

Nine years ago tomorrow, my cousin “Joe” was born. That’s not his real name, but his middle name is Joseph, so that’s what I’ll call him here. It’s hard to believe he’s going to be nine tomorrow. He was born on the Thursday of my week in the psych ward. On Saturday, I got a pass to leave for a few hours, and my mom took me to see him.

The first picture was actually used on his birth announcement that my aunt and uncle sent out to everyone. It was kind of weird for me, seeing it. It was cropped, and I know no one could tell it was me, but if you looked closely, you could see that the arm holding him was wearing hospital bracelets. I’m sure no one thought anything of it, and just figured it was my aunt holding him. But it was me.

It’s also kind of weird to me, looking back, that I was wearing short sleeves. Obviously you can’t see my arms in the pictures – thank God! – but if you could, you’d see the still-healing cuts.

But the weirdest thing of all to me is remembering when my aunt asked me if I would be Joe’s godmother. I didn’t understand. They wanted me to be his godmother? Me? The girl who was so messed up that she was in the freaking psych ward when he was born?! Why would they ever want someone like me to be his godmother?! I felt so honored. Loved. Valued. Believed in. Even with how messed up I was, they still believed in me. There’s a reason Joe’s mom has always been my favorite aunt. 😉

My godson turns 9 tomorrow. I can’t believe how fast the years have gone by. He’s growing up to be a great kid – he always has been a great kid, and I’m so proud of him. He’s smart, and he’s funny, and him and his big brother “Michael” are two of my favoritest little cousins ever. (Admittedly, I’d say that about all of my little cousins, but that doesn’t make it any less true!) =D

And as for me, I’m so far beyond where I was 9 years ago. The cuts that were on my arms then have faded into old scars. At the end of the month, it’ll be 3 years since I last cut myself. I’ve learned how to deal with my depression in healthier ways. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been suicidal.

I even look healthier now. The past couple of years, my mom has made a lot of comments about how I need to lose weight, but I don’t agree. I know I’ve gained, and I’m not as thin as I used to be, but when I look at those pictures from 9 years ago, I’m glad. I don’t just look skinny in those pics, I look sick. Sure, I could stand to lose a few pounds now, but I think I look good the way I am. I’m pretty sure my mom is the only one who thinks I’m overweight. (Not too long ago, she actually offered to pay me to lose weight, but that’s another story. I turned her down. I need the money, but not at the expense of my health. Nooo thank you!)

Anyway, my life isn’t perfect, and I’ve still got a long ways to go, but when I look back, sometimes it amazes me how far I’ve come. Life is good. =D

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The Journey from Fear into Freedom

Drama & Ministry = New Favorite Class!

Seriously, we got to choreograph our own dances and then perform them today. Do you know how much I miss dancing??

I REALLY miss dancing!

So, I wanted to write about it a little bit. Or a lot. Probably a lot, knowing me.

First of all, wow. I saw some seriously powerful dances today. I just got home from class, so I’m not really going to write much more than that because I need to process it all in my head first. I don’t have the words yet, but trust me: these dances were powerful.

Sometimes I have a hard time finding words for things, especially in speaking. The words come easier when I write, but even then sometimes they just can’t express what I need them to. This is why I do expressive arts therapy. When the words aren’t there, I can make a collage or a sand tray or dance what I’m feeling instead.

So creative works are very personal to me. Not something I share with many people. I don’t want these deeply personal things out there for people to tear down, stomp on, laugh at. I don’t want more people telling me that I’m not good enough. If I put these pieces of myself out there for people to see, I’m vulnerable and I can be hurt. People can take those things and twist them around and use them against me. So most of the time, I keep my writing, my art, my dancing, my singing to myself.

I’m trying to change that. That’s part of the reason I have this blog. It’s part of the reason I’m in Drama & Ministry right now. I knew it would take me out of my comfort zone and force me to open up and share with people, and that’s what I wanted.

Anyway, I wanted to write about the dance I did today, and the background of it. I got to do a little introduction/explanation before I danced, but there wasn’t enough time to go into the whole story. Plus, I wasn’t about to start talking about my therapy and such in front of everybody. So it’s going here instead.

The dance started out as a sand tray.

A few months ago in therapy, I made this sand tray. I don’t remember it exactly, but I think there was a figure of a girl. There were trees – I often use trees in my sand trays. It’s a symbol that is really meaningful to me in a lot of ways. But the main focal point was a large stone bridge in the center of the tray. On the sides of it, I sprinkled shells and shiny colored stones. The final item was a house.

When I was finished with the sand tray, my therapist asked me to tell him the story of this particular sand tray. It starts with the girl – me. She sets out on an adventure…sets out on her own, away from her emotionally abusive family, away from these things that are weighing her down. She comes to the forest and finds refuge there. Trees are safe. She journeys through the forest, and then she comes to the bridge. She walks onto the bridge and sees the treasures below – the shells and pretty rocks – and admires their beauty. She crosses the bridge and comes to the house. There are lights on inside and a fire in the fireplace. There’s a family there, warm and welcoming and loving, waiting with open arms to invite her in to stay.

(I wasn’t quite that articulate in therapy, but like I said – I do better with writing than speaking.)

I had mentioned dance to my therapist before, and we had done a little bit of it in previous sessions. He asked me if I wanted to go into the studio and dance my sand tray. So I did.

He put some music on, and I began to dance. Starting in a corner, curled up in a ball, covered with a blue scarf. Hesitantly peeking out. Slowly standing. Trying to move forward, but being pulled back. Sometimes moving a little further…only to get pulled back by the blue scarf representing my family, my past, my issues, again. This went on for a few minutes until I finally broke free and left it behind.

And then I was in the forest. Exploring. On my journey. But still sometimes looking back to the corner where I left that blue scarf – turning back, but then moving forward again.

I found a gift in the forest, represented by another scarf, this one a shimmery pinkish-gold. My T asked me what the gift was. I thought for a few seconds.

“Hope.”

With my gift, I continued through the forest with more confidence, more courage, more freedom. I reached the bridge and danced there. The whole journey – through the forest to the bridge – took about ten minutes or so, I would say. There was a lot of repetition, but that was okay, because I was just dancing what I felt, for me, not for anyone else.

And then I reached the house…the loving family welcoming me in, and finally, I was safe and happy and I could rest.

Safe. Loved. Accepted. Wanted.

you can rest now. you are safe. you can sleep.

In the end, the dance took somewhere between 15-20 minutes. It was a powerful experience, and I know it’s something I’ll never be able to duplicate. That said, I used it as the inspiration for my Drama & Ministry dance. My T even let me borrow the music we used when I danced it that day in therapy. I had to shorten it up, modify it, do some actual choreography and practice instead of just improvising, but I like the way it turned out.

Even though that first experience of dancing it in therapy can’t be duplicated, it was still powerful for me to dance it in class today. I hope I managed to convey the idea, the story, the feelings to the audience as well. Honestly, I just went up there and got lost in the music, the dance. I hope it showed what I wanted it to. But even if it didn’t, it was good for me. Healing. Getting up there and sharing a piece of myself, something that came from deep inside me, something that I normally hide. Putting it out there for others to see. Trusting that they will be gentle with it, with me. That they won’t use it to hurt me or turn it against me.

Seriously, I love this class.

On kind of a fun note, the music I used was Zoe Keating – the CD was “Into the Trees,” and the song I used was called “The Path.” Fitting, hm? I thought so. Another fun fact, I picked out what I was going to wear – my nice black pants, and a tank top that was part of a dance costume back when I danced at Riverbend. Then I realized that the pants were actually the other half of the costume. And then I realized that the dance was called “Pathways.” Again, fitting. I love it when things all come together like that. ^_^

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Love vs. Care

Just a quick little thing I was thinking about today.

I realized that for me, the word “care” is a stronger word than “love.” That struck me as kind of weird at first, but when I thought about it more, it made sense.

The word “love” was thrown around quite a bit in my family growing up. My mom and dad said they loved us at night when we went to bed, when we went to school in the morning, when dad left for work…but when their actions stopped matching up to the word, it kind of lost its meaning. “I love you” became empty words, just something to say.

On the other hand, “care” was also a word that was thrown around a lot, but it was usually preceded by the word “don’t.” As in, I’m trying to tell one of my brothers something and they interrupt me saying, “Yeah, I really don’t care.” I’m not by any means putting this just on my parents and my brothers, it’s something all of us do, me included. I’ve said that same phrase back to my brothers countless times. But the point is, in that case…the actions did match up with the words.

So now, when someone says that they care about me, that’s meaningful to me. To me, that means that they want to be involved in my life in some way. It means that I’m important to them. Valued. I’m worth something to them. And that means a lot.

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