The light of a Soul

URGH!!!!!

There are times in my life that I regret. Magnificent moments of utter catastrophe. Moments you  hide even from the closest of close friends. Moments that not even copious amounts of alcohol can prize from your soul. They are the moments that people judge you for – whether they have a right to or not. Regardless of how far you have come. Where you are now. What you have achieved. Moments of black that mar your soul and shape your destiny. Moments where you are so far from Grace and Faith and Hope that nothing makes sense. Nothing matters. Except stillness. And dark solace. And no more pain.

Those moments I can deal with. I am good at moments like that. There have been rather a few. So I know how to process. The decisions that lead to an event and an event so huge it carries visible and emotive consequence. I am very good at consequences.

But what about the small moments? The little ones where you harm another without intention? The moments when you make another doubt who they are. Or perhaps even what they are. Not with any kind of maliciousness. Not with any kind of wish to harm. But harmful none the less.

I don’t have many close, call in an emergency type friends. Friends that, at your lowest point – the point when your damnation of yourself is absolute – they still find the grace of your soul beautiful. Friends like that. The ones that God sends. I have been luckier than most I guess. Over the years, God has blessed me with a few. Perhaps because he knew I would need them more than most.

I do have many, many acquaintances. People who are fun. People who fill the grey of a rather mundane and introverted life with light and colour and balance and joy. They are ‘acquaintances’ merely in the distinction of the 2 words. They add immense value to my life. And I would hope that I add immense value to theirs.

Sometimes though, the acquaintance crosses over into the friend. They bring an intrinsic value to my life that belongs only to them. Sometimes, Faith brings them. Sometimes, work. Sometimes, worlds just collide and the light in one sees the light in another. And the light makes sense. The light of a similar soul. A similar Grace. A similar Faith. The light in one soul, understands the light in another. That is how I see real friendship. The light in one soul, finding, understanding and accepting the light of another soul.

Except this time, because of stupidity. Or naivety. Or just some complete assholic batshit craziness on my part – someone ended up getting hurt. Those moments – I don’t always know how to process those moments.

So generally – I write. Because in anonymous words I can find the ways to say sorry that I cannot always find in person.

Without intent. Without malice. Without wanting to. The massive amounts of stupid that I carry around in my soul reared it’s head and bingo bongo – shitstorm.

I hurt someone I really didn’t want to hurt the other day. Someone kind, and gentle. Someone gracious. And Grace filled. Someone that is already filled with hurt. The hurt of others, the hurt that others leave behind – but also the hurt we inflict on ourselves. I understand that kind of light.

Over the years, I have a learnt that Grace sometimes leads us to places we don’t always understand. But we still have choice. I got a bit lost in the stupidity of choice. And I made the wrong choice.

I will not chose wrong again. And I won’t let you chose wrong, with me, again either.

I am so sorry.

I will not hurt you again.

I promise.

The Loudest Introvert

The most profound thing profoundly smacked me right in the centrals the other day.

Rewind a bit first.

I am the life and soul at work. I am friendly and gregarious and open and trusting and kind and like to bribe people and especially like to feed people and most especially like to spread my knowledge around. Good things up the freaking ying yang. Happy things up the Christmas Tree. Blah blah blah.

I am funny as pork. Seriously. Ask anyone.

And because of all those things – people assume they know me. Worse yet, I assumed people knew me better than I knew me.

Obviously you are extroverted Jessie. Obviously you are all the things extroverted people are. OBVIOUS!!!

*insert mandatory Lunch Bar advert here and give away my age*

Except No.

I get to work rather early. I do allot of the very many things that my job entails while the office is quiet and calm and before all the peeps arrive.

And then I get to be me. The me who is friendly and the life and soul and smart and helpful and fast and considerate and and and blah blah blah up the freaking banana loaf.

IT IS EXHAUSTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I go home, I would really rather not see anything human. Quite often, I absolutely need to have a nap. I never do, because that is just sad and I am not that old, but still. The eyelids betray me.

I spend time with the fluffs and I cook and faff and watch rubbish on YouTube and then I Netflix and Chill.

Alone.

Because point in fact peepers. I am not an extrovert. I am an introvert.

You may think you know me better than I know me. But actually. You are wrong.

Funny thing about being exactly who you are and rejecting all the labels people think they are allowed to stick to you.

And yes, on one memorable occasion someone actually stuck a green sticky note to me with a single word on it.

Eccentric.

Well I raise you your sticky note and hereby embrace the eccentric.

I am loud as bananas. I have friends that seriously struggle with it.

I am sarcastic as all holy hell. I know people who simply take offence.

I am smarter than most people I know. I know that sounds vain but that doesn’t make it untrue, in my own way.

I am kinder, freer, more honest, more loyal, nicer, lovelier, truer, and funnier than so many people. Not better than. Just more me than. And that is awesome.

Labels can do so very much damage to you, if you let them stick.

Never let another persons sticky note for you stick.

Find your own labels. Find your own self. Be the loudest introvert that anyone ever met. Then go home and revel in the restorative quiet.

Be the most sarcastic empath, the smartest doffle, the loveliest chubber, the funniest kind. The least religious faithful one.

Be you.

Own your shiz.

Your shiz is fabulous.

Now bugger off and let me try to NOT have a nap.

*insert another gratuitous Lunch Bar advert just cause it brought back so very many memories and I loved it growing up*

Where the Light Lies

Hope if a funny old thing. We manage to find it in the most unique and desperate places.

It isn’t always called Hope. Sometimes we call it Faith. Sometimes it is called Surviving.

Sometimes it doesn’t really have a proper name.

In the darkness – it is simply a facet of your being.

A glimmer deep in your soul that reaches out for life. For love. For peace. For something better.

Sometimes, it is very simply, your soul searching and reaching for where the light lies.

The light of laughter on a cool evening.

The light of joy in a smiling baby.

The light of faith in an everlasting.

The light of healing in the face of illness.

The light of enduring when faced with devastation.

The light of a God, when you know you didn’t get here by yourself.

The hope that the light will find you and love you and accept you anyway. Even when you don’t love yourself.

It is always there. Even when you see only darkness.

It is there in the people around you, the ones that are light.

The ones that are hope.

Because they are there.

And they see the you that, just for a moment, you cannot.

May the light find you.

And may you find where your light lies.

 

The Story of Me

I have a nasty habit. A destructive, cruel and mean streak that flays skin.

That damages the soul.

A habit that finds the weak spaces and places and, like molten lava on bare land, burns chaos into being.

I hold myself up to the blinding light of what I think I should be, must be, have to be, and am meant to be – for others.

Never for myself. Never valuing me. Who I am – above who others think I am.

I guess that the very act of acknowledging the glitch in the process is the first step to healing?

The story you have for me, is not the story I have for me.

And my story of me is what is important.

Smile

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I did 6 full sit-ups today. Doesn’t sound like allot does it? Sounds piffy and trite. 6 sit ups. Everyone else did 20. I only did 6.

Words can have so much power when you give them a chance. When you chose to phrase them a certain way. When you allow negativity to leech away your power, your self-esteem, your joy and your peace. Words can be a complete bastard sometimes. But only when you let them.

I only did 6 sit ups today. Everyone else could do 20.

Then again….

I only did 6 sit ups today, which is 6 more than I could do last week.

Everyone else did 20, and I am only 14 away from that. Everyone else has been doing this for many, many years. I have been doing this since 13 May, with a 3 week lung hiatus in between.

I have been doing this for roughly 3 months. And I can now do 6 full sit-ups.

I can do knee touching ground lunges.

I can squat like a girl trying to pee in long grass.

I can burpee. Badly – with almost no coordination. But I can burpee.

I can climb 9 flights of stairs. Slowly. With purpose and a heaving chest. But I can climb 9 flights of stairs and only stop once.

I can go to gym every single working day. And I can laugh and find joy and tease the other ladies and sweat and not care what I look like and shake like a tonsil and wound a hip and smile.

Smile as if the whole world is at peace.

Because today I am one step closer.

Closer to Fitness.

Closer to Strong.

Closer to Acceptance.

Closer to Love.

Closer to God.

Closer to Me.

Sometimes, you find the place you were meant to find. And it is filled with people that you were meant to find. Sometimes, God is very obvious.

#RedemptionFitnessCentre.

#ArranMckenzie.

I will wait.

I am not quite sure why, but today I thought about death. About suddenly passing on, with no goodbyes. No final curtains. No warning.

I thought about what would be left. What is still unsaid. What will maybe never be said. I wondered if people would say good things about me? Or if it would barely register?

I thought about the things I love. And the things that love me.

The things that I carry. And the things that carry me.

And I thought I would write this. So that it is forever. It is not meant to be a eulogy. Maybe one day. But not right at this moment.

To anyone that reads this. To whoever needs this. To whoever.

Please take care of the things I love. The places and people that have been important. Love the creatures that have kept me warm. The beings that comfort and give me life.

Please care for the things I leave behind. The little things, that matter to no one but me. The shared moments that form over a lifetime.

Please be kind to yourself. In the going about of your life. I have been so hard on who I am, that sometimes I have forgotten to be who I am. Never make that mistake.

Please believe that you are stronger than you thought. No one survives this world with their perfection intact. That does not make you any less perfect.

Please believe that someone, somewhere, loves you. Here or not. Aware or not. Alive or not. Someone, something loves you. Gives you Grace. Hopes for your Grace.

Please remember to breathe. And enjoy the things that really matter. For too long, I missed the little things. The fluffy things. The hopeful things. The pure joy of the breath. Don’t let a moment pass without finding a joy in those little things. In the breath of life. The breath of a friend. The breath of hope.

I have always loved you.

If you ever doubted it, I miss you.

If you ever thought you needed it, I forgive you.

I hope you forgive me.

Please believe that I wait. We all do. When that time comes.

I will wait. For all the things that I love. And all the things that I have ever loved.

I will wait.

The Small Things

Sjoe, I have been gone a while.
Thing happened. Reality shifted. Time passed.
And here we are.
Life has this really annoying and occasionally cool habit of throwing stuff back in your face. At your lowest, or your highest, or somewhere in between. A little memory. A little song. A little blog.
A little bit of God.
I forget sometimes how far I have come. How hard this road was to travel. Sometimes I traveled it alone. Sometimes with family. Sometimes with friends. I have written before about being the Black Sheep. About being the Fat Chick.
Reality is – we are who we are in the moment. As kind or vicious, as generous or selfish, as alive or dead, as happy or sad. All we have is a moment. Because the next moment may be a life ender. Or a reality shifter.
In a moment, a Blessed moment, I walked into a gym with a little bit of hope. And I met a lovely lady who runs a gym, a lady of passion and laughter.
In a moment, an Inspired moment, I faced a lifetime of fears around what I look like. Around inherent sporting ability. And I thought screw it. I joined a gym.
In a moment, a Divine moment, I remembered that even though it is hard. I really do like exercising. I am crap at it. But that doesn’t change the Joy.
I have written before about finding Joy in the small things.
Sometimes the small things are the ache that comes from 18 flights of stairs.
The laughter that comes with trying to skip.
The giggle that accompanies a burpee done in the style of a deranged alien.
Sometimes the small things are driving on a farm road at 5 in the morning. In the mist.

Just you and your God.

Sometimes the small things are realising that you came from here….

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And you have gotten here so far…..

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With a whole world still to go…..

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Me

Hello.
You don’t know me. Not yet anyway. I am you, 27 years on.

You turned 40 the other day. It came and it went much like any other day. There was some celebration, there was some sadness. But it passed. Much like any other day.

You worry so much about not fitting in. About not having friends. About what people think of you. About whether your mom and your dad value you. About whether your brother and your sister love you.

Stop worrying. All those nights of tears and fretting get you absolutely nowhere. Not one bit of the energy you expended ever changed anything anyone ever thought of you, did for you or meant to you.

Stop worrying Jessie. You will be ok.

I have to tell you that your dad dies soon. A massive heart attack. Norine comes, and Stephen eventually. And then they leave and it is just you and mom.

In time, you forget what he looked like. You forget what he sounded like. You forget who he was. Because you barely knew him. All that becomes important is whether or not he was or is proud of you. And it doesn’t matter one way or the other. The only person who has to be proud of you, is you. Learn this now. Learn it well. Because you will fight this demon all your life. And it will win. Every time someone doesn’t measure up to the ideals you have set for them. Every time someone leaves. Every time someone disappoints you. Somehow, you manage to turn it into something you did wrong.

Stop. Learn the lesson. Don’t take other people’s shit on as your own. And try to remember your dad as best you can, for as long as you can. Because you will miss who you think he was, who you hoped he was, who you believed him to be every day for the rest of your life.

Over time, your mother develops an unhealthy attachment to you. Your nature, and her nature, clash and crash and nothing good comes of it. It will shape you and affect you in ways that no one will ever understand. Don’t let it. So much of the heartbreak you face, comes from this one simple fact. Your mother, however unintentionally, will mould you into a soul that is very damaged. Stop. Learn the lesson. Don’t let another person’s weakness become your own. But remember always, she did her best. It may not have been good enough for you, but it was her best. Don’t turn away from her. Love her as best you can. Because she is your mom. And one day, she will be all the family you have close to you.

When you get a bit older you are going to fuck up monumentally. You will think your life has ended. You will think you will never recover. You will believe that you are done. Don’t. Stop. It makes you strong in ways that no other person will ever be strong. Although the fear of it will haunt you forever. You will recover. You will get better. You will be okay. I promise. Just keep breathing. One breath at a time. This one moment does not define who you are. You fucked up. You are not a fuck up.

Even older still and you will get sick. Some weird mystery illness that they still argue about. Stop. Don’t let any doctor who you think knows better, tell you who you are. Don’t let them pump you full of the meds that will balloon you to 170kg’s. Don’t let them. Question everything. Make sure it makes sense.

Older still, and you will realise that you are ok alone. But that being alone all the time is hard. It is hard to never have anyone to rely on. It is hard to do everything alone. But you will find a few souls that hang out in the periphery of a life. Always there. They love you. Find them. Keep them close. You will need them.

One day, you will realise that your family is made up of so many animals. People will laugh at you when you call a dog your closest. Don’t care what they say. Every single life in this life, is worth love. Love them completely. Time will come when they will become your reason for waking. Your reason for going home. Your reason to be.

So much doom and gloom. So much to face in a short life.

And I haven’t even really started.

So let me tell you this.

You are beautiful Jessie. You are compassionate and kind and generous and smart and funny. You are loyal and true.

You are beautiful.

I am proud of you.

Every little bit of you.

Every big bit of you.

Every broken bit of you.

Every whole bit of you.

Learn your lesson Jessie. You matter to the only person that matters.

Yourself.

You are exactly who you are meant to be.

And you are awesome.

Reflections

This last year has been a journey into the vast unknown for me. This is what I learnt:

I am not the black sheep I always thought I was. Yes, I once was a black sheep, but I have finally stopped letting that one moment of stupid define me. Mostly. Work in progress.

I am not the younger, weaker, less reliable sibling. Yes, in my life I have probably chosen or been manipulating into being that one, one too many times. That is not who I am. I have picked up a load that I would not have chosen for myself, and I have carried it rather well.

I empathize too easily. Far, far too easily. Sometimes, you have to let people deal with their own shit. Regardless of how much easier if would be if you did it for them.

I have more, and better, friends than I thought I did. Friends that take a mommy chicken when I can’t. Friends that bring me pretzels because I asked for them.  Friends that encourage and motivate and sometimes, just listen. Friends that go out of their way to be friends.

Making new friends is hard. So value the ones you have.

I need to sleep 8 hours minimum a night. If I don’t, the emotions in my head get too big for me. There is no fault in that, it runs in our family. Ensuring I get 8 hours plus a night, most nights, is me prioritizing me.

Losing a family is harder than I can ever tell anyone. But it is ok too. Loving someone means wanting what is best for them. Even if it doesn’t suit me.

It doesn’t matter how good you are, how loyal or true or kind or generous or understanding. Sometimes, because of the space that others find themselves in, you have to close a door and leave someone behind. Mourn the loss, forgive the hurt, remember the laughs. And move on.

Sometimes the load you carry feels like it will crush you into the ground. It rarely does. Unless you let it. Beyond all else, this year has taught me that actually, I am pretty damn fabulous.

Stronger than I thought.

Smarter and funnier than I believed.

Truer to my nature than others would have me believe.

Fat, fabulous, in control.

I think that sums it.

My weight is still an issue. Because I let it be. Because of massive doses of medication. Because I never learnt how to control it. But I keep trying. And despite what others say – trying matters. None of us are perfect.

Fabulous because I am me. And those that know me, will attest to that.

In control. Because what else is there?

Picture by Ann Gadd – http://artforewe.co.za/ and http://dogmaticart.co.za/