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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Really? But I Don’t Want To!

I recently had a fight with an acquaintance. We both have strong personalities and let’s say, when we disagreed, we ended up in a cycle of being stubborn and wanting to win. None of us wanted give in, lose or be wrong. We were both too full of pride. Following this, we both walked away.

A few days after that fallout, I came across something, that I knew upon reading, that the person would be interested in. Now don’t get me wrong, I wanted to pass it on but my pride spoke quite loudly, “if you send it, the person may feel that you are giving way or chasing them.” I hated that thought and so the internal debate began.

After an hour, the debate was no closer to a close. I decided to ask God for His input using the Gideon technique. Going to bed, my two options to Him were:

  1.  Send: Wake me before 5am ( I was tired enough to sleep the entire night.)
  2. Don’t send: Let me sleep without waking throughout the night.

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The Subject of Crying

Maybe no one told you that there was strength in your tears. – Kelly Clarkson

I used to be one of those females who believed that crying was a sign of weakness. Well, it should be the flip as crying doesn’t show that you are weak but rather that you have strength. It takes strength to show others that you are vulnerable. One of the things that have really struck me is that although tears show considerable strength, we tend to apologize anytime we become emotional in the presence of a group or others – especially if we don’t know them well. I had to ask myself: ” Why do we do that?  Why is it not okay to become emotional whenever we want?”

Here are a few reasons why tears, whether in public or private, are okay.

  1. Tears enable us to get in touch with our deepest feelings. Unless you’re putting on a really good act, eating onions, or acting in a movie scene, tears express the rawest emotions within. We have all had moments when a really amazing gift or gesture had brought tears to our eyes. We cry when we share moments of great elation with others. There are many times, I’ve laughed until I began crying. Tears are also an expression of grief at endings or the loss of those who are precious to us.

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A Letter to My 10 Year Old Self

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Hi Chan, knowing you the way I do, you are no doubting trying to figure how it was possible for this letter to get to you. Stop focusing on that, focus on the words of wisdom I’m about to impart to you after 22 years on earth.

At this point, I know you are still hurting over Daddy’s death but don’t worry, everything is going to be okay. One day you will wake up and be able to remember the good times you had with him without tearing up.

Sweetheart, you won’t be good at everything it’s okay. Failing is not the end of the world. You are still a poor dancer (although you now have a lot more rhythm) and you still suck at music but be okay with it. Work on your strengths and ensure you are happy with whatever you choose to do.

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The Christmasy Feeling

So Christmas is (counting on fingers) three days away and everywhere I go I’m seeing vivid images of this. So far I’ve loved the Christmas tree made from recycled bottles and the Rudolph cars that I’ve been seeing all over the place.

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