Last week, I began carting about small bits of paper in my phone case; each a note of encouragement or instruction to myself: “people are always strongest where the breaks are,” “love them with no regrets nor limitations,” and “stay in your own lane.” A few months ago, I may have passed this off as cheap mental foolishness. Today, these paper bits calm my head and heart; they remind me to act in line with who I am and want to be no matter the situation.
The powerfully and simply written little bits of paper help turn my thinking from the darkness of “I will never learn” or “I’ll always be alone…a ‘circus freak’ of nature and lack of nurture.” Small scrappy reminders paired with action help stop the spiral of despair and create space towards peace.
Action. I want to be clear about the actions involved in this re-learning of my value and worth. Up until very lately, I’ve operated off of an “Arbeit macht frei” mentality where work sets us free and big pain demands big work-lots of hustling for significance. I thought I’d passed this junk into the ether years ago. Now, I realize I just nobled it up and made it more Allie-fied. It didn’t work…all that try harder, learn more, do more, be more, love more, be all you can be and everything that is expected. Instead of freedom and peace, each hateful or “you-must-earn-love” thing said to myself or heard only added more boulders and barricades to my cave.
No matter how much I loved, worked, or adventured, I always felt less than. Not enough. A pest. A burden. Defective.
Since last week, I’ve stopped asking God to help me.
Instead, I’ve asked him to let me rest. Teach me to stop hustling for value-addedness and to trust him.
I even prayed, “please sit with me in this while I wait on you to act.”
To some, this late return to feeble faith is a step backward. Other friends might feel like their team won (the J Team). Not so fast.
I am not interested in applause or atta-gals. I’m interested in life.
I’m seeking help with respecting the truth of my worth, moving towards the MPA and grad school, and resting.
Those little scrappy pieces of paper and words I tote about help remind me that my life is inherently valuable…I am worth love and belonging. As are you. We are worth it.
If no one is telling you this, if your history has a deficit of love and real freedom…hear me. You are enough.
And no matter the shattering of our souls – present or past – we are beautiful. Our history makes us beautiful-a truth represented by the Japanese expression of “kintsugi” which means “golden” and “joinery”.
You see, the Japanese culture values the broken pottery bits when they are rejoined by a lacquer mixed with gold…kintsugi. Just like us; broken bits rejoined and recrafted in the precious metal of love, life, and hope.
About all the derring do I have right now, friends, is to be incredibly honest in the awkwardness of my own sadness and wrestling. An openness which may have already cost me.
I cannot be less; I know how much I have already lost to the dark and twisted silencing.