Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Of Hope and Honesty.

I have this secret. In light of recent events I think I should share it.

Many of you who read this blog know I lost my brother almost 5 years ago by his own hand. No, we didn't expect it, to answer your next question. Last Wednesday I got the news of my wonderfully beautiful friend Becca taking her own life. To say my heart broke would be an understatement. We had talked the day before. It wasn't a heart to heart talk, or anything of that matter, but we did talk. Becca was a naturally beautiful young woman with a personality that was just as beautiful. My heart physically hurts knowing that she was so lost that she thought that was the only answer. It hurts knowing that she is gone. The only way to describe it is to just say "this sucks", and mean it in a way that is far beyond the casual way it's used now. I don't like goodbyes. I hate what death means. I hate knowing there are people who have to heal a hole in their heart that will never fully close. It just sucks.

Here's my secret.
Like I said many of you know about my brother. What few of you know about is me. And before say this, know that this is not a cry for help. This is a statement of my heart.
In eighth grade I tried to commit suicide. Unsuccessfully, obviously. The help I received was only because of my mom. She took me in and comforted me after I was out of the hospital. I owe a lot of my recovery to her. I was gone for almost two weeks without any contact with my friends. For me that was a lot, considering I had relied on them for so much before that time. During the time I was in the hospital and the years after I realized that being in that state of depression truly is a sickness. Some people need medicine for it. Some people just need a way to let it out that they were never taught. My conclusion was that we need love. The months following my hospital stay I was put on tons of medicines. At one point I was taking around 15 pills a day to keep my sanity. That's not me exaggerating, that really is true. During those times my emotions were out of control. I was horrible. Yet my mom still loved me, still cared for me, and never let me get too far out of her reach. At the time I hated her, but now I appreciate it. I realized that she was loving me in her scared nature. She wasn't about to another kid to this disease.
Her actions saved me in another time also. After she passed away I was set on leaving this world. I really didn't have any where else to turn. It was after my friend asked me to go to bible study where I got to know amazing people. I had it set in my mind that I wasn't strong enough for this life and what it was bringing me. That I was always going to be facing obstacles. I made my note, had it planned, everything. I know this is more than what you might've expected, but it's been on my heart to share it-so please stay with me here.
The same night I forgot I told my friend I would go to bible study with her. That Monday I stayed later and talked to Sarah who told me there was a God who believed in me, who loved me unconditionally. Words that seemed so simple, but changed my mind in a way that I've never expressed before. The words saved my life. I was reminded of a time almost a year ago to that date that I was loved by my mother and the many kids that are family to me. A reminder that I had people who relied on me, like I needed someone to rely on. I didn't know to the extent of which God loved me or believed in me then, and I never will, but it was more than what I had known in the past and more than what I had ever experienced.
It changed my life. It saved my life. And there was more healing in that night than in any years I spent going to doctors.
I love the people in my life more than words can express. I love knowing that there is a God who is relying on me to do His work down here in a way that only He knows. I love being here to help people.
There are nights that I spend contemplating this still. There are days where I believe my birth was a burden placed on my family and friends.
Then I stop and think of the ways people have loved me when it was so hard. The time that people have invested in me to become well again. They never knew the thoughts the consumed my mind, they never said those things to prevent a death. They said it because it is truth.

My message here is to tell you there is Hope. There is hope for love that is so unbelievably huge and overwhelming we will never be able to comprehend it. My message is also to tell you that you aren't alone if you feel like this. There are many times I am told I am strong and I ask why? What makes me strong like people tell me? Truthfully, I struggle. I don't always hold my head high. But I get through those moments knowing it's a temporary feeling.

If ever you feel this way I want to talk to you. I want to love you. I want to make known to you that you are loved, and even if it's not by many, it can be. If it's not by many that doesn't matter because just one person can save a life. I want to tell you that you are gifted in a way that may be unknown to you. I want to be a friend. It may seem ordinary, and simple, but I know that having just one friend can radically change a heart. I need to do this. If you don't want to talk because you don't feel like it will help, then help me. Help me by talking to me and allowing me to see your point of view. And to be there when you think no one else is.

I keep this above my bed to remind me every day of how there is always a light when there's darkness.

Photo of the drummer is from To Write Love On Her Arms-check it out

This is my message of Hope. This is my speaking with honesty.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for being there.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Alligator Sky

Over the past month I have wanted to think about the future-Stay with me here.
Last night at bible study we talked about ways we could have audacious faith, not by doing missions, but by taking a different approach to our everyday lives. And instead of using the excuse of not having the opportunity, we should open up our eyes more and we would see more ‘burning bushes’ than we think we’d see. The burning bush story comes from the story where Moses saw a bush on fire, but it was not burning up-the impossible happened.
All of that to say:
I never plan anything out. I hated thinking about the future because I was unsure of where it was to lead me. I didn’t want to voice where I was headed because to be frank, I really don’t know. This is uncommon in this world and in our culture. Most people have a plan; they know where they are headed and have an idea of what reality will be.
For me, I don’t want to live in this reality. I don’t want to wake up and have a 9-5 job like a lot of people do. I don’t want to be the logistical person who plans things out but passes up the opportunity to make it happen. I don’t want to “wait for another day”; I want to make today happen now. I want to make an opportunity for someone else to see a change made. I want the opportunity to pass on what helped change and save my life.
I was talking with a friend earlier about the future and every time she asked a question-I had an answer. A legitimate answer that could happen in real life. I discovered that I want to travel around and be a missionary for whatever organization will take me. After I said this, another friend came up and said that someone else wanted to do that exact same thing. As soon as they said that, I got goosebumps. Let me tell you, the only time I’ve ever had them is when I eat too much ice. It was a crazy feeling. It was my ‘burning bush’ or something impossible that I could see be made possible.
I don’t usually think about things that aren’t realistic simply because too many real things have brought my imagination down. My family calls me an “old soul” and my stepmom explains it because she says I’ve been around this life once or twice and I have some knowledge in me that couldn’t come from anywhere else. I hope you are picking up what I’m putting down. I’m not boasting about how mature I am, I am telling you things that come straight from the mouths of other people. Being told this stifles my inner child from coming out. Both forensics and this past year have been able to help me loosen up a bit. This helps me dream things I’ve never dreamed. Which leads me to the title…
My new favorite song is by a band that I absolutely love and desire the creativity that flows from the music. Alligator Sky by Owl City has to be one of the best songs ever recorded. Part of the song goes like this:
My imagination's taking me away 
Now I'mma dance like I never dance 
Sing like I never sing, dream like I've never dreamed 
Or try to, 'cause we've been lied to 
That the sun is somethin' that we can't fly to.
I think that many of us are brought down by reality. That this world and their expectations turn us into something we aren’t. And lie to us, making us think that the impossible isn’t possible. When in fact the impossible is the exact thing we can make possible. It’s what we are supposed to be doing. Using words like “almost” in front of words like “anything” make us think that there are things we aren’t able to do. They limit us.
The future is still unknown for me, and I love it that way. I love knowing that I am willing to be flexible and I am willing to be used for anything. I don’t know what will happen in my future. And to end this post I will leave you with this:
Even though I'll never know what's up ahead, 
I'm never lettin' go, I'm never lettin' go

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Where I'm From

This was a poem I wrote for my Creative Writing class. I started out being unsure of the assignment but looking back at it now, I am really happy I did it. This is just a glimpse of where I'm from...I hope you enjoy! (yes, the cursing was necessary-they are direct sayings my family repeats.)

I am from last minute ideas,
Spring breaks spent by the ocean, and summers on the lake,
I am from getting all dressed up on Christmas Eve,
Just to go miniature golfing in the freezing,
I am from Ryan, Rachael, Caite, and Mackenna,

I am from a string of ghosts; those taken from me far too soon,
I am from a dark past of fists and belts,
The screams of a woman being drown out by my brother’s voice,
The two ghosts most prominent in my history, but never again in my future.

I am from memories being captured,
From my elders being covered in sewer “mud”,
To my brother in diapers sipping on a cold Busch light,
I am from “you’re crazier than an shit-house rat!”
And "We're in Texas now, Shit!"

I am from being on my own,
Taking care of myself, and looking out for others,
Trusting on the notion that no one can be trusted,
I am from being abandoned and lost in the midst of chaos,

I am from the stubbornness of a mule,
To the unconditional love from a mother,
I am from a family that extends far beyond blood,
Friends who’ve been there in my weakest times,

I am from a youth pastor who saw something in a cynical, walled off teenager,
Transformed into a kinder, trusting spirit,
I am from big dreams and small expectations,
I am from a world that likes to be rocked constantly.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thoughts surrounding life.

1. I have come to the conclusion that being happy, and not worrying about yourself, brings out the best in you.

2. There are few things I know I can fall back on. One of them being God, the others are the people who are closest to me. The group that builds me up, not breaks me down. Which leads me to my next point...

3. This is a tough one for me to swallow. I know I love people, and this includes everyone. I know that in any given situation I would put my life on the line if it meant keeping someone else safe. My problem is knowing when it is okay for me to give up the fight, put my armor down, and walk away. I find that a lot of times with my family, I am easily dismissed, and that I can be irrational with them. I was talking with a friend of mine earlier and she told me to voice my opinion. We have had this discussion before, and we both have different views on the matter-which is totally cool. She tells me to voice my opinion more on matters that concern others, and I tell her to hush hers. I have found that certain people aren't going to change, no matter how, or in what language you speak up. Their beliefs are concrete most of the time, and telling them the opposite just stirs the pot and causes drama. The reason I call this drama is because you know going in that your voice will not be heard, yet you still try over and over again. Let me remind everyone of the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. I love the people, but I hate what talking to them brings me to.

4. If someone is praying for you to fail, or pray for bad things to happen to you- THEY AREN'T REALLY PRAYING! Prayer is a time to ask for the strength, wisdom, or whatever you need to build others up in a situation. 1 Thessalonian 5:11 says "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up..." If our intent is to harm someone else, we get nothing out of that. And praying that sort of prayer only tells God that you have no idea what he is, or what he wants from us. God is good, He is Love.

5. I literally lost the ability to feel hunger. I don't know why, or how. I don't want to think my body is failing me.

6. I need to find a way to be 18, or get a fake I.D. classifying me as a legal adult. It is super hard to do anything in life being underage. Like pay for a phone. This goes back to me hating how young I am.

7. Sometimes I think about my life, and I think about the situation my life was brought into. It would've been so much easier for my parents to never have had me. I am not being depressing. I'm being real. 
My mom and my dad did NOT love each other when they had me. They were at a point where they were both unhappy with each other. 
I was what kept them miserably together. 
They felt bad for divorcing because I was so young. 
I am the most difficult child for them. I don't do what they expect out of their kids, making parenting very challenging. 
My mom would not have had to wait for her back surgery-the one that they had to reschedule with a different doctor who ended up messing up. 
She also would not have gotten Chronic Pancreatitis because the doctors would not have preformed the fourth C-section. Putting more years in her life.
My brother and older sister would not have felt the need to take care of me. Putting an extra burden on them and taking precious time away from their childhood.

These are not things I am saying for attention- they are real life problems that could've been prevented had I not been around. I did not think these up, they have been told to me countless times by people.
I'm sorry if this seemed depressing. I did not intend for it to become that. These are the thoughts the consume my mind daily.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

There's More...

While I love the memories I have with my mom I never really got over the fact that we will never make new ones. And I love the pictures we have now, but we will never take more recent ones. This is a sad realization for me, yet I am comforted by this burden too. You see, without my mom’s death, I don’t think I would be where I am today, and I certainly wouldn't know the people I know today. This post is not simply in response to, it is a message that has been in my heart and today I think is the best day to express how I feel.

Sarah Beard is someone I care about so much. And if anyone has ever heard me talk, chances are, you’ve heard her name mentioned in a few of the memories I share. Her recent blog was such a blessing for me. It was an honor to read what she said about me, and to read what she did in memory of my mom, Maureen Patricia Rowe.

Sarah stepped into my life right around the time my mom passed away. Sarah entered my life in a way that was new to me. Having someone be my leader voluntarily, and willingly. She has taught me many things in the past year and a half that shaped who I am, and who I am growing into. I continue my walk with her even while she is miles away and I find that she will continue to be in my life with this distance. However, in this past year and a half it has been a blessing to have her take me in – as one of her own. I am truly honored to be a part of her life and to have grown with her by my side. There are many reasons why I can be sad about what happened with my mom, and there are many times where I let that sadness out. But I think a lot about how that event has led me to where I am, and to know who Sarah is.

Today is a day where I celebrate my own mom

And a day when I rejoice with the people who share an unconditional love, similar to that of a mother.

Sarah- I love you so much, and I am very grateful for your presence in my life and in my heart. The words you shared with me yesterday mean more than what I know how to say. You are truly one of the greatest people I know. I am honored to continue on this Walk with you. I hope that today you see how Mother's Day can be a blessing in disguise. I am who I am today because of you, and I am extremely humbled knowing how much you believe in me. You are changing the world, and have already changed the it with your presence. I pray that you see how much you affect all of us, and especially me.

There are so many other moms out there that I owe a shout out to as well. So many do wonderful things for their children, and for me. I am extremely grateful when it comes to people who are here for me and who are looking out for me. Happy Mother's Day to every mother, and leader in my life. Thank you for being wonderful. I love you so much!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

140 characters just doesn't do it justice

So…I have decided to share with you reasons why I love and appreciate what my mother did for me in the short time I had with her. I say short, but really 15 years is a long time, just not as long as most have. This is very similar to Sarah Beard’s post, and for that I am sorry for not being original, but it is very helpful.

1.   1. My mom dressed up, and got all pretty just to sit in the house all day. There would be no reason to go out, no one to impress coming over, and it certainly wasn’t a holiday every day. But she dressed up. Looked absolutely gorgeous just for herself. And that makes me very happy to know that she didn’t need anyone else to make her feel beautiful or any reason besides herself to get all dolled up.

2.   2. She took care of everyone. My friends soon became like her children. She would talk to them about things their parents couldn’t or wouldn’t talk to them about and she made it easy. There were countless times I came home to find my friends in my house watching tv with my mom. In the same respect, she made dinner for all of my friends. There would always be enough for everyone to have more than their fair share of dinner.

3.   3. She was the only disabled person who still could take me down. Seriously she has superhuman strength.

4.   4.  My mom told me how to not get caught and how to get out of certain situations. Like for her typing class, she got out of doing any work because she always had long fake nails that prevented her from being able to type correctly without hitting other keys. She always used to catch me in it though and told me “you can’t con a con”.

5.   5. My mom was extremely outgoing. She did random voices all of the time. Mostly to annoy me, but also to be really awesome.

6.  6. She loved to be ornery which is where I get it. She would purposely do things (like call me Zoey) to annoy me. She would also do really inappropriate things in public and then BLAME ME and scolded me in front of everyone for something SHE did! It was both humiliating and really funny.

7.   7. She broke every electronic device she touched, beyond repair. I don’t know how. I don’t know why. I don’t even know what she touched but it always ended up breaking and we always had to get something new. When we bought the laptop I am currently using, we made a rule that she could not touch it when she was not in her lesson. Yes, I gave her lessons on how to use the computer.

8.  8. She saved everything that could, at one point, be considered valuable. I don’t mean like jewelry (which she had too much of) but of papers, notes, cards, anything like that. She also saved all of us kids’ school papers and stuff. In her safety deposit box was all of the writings and songs that I had written while being there. She also kept copies in the house as well. It was great to find those, and it was even greater knowing she put them in there.

I love my mom. I know I have blogged about her before but she made a huge impact on my life. She has always been one of my leaders and one my very best friends, even through our worst times. There is not a day that goes by without me thinking about her. Every time I look in the mirror I see her smile reflecting back at me. There is so much of me, and so much of my heart that I owe to my mom and to the way she raised me. A lot of my beliefs are what they are because that’s what she preached and practiced. Not many people do that, but she did, and I admire her for that. Looking through her pictures I realize how beautiful she really was. I am proud to be her daughter and never will I be ashamed of that.

Friday, May 6, 2011

"A love so bold to see a revolution, somehow"

We have grown up, or grown into, a world that chooses themselves over anyone else. We choose to buy more things for ourselves than giving to those who need the basics. We choose to put down those who we feel are outcasts, only to make ourselves seem more superior. We proclaim that we are “broke” when we are richer than the majority who lives on $2 a day or less.  We rejoice in the death of someone who rejoiced in bringing death to someone’s brothers and sisters, making us no better. We spread the hate against our brothers and sisters by taking pride in our own country.

I get it. We all want to be the best. We are America after all, and we have to be the trendsetters of the world.

Do we really not see the ignorance in this?

People have existed before us and have done greater things than many of us will ever achieve by living this way. By condemning those around us for their mistakes while not realizing we are committing a vicious crime against our neighbors by placing guilt in their hearts. Instead of fixing ourselves, I think we have made the main focus of our lives trying to change those around us. We justify our actions by proclaiming that they “deserve it”.

So many of us are known for what they stand against, instead of what we need to stand for. People do a lot of criticizing and condemning when what we need to be doing is build something to spark a revolution. This movement will express the power of this love that has rescued us from ourselves and brought a light into our hearts and set them on fire.

I have big dreams. That is obvious if you read this blog. One of them includes becoming a sea turtle when I am older. The main one though is changing the world for the better. I know that there is a reason I am here, a purpose to fulfill.

My fear is that I will miss it.
My comfort is knowing I have a radically transformed heart.

These are my thoughts for now.