This morning I was thinking about how last summer I was painfully sad and unhappy; how I cried everyday and refused to smile. My birthday last year was miserable. I couldnt sleep for three days. I had a gift card to Anthropology, but spent fifteen minutes crying in the dressing room, until I just left. I made an emergency appointment with my psychiatrist, to try to remedy my insomnia-- everything feels harder when you're exhausted.
On my way home I called so many of my friends, but no one answered. I needed to hear that I hadn’t reached my peak, that adventure was still out there; that I was still loved. I tried one more person, and they picked up. We spent an hour talking about how Jesus cares about my soul just as much as he cares about my spirit. That He wants me to be whole. Eventually I calmed down. But I wouldn't let my family celebrate me. No cake, no singing, no presents.
I’m so thankful to say that things didn’t stay that way.
This year has been hard. But it’s been really sweet. And both of those things can be true at the same time. Since coming home, I began the difficult journey of freedom. Coming home set me free, but I couldn’t see it for a while. Coming home exposed my secrets, it ripped off the blankets that were pulled over my head, the blankets I had been hiding under for years.
I was living a life of escaping, constantly in a state of flight. Always hiding in empty rooms, sleeping with blankets over my head, hiking up mountains and sitting under trees, trying to will myself to disappear, or at least teleport to an uninhabited planet where no one could hurt me and I couldn't hurt anyone.
In coming home, the blankets were ripped off, the lights were turned on, and I was set free. I was set free so I could start participating in life, to actually live with eyes open. You can’t flourish in hiding, but participating is the best gift.
I remember a friend telling me that he thought I could be an artist and make it. Immediately I thought, “I can’t be an artist, because then I won’t be able to hide.” But here I am, creating in full daylight.
And now alongside wise people, I get to walk towards wholeness. I always wanted that, but its hard to find your way in the dark. But now, with lights on, I see that I’m moving in the right direction. I get to participate and flourish. I’m wanting wholeness with the same intensity of needing air.
I used to say “no” out of fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of myself. But now I get to say yes. And saying yes is the biggest gift.
Last summer I thought adventure was over for me. But my life has never been more adventurous as it is now. I've had amazing opportunities this year. From editing books to meeting the best people to helping with retreats and taking road trips and finding wholeness and starting up a business, I've been busy saying yes.
And I’m going to keep on saying yes and doing things that scare me. Because being brave is hard but it’s my right as Papa’s child. Every time I say no to fear and choose bravery, the more I’m my true self. I’m brave and love and safe and valued.
And in this place, I’m starting my 27th year. And every year just keeps on getting better.
You can read last year's birthday post here