mental illness

yuri on ice: the queer love story that changed my life

yuri on ice: the queer love story that changed my life

I actually shivered a little from nervousness as I sat down to FINALLY write this post. This story is one that I've been wanting to write since all the way back in October, but for a long time, the ability to put it all into words had been eluding me, probably because, like I said up there, this show, this queer love story that I watched is solidly in the running with the top 5 most life changing experiences I've had. Within that top 5, I'd say that the life changing magnitude of this queer romance ranks higher than any formal church experience or anything else that's happened in a strictly "spiritual" context, which might surprise some people, especially other Christians.

And if you know me, you already know I'm talking about Yuri!!! On ICE.

one year anniversary

one year anniversary

I'll admit that this milestone crept up on me. So much has happened in the last year that I'd almost forgotten about this anniversary, but I suppose I'm not entirely surprised at the same time. Over the last twelve months, I've started a new job, started grad school to eventually become a therapist, dyed my hair silver (or white depending on the day), experienced the end of a really significant relationship, and even started going to church again. Amidst all the change, I almost didn't realize that I had also come up on my one year anniversary of

catching anxiety in its own lies


WHEN THE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD ARE PATHOLOGICAL LIARS


I have anxiety.

And actually, a lot of people have it. Anxiety related disorders are actually the most common type of mental illness, and for me, it usually takes the form of the voice of a pathological liar skulking around in my head. It doesn't always have to be huge things either. That's the thing about having the voice of a pathological liar living in your head; it lies about everything. Sometimes it lies about littler things whether you proofread that assessment for work enough or whether you were too awkward at that get together, when everything was really fine. But sometimes it lies about bigger things too, like whether your life is worth living or whether or not you're good enough of a person.


Anxiety lies about the little things and the big things. it's just what pathological liars do.


Something anxiety's lies often do to me is that they temporarily trick me into thinking I don't matter to anyone. It whispers into my ear saying that because this friend canceled those plans or because this person didn't text me back that they're just completely done with me. They're throwing me away and don't want to have anything to do with me anymore. It can sound a little overly dramatic, but it's one of the looming threats that anxiety holds over me, that all these people I care about are just going to one day pick up and decide that they're tired of me, and it's a terrifying cycle of thoughts. And it doesn't help that anxiety also often likes to borrow from the misguided words of the church when it hisses at me and says that people like me don't get to love or be loved because of who we are. It spits as it says that God doesn't love us and that we're damned to a life of loneliness while everyone around us gets exactly what we've been dreaming of. And it's those tiny snippets of lived experiential truth and the littlest fragments of maybe-they're-right questions that form the hooks that sink into me.

And I'll admit, it's hard and exhausting to be in a constant battle with the voices that populate your head, but the cheap trick they use over and over again is turning legitimate truths or fears into blanket statements, saying that because you don't have that relationship right now that you never will, or because you don't have it that you don't matter to anyone. It takes the truth that we're recipients of undeserved and unearned grace and tells us that we're the scum of the earth and that God could never love us. It takes all the honest truths that keep us humble and human and twists them just enough to make us feel like nothing.


their cheap trick is twisting legitimate fears or truths into blanket statements just enough to make us feel like nothing.


But the thing is: blanket statements are still lies, even if they've been inflated with partial truths that only apply part of the time. Knowing this, I think I'm slowly learning to see through the thin fabric of all those lies, and something I'm blown away by is that even as hard and arduous and emotionally turbulent as things like them can be, I'm finding myself so honored and often surprised that people in my life want me to be a part of things like meeting their significant others, witnessing their weddings, and savoring the final moments of their going away parties.

Though I'm often fixated on the things I wish I had, I'm finding myself newly reminded that despite what my anxiety says, I matter enough and people care enough to want me to be a part of those sweet moments. Sometimes I think to myself that perhaps this is a small and obvious realization, but it's also a powerful one that gives me another weapon to fight the voices and the lies that are often hard to distinguish from the truth, especially when they're so emotionally charged and play off the fears that already live in the recesses of your mind. This weapon of perspective and recognizing the lies for what they are is something that will need to be continually refined, but it's one that's already slowly proving to be effective.


And if any of them happen to be reading this, I just want to give a quick shout out to the following people who have, perhaps unwittingly, been helping me learn more about how the Lord sees us and the different forms love can come in. Maybe that doesn't make quite as much sense in writing as it does in my head, but I just want to say I love them and am thankful for them. So thank you & love you: Hannah Penz, Jasmine Bashore, Elise Krohn, Caitlin Gallagher, Ruth Schaefer.


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Thanks for stopping by!

laugh louder. cry harder.

laugh louder. cry harder.

January has always been a difficult month for me, sometimes for specific reasons, sometimes not, and this year is no different. Maybe it's part of that whole seasonal affective disorder thing. I wouldn't be surprised, given that Minnesota becomes a frozen hell for a couple months every year, and yet so many of us still live here.

This particular January, I've been considering more in depth how my word of the year, Abide, applies to all the different things we might experience in a given calendar year, including that odd "winter blues" sensation that tends to come around when the temperatures drop and the days get shorter. What I've been pondering is how maybe these valleys we find ourselves descending into are just another place God challenges us to remain in for a time. Maybe you're supposed to be in this low point for a while, and maybe that's okay.

broken iPhone screens

After a couple days of writing almost strictly poetry, it feels a little strange to be writing in more of a prose style again today, but then again, I think my prose has always skewed a little more flowery and poetic anyway. The process of writing this piece was almost the reverse of when I wrote 'roses,' trying to originally put this piece through a poetry filter when it ended up emerging as more of a prose piece.  

The initial idea for this piece came to me when I accidentally dropped my phone out of my locker while I was at the gym. At first inspection, all seemed to be well, but as I was getting ready to leave, I noticed some light refraction (really no other way to put it, haha) and realized that I had cracked my screen. My heart sank a little, seeing as I had already shattered my screen earlier this year and gotten it replaced, but my fears were quickly assuaged by a closer look that revealed it was only the glass screen protector that had a crack along its width (at least I think...I put it on slightly crooked, so it doesn't cover the entire right side, and the cracks only extended as far as the border of the glass screen protector, with the actual screen underneath not appearing to have any cracks, fingers crossed).

 

With a sigh of relief, I hurried home and almost immediately ordered another glass screen protector from Amazon to soothe my OCD, which was when I started to think about how much we worry and think about our phones, because any damage is readily visible and because we look at our phones dozens of times every day, while forgetting about so much of the invisible pain and suffering that people around us have gone through that we might never see, especially if it was in their past and they don't talk about it anymore, either because they've overcome it and it's truly behind them or because they live under the pressure of our American society which stigmatizes mental illness or any severe emotional trauma that people may have experienced. Out of those reflections, this piece was birthed.

 

Final thought: I've always been fascinated with pieces of writing, whether entire books, poems, essays, etc. that are titled after one single line or scene from its body, so I played with that a little with this piece.

 

--

broken iPhone screens

Maybe the most painful wounds we endure are the ones we cannot see, and the longest lasting scars the ones hidden beneath the surface of our skin. Because while sticks and stones may break our bones, words are the weapons that strike the soul. But the visual modernity of our minds is completely blind to these battles, and the casualty count is starting to rise.

 

If only we paid as much attention to broken people as broken iPhone screens, we’d be aware of these cardiac spider web cracks reaching into the pulmonary, fracturing our breath, dividing sighs from sobs. No insurance covers these kinds of operations, because this cancer hides beyond the infrared and the ultraviolet, existing in the invisible spectrums where they can be denied out of our conscious thought until they remain only as friendly shadows that cling to us, following us wherever we might dare go. Though banishable by light, our ethereal companions persist with us, because we don’t dare ask for help until, under the weight of these ghastly wraiths, our own selves are on the verge of shattering.

 

Instead, we scorn any outside aid and become the epicenters of our own internal earthquakes, covering up the cracks and emerging hairline fractures with masks made up of coping mechanisms and painted on expressions in an attempt to elicit other emotions from the depths of our being instead. We hide the damage inside to comply with the de facto laws that legalize blood and broken bones while prohibiting sapped spirits or any type of tears as permissible perceptions of pain.

 

Is it any wonder then that attacks to the heart are the leading cause of death, both external and internal, when we hear the death of data behind the sound of shattering glass but remain deaf to the fragmenting of that frail thing within our chests? Perhaps instead of spending so much time studying two-year upgrade cycles, we’d be better off investing in increasing the integrity and resistance of our own race, because while we gain less susceptible strains of Gorilla Glass to surround our screens, we lose the ability to guard what’s truly fragile, and remains of that revolution then is a world where we value external aesthetics and surface sheen while neglecting the internal necrosis that may never be seen and dares us to die from the inside out.