21 04 2007

j0321209 (2)

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” ~ Galileo Galilei


Forgiven, But Not Forgotten

18 04 2007

j0262948 (2)

Generally, when I think of forgiveness, I tend to think of the humbling relief that comes from being honestly forgiven after you’ve said something hurtful that you didn’t mean, or, at least, didn’t mean to say. But forgiving someone else can be a nice feeling, too, but it normally comes after a lot of not-so-nice feelings.

You know that person in the world who you’d rather eat a large helping of mud than have to talk to because they did something – either because they’re stupid or just downright mean — that ripped you into little bite sized bits? Well, I ran into my I’d-rather-eat-mud person yesterday.

I wasn’t exactly thrilled when I saw her, but we were both standing in the same line, so hiding or pretending I didn’t notice she was standing right beside me weren’t really options. And so, with an oversized amount of awkwardness and civility hanging in the air and swirling around our heads, we chatted briefly about pointless, frilly things that neither of us cared anything about – the weather, hair dye – and talked so vaguely about our lives you’d think we kept the smallest details as close to our hearts as a card shark keeps his hand. 

As our line came to an end, and we parted, I wished her well. And you know, I actually meant it. I honestly hope life turns out well for her. I still don’t trust her any farther than I can throw her, and I have no desire to go out for Starbucks with her, or to sit around a campfire singing Kumbaya and roasting marshmallows. She hurt me, but knowing I’d forgiven her — even though she’ll never know I have — made me feel like the last bitter string of our former friendship had been cut, and I was free.

Even though I can’t flip a switch and erase the unpleasant words that were said in the past from my mind, she no longer unconsciously has any control over me, because I’ve let it go; I’ve wished her well.

Forgiveness is very freeing.

Behind the Painted Smile

12 04 2007

j0341539 (2)

“I can’t let them know who I really am, Kelsey,” she said with pain in her voice, “Because they’d be so disappointed if they knew I wasn’t doing as well as they all think I am — if they knew I don’t have it all together.”

I tried pulling her out of the mental hole she’d fallen into; I said she was merely human, just like everyone else, so she wasn’t perfect, just like everyone else. But the topic was closed and she had no desire to be thrown anymore ropes.  She wanted to stay in her hole.

Like so many other people, this young girl had decided she couldn’t allow anyone to see the scared, broken, hurting person behind the mask.

Life: The Masquerade

We learn at a young age that life is a large and elaborate, 24/7 masquerade ball, and if you’re going to play the game, you have to hide your shortcomings, struggles, pain and imperfections behind a painted smile, just like everyone else does.

Unfortunately, while we watch the endless parade of smiling, confident faces stroll past us, we often forget we’re attending a masquerade ball, and that almost every face is completely hidden from view behind a bucket full of paint. Everyone else appears beautiful and put together, so we desperately cling to our own masks a little tighter, hoping no one will notice the confident, perfect grin we’re showcasing will smear the next time it rains.

It’s the domino affect in action, and it starts with just one person deciding to sport a mask. The people around them then analyzed their own wrinkled, pimply faces in the mirror and decide they’re falling short, so they invest in masks, as well. Before long, there isn’t a single person left who even remembers what it’s like to be transparent, honest and real.

Broken and Scary   

We’re told we’re suppose to be as normal and all-American as The Brady Bunch, but if people truly knew us, we’d all probably come closer to resembling The Addams Family – eccentric, dark, a little scary, and just downright weird.

People are hurting, grieving, living, and dying alone.

And the most heartbreaking part is there are others who are just as scary and broken as they are, but they’re also hiding behind a painted smile.  Just like everyone else.


10 04 2007

j0382859 (2)

You know the feeling you get when your foot falls asleep after  you’ve been sitting on it?  How it feels so numb you’re not even sure if you pulled out a fork and jabbed it a couple of time you’d notice? I feel like someone could jab me emotionally with a fork right now and I’d barely feel a thing. 

Another holiday’s come and gone. I felt too apathetic to do much more than glance at the date on the calendar. I’ve never particularly been a holiday enthusiast anyway, but all holidays – especially family holidays – have now become something to survive, to take a deep breath and get through, rather than something to look forward to and enjoy.

I smile on holidays and cheerfully wish people a happy whatever it is, but I feel too numb to honestly even care if every holiday was suddenly permanently deleted from the calendar, sucked into a black hole somewhere in the cosmos and gone forever.

I feel numb, frozen and apathetic. Like a zombie who somehow escaped out of the TV screen during “Shaun of the Dead” and is now feeling out of place here in Human World. I get out of bed, eat breakfast, brush my teeth a couple of times too many, and continue on with my day, but I’m only going through the motions. It’s like I’m stuck on a treadmill, running in place. I don’t know where I’m going, and I don’t even know if I care.

I didn’t use to feel apathetic. For awhile I felt afraid; afraid to dream or plan, because everything had crumbed and fallen into ragged shards, and I was tired of bending over and sweeping them up off the ground again and again. I was afraid to reach out to people, too, because I learned even the nicest ones sometimes bite and it hurts when they do.  

But even though I’m no longer as frightened by the pain of broken dreams, plans and friendships — I expect them, the same way I expect summer to come after spring — I’m apathetic.  Maybe it’s because it doesn’t hurt as much to have something ripped out of your hands when you weren’t holding on to it tightly, when you didn’t really care. 

I want to feel passionate about something again, to feel more than just numb. I want to feel alive. I don’t feel sad, angry or afraid; I don’t feel much of anything. I just feel numb.