epi_speaks

they're telling me it's time…

all of the things

i’m tired. not that this is the first time i’ve been tired or anything, but still. i’m tired, and my hands are shaking and i feel hot and sweaty and cold all at the same time. like my muscles have given up. like my heart has given up. i keep thinking about all the things i should be doing. all the things i have to do, but don’t have the time to do because there aren’t enough hours in the day, and i feel lost. if my feelings were symptoms listed in the dsm-v, the syndrome would be called “social worker syndrome.” or maybe what i’m feeling does exist. burn out. But i haven’t been doing this long enough to be burned out. Except I feel like I’ve been doing this all my life.  After 13 years in foster care, I woke up one day, 18 and surprised to have survived it all–fists, and not enough food, and other people sins driving my punishments.  I watched my sisters beaten and had my brothers (who I raised like my own babies long before I had the ability to actually make my own babies) ripped from my arms for neglect and abuse.  But I never hit them; I loved them with all of the love a 9 year old could. So, I felt useless.  But only because I was.  So at 18, I promised myself freedom from it all.  My promise wasn’t enough though, because then I spent 3 years advocating–feeling like my story wasn’t good enough to garnish care enough to make changes to make me a worthy expense.  And I felt so useless.  And then 2 years as a trainer, with all those people in all those rooms, in all those states staring at me with all their eyes (and sometimes words) screaming that i didn’t belong there. That I, a girl who made it through abuse and ugliness on solely a prayer most days, had no right to tell them how to be a social worker because what would a former foster kid know about foster care.  And I felt so useless.  And now, 2 degrees earned from 6 years of school later, I sit in an office more than 2 hours after the end of the day telling myself that it’s fine to miss another gathering of friends I only barely have because my work needs me more.  And I’m staring at my desk and it’s covered with the most urgent of the things I haven’t done, and I’m tired. So tired I could cry.  I spend my days moving from kid to case manager to biological family member and none of it matters if the paperwork isn’t in on time but none of the paperwork matters if the work isn’t done, and i’m tired. And I feel useless, as I chip away at my own life to make more time for work and then watch as work fills in the spaces I’ve made to catch up.  There’s not enough house, and I’m tired.  And I think about all the people who’ve said I “need to give up being a foster kid” and i know that I’m only here because I’ve been there, and I may change one person’s life.  But is that enough? And maybe they’re right, because if I wasn’t a foster kid once, I could walk away. If I wasn’t a foster kid, I’d be on a couch sipping a warm PBR with friends, but now I’m rambling, so I’ll stop. It’s just…  I’m tired.

update.

It has been a long time since I’ve blogged. I make no apologies. My last blogs were senseless wanderings and wonderings about searching for God in the midst of sin, discovering myself, and a despairing sense of uncertainty about everything–made tangible by a lack of employment.  I spoke about my fruitless desire to write something worth reading. 

 

Here’s my update:

I am no less sure of how to love God in the midst of sin, and I am no less sinful. My sin is real. Still. So real that I sometimes choke on it. But, it is what it is. I’m giving it to God.  Which, I have learned, is not an act for me… but a process. I have years to walk in this. I’ll need to learn to trust again (have I ever trusted?). I’ll need to learn gentleness in handling a person’s heart (including my own). I’ll need to learn to accept lifelong imperfection. I’ll need to learn to love, and in doing so, perhaps to be loved. And, I’ll need to learn to both speak, and hear, the word “no.”  All of these lessons must be applied to myself, those around me, and God. I don’t need to know how to do all of them all at once. I just need to start somewhere, and have faith that God will give me what I need, when I need it.

I still have not “discovered” myself, though I’m becoming more comfortable with who I am (and chuckling that I ever thought a 25 year old could discover the meaning, purpose, or direction of her entire life).  In any case, I don’t want to know myself. That feels like awakening on Christmas morning knowing every secret gift meant to be hidden beneath beautiful paper. I want the delight, surprise, pain, and joy of discovering as I go along.

I’m still uncertain. Okay? We are all. I’m surrounded by people who are equally confused and frustrated by a lack of knowing. I’ve decided that I’d rather be uncertain than alone in my station.  Employment? I have it. I sometimes hate it, sometimes love it.  I lose my breath in fear that I won’t be able to get it all done. I rejoice with small accomplishments. I try not to forget the hunger for purpose I felt when I was searching for this job. I try to remember my gratefulness when I was finally hired.  Some days I do better than others.

And writing? I have journals in my desk, my car, my briefcase, and underneath my bed filled with half-expressed thoughts on love, anger, desire, God, sin, marriage, family, and need.  I don’t date the entries. If I ever revisit my written past, I might not be able to tell what any of it means.  And even if I do, my words may never be more than scribbled feelings in tattered books. But I stopped trying to write to be heard, and started writing just to speak.

It’s been a long year. I’m tired. I’m still carrying old hurts that seem to haunt me at every turn. I cry less, and hug my sweet niece less. My nights are restless as I wrestle with sleep; my body is starved for rest.  And yet? I’m not unhappy.  It might be that accepting my ignorance was the key; it might be that happiness is easiest found when you stop looking for it. I don’t know. I struggle to care. Right now, it’s enough to just be.

lonely valentine’s day posts confuse me…

i’m not sure why I should be lonely today

with a full heart safely in its ribbed cage

a body that wants for nothing, save a touch

or impossible knowledge that it’d never age

 

giving back the growing number of days wasted

in youth, in gleeful ignorance, thinking

“oh, tomorrow will come in its own time—

today I’ll spend merry—eating and drinking”

 

if I were meant to be lonely, shouldn’t I always be so?

instead of choosing one day to mourn a life wasted; one

day for a series of days mis-spent, misused, misappropriated?

how could one day spent feeling lonely, even begin to dent

 

a whole lifetime of days done wrong? Days gone,

days unlived, essentially? why today, of all days,

should I choose loneliness? why not tomorrow, or last

week, to announce I’ve lived all the wrong ways?

 **this isn’t finished, dunno if it ever will be. but i’m tired.

 

 

Happy birthday to me.

My birthday is in less than 15 minutes. There are tears in my eyes. Usually, I find myself crying over what I’ve lost; mourning the parents I could never have. Hating that memories of hugs, and arguments, and safety, and stability were stolen from me. This year, I find myself broken over what God has given to me. This year, God used my birthday eve to remind me what has been taken from me (as usual), but then… to show me what He’s given me. For the first birthday I’m not angry that I was robbed of something I considered to be a right, but grateful. Because He’s never left me. Even when I felt abandoned, He was there, watching over me. I’m still sad I think, but not so much because I feel slighted… instead, I ache for my parents who spend my birthday, and my sister’s birthdays, with empty arms. My heart breaks knowing that theirs is a life of regret, filled with mistakes that can’t be taken back. I hurt for them.

Now, my birthday is in 9 minutes. I’ll sleep knowing that I’m safe. Loved. Cherished. Protected. By a God who loves me. By a God who has given me sisters that share my eyes, and my smile, and my twitchy dance, and my… awesome? taste in music. By a God who has given me a community that doesn’t let me hurt alone. And by a God who gave me a family who CHOSE (and chooses) to love me.

Happy birthday to me. And for the first time in as long as I can remember, I believe that.

I keep coming back to this…

I was 21. And even though my tiny boos don’t know how young that is (they think I’m crazy when I talk about 25 like it’s 50; it feels like it)… I remember. I keep trying to forget, keep trying to move on, but I can’t. Because I remember being 21. That was the year I decided I needed to have my heart broken. That was the year I told God to leave me alone. To let me be. To let me LIVE. (To remember… hurts. I mean really hurts. My heart pushes and pulls, as if memories are carried in blood, and that bad blood needs to be forced out so I can heal. But so many of my memories… It hurts.) And that’s the beginning. It’s a part of my story I can’t hide if I want to tell people how I love God, who I am. I do though, hide it. Because… I was 21, and I said, “God let me get my heart broken. It’s what I need to become a good writer. I don’t have anything to say right now.” I thought heartache and heartbreak would feel beautiful. Like a run; it hurts, but doesn’t–all in one, it’s everything (and in the end, it feels worth it–that’s how I imagined heartbreak would be.) And so, joyfully leaving God behind, I went. I lived my life. I woke up every day, and slept every night, and in the middle tried desperately to find someone who would love me enough, who would break my heart. (Now I know that what matters in the matter of heart-break is not necessarily how much someone loves me, but how much I love them. I didn’t know that not loving someone could break my heart. I didn’t believe that anyone could ever not love me. I didn’t know that losing someone you’ve loved means losing a piece of yourself. I didn’t know. And now I do. And now I wish I didn’t.) I lived carelessly. Imagine a busy street, a rush hour highway even. Imagine a girl slowly moving moving across that road, weaving in and out of cars. Even though most attempt to swerve, attempt to avoid her, some can’t. Collision. That’s how I found heartbreak. A collision. It wasn’t beautiful. It didn’t make me a better writer. It made me unsure; it made me timid and fearful; and it made me lost.

I keep coming back to this because I want to punch 21-year-old me in the gut. I want to change the past. I want to undo what I’ve done. I want to plead with God for forgiveness. I can’t. About the latter, I should, but I can’t, because I’m ashamed. I don’t even know why I’m writing this, on this public forum. I barely write anymore. Everything I have to say, hurts. I want to love God more. I want to give Him everything. But I keep coming back to this: I asked God to leave me alone, and I think He did, and it makes me mad. And that seems wrong, but it… it feels like truth. Some things just are; even if they don’t have to be, they are.

Praying with my little boos tonight, I pleaded with them to turn to God now. I asked them not to wait. I told them… if I could be where you are… If I’d only known. My cries were those of desperation. I can’t undo my past, but surely… surely, I can play a role in changing someone else’s future?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers