Lonely and Alone

This one is tough guys. This one is hard to write. Last week, much to my amazement, I heard myself saying, “I’ve changed this year. I feel much lighter.” It was strange but I’ve never thought much beyond the changes that I had felt in my gut needed to be made. Neither did I examine the emotional reasoning behind logical actions such as leaving my former church. I guess you could say that in that moment, examining the situation too closely would have revealed truths I was in no way ready to handle. It was time for a self-discovery.

As I thought back on last year, I could clearly hear myself questioning the reason why I had so many people around me but only few realized I was stressed and unhappy. A lot were quite happy to add more drama to my plate. I looked deeper and realized that at that moment in my life, unhappiness was too mild a word, I was depressed.

Acknowledging depression is a hard pill to swallow because when you generally think of depression, the image of the girl with the bright aura and smile doesn’t readily come to mind. Instead, we generally visualize the emos, dressed in black, sullen, and looking for all the world to see “depressed”.

I remember a few years ago, I saw the story of a young woman who was dead in her apartment for two entire years before any noticed. I remember thinking, “How could that situation have happened? Didn’t she have friends, family, neighbors, etc.” I am afraid of getting there. Dying and no one noticing. At the time, I thought to myself, that could never happen to me. I have way too many people around me.

Yet, last year, I remember sitting down in church and on the choir, and wondering how could I be surrounded by so many people and still feel so alone. Aren’t these the same people who hugged me on a Sunday and called me “daughter”? Why did I feel so alone?

Why was my phone full of church contacts who, for the most part, only called or messaged me when they needed something? Why these numerous contacts only seemed interested in the wide white smile but none took the time to look beyond and see the sadness in my eyes? These were the persons I prayed with. These were the persons I sang on the choir with. These were the persons I joker around with. These were the persons I spent a large percentage of my free time with. These were the persons I thought of as friends yet when I needed, no one knew me enough to see.

Where were all my friends? Why didn’t my family notice something was off about me?

Honestly, I felt betrayed by God too. Where was He when I was internally screaming loudly? Begging Him for a physical sign that He had heard my cry? Begging Him for someone to speak directly to me, to my feeling during one of the Sunday messages. Where was He? Why didn’t he give me the sign I needed?

I can remember thinking to myself, “So many people but only a handful.” It was amazing that despite me knowing so many persons, only a few thought to check if I was okay when I went MIA. Even fewer thought to push deeper when I gave my regular “I’m okay” to the general polite question, “How are you?”

A part of me recognized that I wasn’t needed. I didn’t want to be in such an environment where everybody looked but few really saw. I recognized I couldn’t stay. My mitigation action was simple. I let go of my “BIG” church and a lot of acquaintances. I chose a smaller church and began focusing my energies on building strong relationships with the few friends who have shown themselves as being worthy of the title. I gave myself the permission to be free of the things I didn’t believe in at heart and focused on ensuring my emotional health. Eventually, I felt lighter.

In retrospect, I wondered how I got to the point of being depressed and yet no one or myself seemed to notice. The answer hit me. I was always the one who could fix it. Most of my acquaintances believed that I always had it together. I didn’t need help, instead, I was the one capable and always willing to offer the assistance. It just didn’t cross their minds that maybe I needed help of a different nature.

Guys, I hope my blubbering makes sense. I want to call you to action. I came close but I escaped from the clutches of depression. Don’t be one of the persons who looks but do not see. Care enough to stop and take the time to see beneath the surface. Care enough to ask deeper questions.

XOXO,
Chañel.

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What Letting Go Has Taught Me…

After a long week, I took some time to just reflect on life and where I’ve progressed to since the year began. I realized something about myself. Many of the persons I had started the year with, has disappeared. This made me pause and reflect on how I felt about their disappearance. I realized I was okay.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about keeping persons to your standards. A confession, sometimes I write very good advice but I am generally the last to take it. What do they say about the counsellor? They need the most counseling… For weeks after that post, I would find myself getting annoyed with myself when people walked all over my standards and I kept them around. Frankly I was miserable and I decided to actively do something about it. I must say that once you begin to stand up for yourself, you will be amazed how quickly persons either pulled up their socks or disappeared.

Some of these persons tried to reappear later but I stuck to my mantra and eventually they would leave for good once they realized what I now stood for. I can’t moan about the disappearing acts, frankly, good riddance.

Another thing that changed was that I stopped allowing persons to drag me into their drama. I am a regular Miss-Fix-It. Maybe that is why I make such a good Project Manager… It is simply amazing how much energy it takes to deal with other persons’ drama. What makes it worse is when sometimes, these are the persons who you can never depend on. It made me wonder, what was the use, if these persons were only in your life to drain you. Now, whenever I want to say something or intervene, I beg the Lord to hold my tongue or simply walked away.

My final habit that changed was my “Superwoman mentality”. This on many occasions caused me to burn out and persons often took advantage of my inability to say “no”. I have begun to say “no”. Frankly, it feels good to be able to have time to myself and be able to do the things that I want to do. This meant that a lot of people walked away once they realized I was no longer available to be twisted around their fingers. Frankly, that set leaving was a breath of fresh air.

Friendship, I found, is never about quantity. It’s simply the quality. I would rather have a few good friends who look out for me than an entire army of friends whose actions are a guarantee to my destruction. I prefer to walk into my peace. Don’t you agree? Let me know your thoughts on the subject in the comments area below.

XOXO,
Chañel.

Je Ne Regrette Rien! (I Don’t Regret Anything!)


I sat at my desk working while listening music and the strangest thing happened! James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful started playing and immediately I had a flashback concerning my ex that left me with the hugest grin on my face.

It was two weeks before my 18th birthday at 2am. We were up on the phone again after I had weaseled him into staying up, for the third night in a row. I still can’t believe how he always yielded to me. This time, he was the one asking me to do something. He wanted me to sing him something before we headed to bed. I refused as a plan formulated in my head. The next morning, as I headed off to school, I called him and sang him a rendition of “You’re Beautiful.”

In the early stages of the last few years, my brain focused on the ugly aspects of my past relationship. I was hurt and angry and so, my heart focused on all the reasons he was the enemy. I forgot our good times and the lessons these experiences taught me. Here are a few lessons these better moments taught me:

  1. He gave me my first impromptu driving lesson although, I didn’t get far before he started yelling at me to turn the wheel correctly and I yelled back. That was my first and last lesson from him but it taught me the importance of helping your partner in anyway you can. This means that you should always be open to teaching your partner because neither will know everything.
  2. The first time we met, he tried to flirt with me but called me the wrong name. I ignored him. Later in the day, being the tomboy I was, I climbed up to a cliff only to realize that I couldn’t get down by myself. He ended up being the one to lift me down. That bit of kindness opened my mind to him. This taught me the importance of being careful of how you treat people. You never know when you will need their help.
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A Forgiveness That Healed

One of the persons, in the Bible, who I have a deep admiration for, is David. We all know the story of how David went from being a shepherd boy to king but many of us missed some of the small details that he went through to get there and even what he did, once he got there. In this post, I want to examine a story that has fascinated me in recent times. This is a story of relentless persecution and a forgiveness and mercy that healed all involved.

Many times when we mention forgiveness, we pull on the analogy of Christ’s forgiveness of our sins, yet there are men who had displayed measures of forgiveness that are truly admirable. The books of Samuel tell the stories of how King Saul persecuted David when he realised the glory of God that shined on David. The books tell of the many instances when Saul does everything in his power to kill David or cause him ill-will. These attempts included: 

  1. Throwing javelins at David while he played the harp to calm the evil spirit that had overtaken Saul.
  2. Sending David on dangerous missions in the hope that he would be killed.
  3. Giving David’s wife, his daughter Michal to another man after his threats to David’s life forced David to go on the run.
  4. Setting out with his soldiers to find and kill David.

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Let your eagle SOAR!

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About a year ago someone hugged me tightly and said, “You know what you remind me of? An eagle! Girl, go forth and whatever you do, spread your wings and soar!” At the time I didn’t think much of it but as I sit back and do some introspection, I can truly say that God has been demonstrating to me how to unfurl and use my wings.

One thing I have learned is that God allows every incident in your life to happen to teach/prepare you. A few years ago I had a bad case of stage fright whenever I spoke in public. I also felt that my ability to write had been nullified. I was left empty. But this is something you need to know. Sometimes, when God intends to bless you, He slowly empties you. He begins to remove any impediments to your blessing. Only then will He begin to fill you up.

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Overcoming is Possible!

I still remember my first major habit or should I say addiction. Sucking my fingers! Anywhere I went, I could be seen with my fingers in my mouth. My mother had already moved past the stage where she had threatened, cajoled and expressed despair at this unhealthy habit but I didn’t care one bit. My fingers were my comfort, they were my go-to and I wasn’t going to stop! Dirty and unhealthy or not!

Something happened the year I turned 12. I decided I was a big girl and needed to stop. I came to that decision and need for action all on my own. From that experience, I can definitely say that I underwent the whole withdrawal symptoms from drugs. I would break out in cold sweats when the need arose to stick my fingers in my mouth but I refrained. Sometimes, refraining meant sitting on my hand but I was determined to win the battle between my mind and my will. It took me months but eventually, I won and the urge to stick my finger in my mouth went away. Now I wonder how crazy I was to ever have had that disgusting habit.

My second case of bad habit was a relationship which began when I was 17. Although, over time things soured, I was intensely involved in the situation and thus, my mind refused to let go. “You can change him.” “Things will get better.” These were some of the thoughts my mind told me as I experienced some of the most miserable days of my life.

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