Break ups

Every once in a while they happen. If you have allowed yourself to be vulnerable with someone, they hurt. If you loved someone, they hurt a lot. 

I have broken up, over my short dance with life, with enemies, friends and boyfriends. To tell the truth, I’ve never been a great dancer- to practice and fall a few times, step on a few toes here and there, is the only way I know how to get better. Even after you’ve taken advice, evaluated situations and prepared yourself for the adventure, the blow can still come. It does, sometimes, in the form of a break up.

Sometimes, for instance when you leave behind an enemy, a break up is relief. Whether said out loud or not, the moment you decide to part ways with someone who had been poisoning your heart is a good one. Even bad boyfriends, or someone you knew it wouldn’t last forever with- just deciding not to contact a person again can be good. However, while those moments may help define us, what really makes a mark is when we leave somebody we love. 

My first ever break up was with my best friend. It wasn’t my choice and I didn’t see it coming, but when it happened, it didn’t hurt for a bit. See, a break up has a lot in common with actually losing someone. All the plans you made, and the future you hoped for, are gone. The places you used to hang out have a flavour- the first time someone asked me where she was, I broke down in tears because she was gone. But for a bit I was in denial. Like grieving, there’s a bit of denial, then sadness and rage and all the other fun stuff. After a while I had enough emotion to write pages about all the ways in which I’d been wronged, and it actually came to define a large part of who I am, who I trust, and even how I see God. However, unlike grieving, a break up was someone’s choice. It hurts in a different way because something happened that rendered you – what? Unworthy of love or forgiveness? Maybe to them. (Thankfully, not to everyone else.) In this case, I was passed over for someone else, when she had a choice. There isn’t the closure of death, and it was someone’s choice and someone’s fault, even if it was a million little choices and faults over a long time. 

My most recent break up was with a boy. And, for everyone’s sakes, I won’t assign blame or have a whinge. In all fairness, it wasn’t anyone’s fault and there’s not a lot to complain about. But I thought it might help someone feel better, or maybe give me something to read the next time I break up with someone. 

I wanted to say, what you feel (what I feel) is okay. 

The day we broke up was a Saturday. I was angry. The next day was a Sunday and I was sad. The next day a Monday and I couldn’t focus. I came home from work and called a friend. I called three friends over those two days, all who told me to take care of myself and treat myself. Tuesday I went and did stuff, and kept so busy that was the first day I didn’t cry. I got a haircut, I did what I loved (hung out with kids), and I binge watched tv until I fell asleep. 

From Wednesday to Friday I worked and saw people and distracted myself, and on Saturday I went out with a friend. Then uni started. On Thursday I felt uncontrollably anxious. On Friday and Saturday I cried. While Saturday morning was tough, that afternoon I went shopping with my best friends and we got our nails done. It ended with a smile.

 Today is Monday, and I don’t know what it holds. I’ve started watching “Lost” on Netflix. 

We all deal with grief, loss and break ups in different way. With that friend I felt righteously angry and that fuelled me. I was angry even as I wept, and I knew I would make it through. With the next friend I didn’t feel a thing, because we’d all known it was coming. With this guy, there is a logical part of my brain that says it was no ones fault, it will be okay, and it won’t meant much in a few weeks, months or years. I’ll have some great stories to tell, once I can bring myself to tell them. But the emotional part of my brain (what we romantics call a heart) hurts. It’s acting up in all sorts of ways, and my head keeps saying “well, that’s silly. There’s no reason to cry. Calm down. Breathe slower.” But that’s not fair, and it won’t work. Because, as much as breaking up sucks and grieving hurts, you need it. You are allowed to weep, and scream, and explain to people you’re just not feeling up to it. You’re allowed to listen to sad music and stare out the window at the rain, thinking of what could have been. Just don’t do anything permanent (tattoos, self harm), hurtful (angry Facebook rants, contacting their parents) or stupid (leaving the window open to hear the angsty storm and getting a cold, treating yourself to a pulled pork sandwich when you’re a vegetarian, going to T2) (seriously, treat yourself at Woolworths). And one day you’ll do something fun and not remember anything related. Or you’ll go to that place and a completely new memory will be attached. Or you’ll make a new friend (as tough as uni has been on the tail end, it’s been lovely timing in itself). And you’ll be okay. 

Don’t do it by yourself- tell a handful of trusted people. 

You don’t have to tell everyone – refer to “angry Facebook rants”. 

Let it out in some way, even if it’s sobbing to a chick flick as an outlet, or running, or explaining everything to a complete stranger (I found a lovely lady at church, and have been hugging my dog who doesn’t understand but doesn’t mind). It was awesome to realise every new friend I make has no idea what’s going on and won’t judge me by it.

It was also awesome to realise friends aren’t cards in a game of Go Fish and I could chat to people who knew us both. 

Hug your dad. 

Cry on your mum. 

Buy a tub of ice cream. 

Wallow for a bit.

Heal.

Forgive. 

Move on. 

“They say time heals all wounds,

I don’t agree.

Every wound leaves a scar.

They’re all over me.

They remind us where we’ve been,

And they teach us where to go.

If you haven’t forgiven,

It’s time to let them know.”

Scars; My Brothers and I

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Stick It Out

I’ve seen a few posts recently on “how to tell if you’re in an abusive relationship”. This moved a lot of thoughts in me, and as I’ve come to realise, they tend to explode into these blog posts.

The simplest way to tell if you’re in an abusive relationship is if you feel abused. I spent a lot of time on my own a few years back now, which makes me sound a lot older than I am. I spent a lot of time not talking to anyone, not opening up much and being a wall creeper. I wasn’t quite sure where my confidence had gone, and I assumed I’d just misplaced it. But when thoughts began to creep into my head that shouldn’t have been there, I decided to go and see a counsellor. She was a scary old lady by the name of Pearl [I assume her side of the conversation isn’t confidential], who wore bright pink lipstick and dressed in all black. And when I explained the past few months to her, Pearl told me something I didn’t expect to hear- she told me I’d been bullied. What I’d thought might have been my fault, with girls turning to whisper about me in corridors, and feeling isolated and lonely, was bullying.

I’d been “bullied” in primary school. I’d been thrown around and called names, because kids aren’t that sneaky. They’re open and honest and tell you to your face that they hate you and they reckon everyone else does too. But that sort of bullying is sharp and quick, and easily dealt with, like a bandaid over a cut. As you grow older, people get smarter until the pain is an ache, throbbing so hard you don’t know where it begins and where it ends.

After that, I thought I’d get some friends, so I found some people to hang out with, not realising the two don’t always go hand in hand. I felt battered and scared, so when I found some people who wanted to be friends, I thought I wouldn’t feel so lonely any more. But when the whispers started up again, although I was now in the circles, invited to sit at the table, I would still go home and cry myself to sleep, worrying about the next day and weirdly, still feeling lonely in the crowds. When words were thrown at me, and I was in situations I didn’t know how I’d gotten into, I figured it was all part of the dance- this is what happens when you have friends, isn’t it? That’s just what you do when you have a boyfriend isn’t it? That’s just what I need to do if I want to keep them, isn’t it? Despite some part of me crying out that it hurt, I didn’t realise emotions are quite like the physical world- if something hurts, something is wrong. If you’ve fallen and broken your leg, that usually comes with quite a bit of pain. It doesn’t matter if you tell everyone he’s great, but you fear going out with him again- you might as well be hobbling around on that broken leg and telling everyone you’re fine. I was terrified I’d dress wrong, or get screamed at again, and yet I figured this is what I needed to have the friends I craved.

How do you tell if you’re in an abusive relationship? You’ll be wondering if you are. And it wasn’t until my Dad turned around and said “well, if you’re going to let him treat you like that…” I wondered if I should. And so ended that.
And this year I ended up at Year 13. I talk about having new friends, and the great community, but I don’t know if many people will realise what exactly this means. Within a few months, without truly noticing it, I started going to parties and dancing. I started making jokes and smiling simply just to walk into a room and have people say “hey”. I started dating a guy who makes me feel beautiful without saying a word, and I’ve never wondered if I’m in an abusive relationship. So maybe I’m not. I started loving without the pain. My grandpa used to say “the best thing about banging your head against a brick wall is when you stop.” Maybe I didn’t realise I had a headache until I didn’t have one anymore.

If you are wondering why it hurts, look for the source of pain. If you think you’re in an abusive relationship, you probably are. And you’ll be more grateful you got out of it than regret having left it. If you are saying “he’s great, but…” you haven’t got the right one. If you’re saying “they’re great, I just…” wonder if you should be with them. God doesn’t give you 80%’s, He wants to bless you with 110%’s.

It doesn’t mean run from your friends, but it does mean there is no shame in walking away from your enemies.

For When Your Heart Is Breaking.

I started this blog to deal with every issue that I feel isn’t addressed often, correctly or as much as needed. Heart break is one, and one I have been avoiding until I felt like I could do it justice. 

Let me begin by addressing that it sucks. I will do you the favour of not pretending, like people who are just trying to make you feel better quicker, that there is some perk to heart ache. Not the simple, quick break up, but when you took a leap of faith and fell. When your chest constricts (scientifically because your brain has encountered a situation so emotionally stressful it is flooding your body both with hormones to speed and slow your heart), and tears constantly threaten to fall from your eyes because you can’t stop thinking of what might have been. If you hadn’t, if they hadn’t. I am so sorry for your loss. Whether you can avoid them or they live just down the road, there is no ignoring the link between your thoughts and your broken heart. 
I guess the revelation that came to me which prompted this post was simply that whatever it could have been, it wasn’t. You can shed tears, scream into your pillow and try and convince someone that it was meant to be, but it wasn’t. Your heart is broken because something else broke first. At least one of you thought it just couldn’t work, and a relationship can’t function on only one half trying. If he had just trusted me, if she would just try a little harder, if only I could feel for them what they wanted me to feel, it would have worked, but it didn’t. And that was to date the scariest revelation I have ever had. You may have done absolutely nothing wrong, but it still didn’t work. Life sucks like that, and if your heart is aching my heart goes out to you. Although the thought scared me, however, it helped. My second break up was much faster than the first because I was on the back foot. I was the one doing the convincing, and I came to realisation I am sharing with you now- that it was just not meant to be. Maybe in the future, maybe not, but right now with this person, it could not function. A Facebook relationship guru once said “break ups are just the universe telling you there is something better.” Your love isn’t enough to carry the weight for two, just as your lack of emotion isn’t fair on the one trying to carry you. A break up simply means this wasn’t meant to be. 
So it is at this point the anger has already rushed through you, and logic starts to come back as your brain adjusts to a new situation and the chemicals settle. Ignore the people who tell you how long it “should be” before you heal and need to get back out there. Do what you need. Watch YouTube, read another six articles, watch some comedy, bury their things. Listen to either “The One That Got Away” by Civil Wars or “The One That Got Away” by Katy Perry depending which side of the fence you are on (for both the accoustic version is better). Talk to those who can help and do not ignore the pain. Pain is like many bad things, including mould, dirty socks and mysterious lumps- the longer you ignore them, the worse they will get. Taking the time to deal with it means you nip it in the bud. As long as you know you tried your hardest, accept it wasn’t meant to be and there is something much better waiting. There is someone who will feel for you as you do for them- who will try as hard, love as much and make you feel like you deserve. It is not a cliche that you deserve the best, but the truth. If they didn’t want you or you couldn’t love them, they were not the best for you. Also consider they may be the best for someone else.

Food for thought.

Oh and some advice for free- food for your body needs to consist of less ice cream.
  

Relationships and Religion

Socks and shoes. Cereal and milk. Toothpaste and toothbrush (shout out to the Elizabethans who used twigs and chalk). Some things just go better together. 
I was thinking about the purpose of a relationship, recently, and it’s a bit of a weird question (my favourite type). While we all seem to fall into them from time to time, first with our family, then with friends and later dating, et cetera, we rarely question the actual purpose of relationship with each other. But why? Dangerous thoughts spring up when you stop wondering how or what and start thinking why. 
So, we turn to the Bible. Genesis 2, the first ever relationship, and it’s not between two people, but man and God. V7, “the Lord God took a handful of soil and made a man. God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing.” In v16, the first exchange of conversation. As it was in the beginning, Jesus also encourages the relationship between man and God as the primary one. Matthew 22:37, Jesus says there are two commandments that sum up life. Interestingly, both have to do with relationships. The first, as mentioned, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.” The purpose of relationship, I’ve come to realise, is to grow a loving relationship with the one who programmed this want and need into us. The first, and most important relationship and reason for a relationship is God. 
I’ve got to say, though, that having been a bit of a loner at times, I’ve tried to live on a diet of only God. Waking up every morning and having a conversation with him is good, but not great. And I realised that the problem wasn’t that I wasn’t satisfied- God can satisfy- but that I wasn’t full. Our God is a God of abundance and love. He isn’t happy with half ways or 80%’s. Our God is a god of 110%. Genesis 2:18, God says “it is not good for man to be alone,” and he makes woman. Adams joy is pretty much the first love song ever. (V23) “Here is someone like me! She is part of my body, my own flesh and bones. She came from me, a man. So I will name her woman!” Jesus says that the second most important commandment is “to love your neighbour as yourself“. It’s pretty simple and straightforward. God gives us the ability and desire to love people (1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 1 John 4:8) and highlights its importance throughout the entire bible. Our religion doesn’t dictate one of loneliness, but one of fellowship and connection as we build each other up and learn to live life to the fullest. 

So, my theory so far is that God gives us relationships to teach us about his heart, and who he is, teach us to yearn for him and have fun in life, but what role do relationships play in our lives? What about when they don’t go the way they’re supposed to?

I think the part some people forget when looking at the story of Adam and Eve is that they had a great time when they were doing as God wanted. Religion, or rules, aren’t there to make life suck, but to make it better. This whole “marriage oath” thing isn’t a contract to be adhered to, but the suggestion that loyalty and faithfulness is more significant than difficulties encountered when doing Gods work and loving each other. Sex shouldn’t be saved for marriage because God is a prude, but because he’s got a great plan for it (110%, remember?). Genesis 2:24-25 (funnily enough, Jesus also mentions this verse), “that’s why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman and the two become like one person. Although the man and his wife were both naked, they were not ashamed.” In the original plan, the two people did as God said and there was nothing wrong. No shame, nothing. It worked. It screws up when they screw up. 

Genesis 3:6; the woman eats the fruit and the man follows. The first sin.

Genesis 3:7; the shame. Just comes. It just happens. First thing, shame. They cover up. Then 

Genesis 3:10; the relationship with God is screwed up, as Adam is frightened when he hears God walking through the garden

Genesis 3:12; the relationship between the two of them is ruined as Adam blames Eve to try and save his own skin. 
So, what do we do? What can we do? If we are stuck in this stuffed up relationship with God, how are we meant to have any connection with each other? Every person you will ever love will die. Every person you will ever love has the ability to hurt you- quote, “love is giving someone the ability to break your heart and trusting that they won’t.” End quote. Suddenly something beautiful turns into something that scares a lot of people. It scares me. Well, once again we turn to the Bible. 
God knows that we’re lost, and that we’re going to screw up. He always presents us with hope, though. 
He connected us with him. 

John 3:16- it was Gods love that brought us back to him. He reaches out for us, and all he asks is that we come back, through Christ. He wants to repair that relationship, even though we will continue to stuff it up, again and again, generation by generation (Romans 5:6-8). The Bible draws a connection between that first relationship between man and God and the one we have now. 

Romans 5:12-21.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ,overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And then, through the Bible, God teaches us again how to love others. He teaches us about forgiveness, and loving our enemies, love for the poor, compassion, romance. He gives us all we need to keep living lives where we connect with everyone, discriminate against no one. We will screw up, but the God who looks past that and encourages us just to keep trying, in his name- well, that’s one hell of a love story. Hosea presents us with the story of a prophet told to marry a prostitute to demonstrate Gods love for us, Isaiah foreshadows the death of someone who we will mock and beat and yet will still die for us, Song of Songs is a collection of love poems from God to his people, we are described in Ephesians as being the bride of Christ- God is screaming out about the purpose of relationships in religion. A God who wants to know us, and wants us to know each other, not shallowly, but walking every step of the way together. He is our father, our friend, our groom, our king. A relationship that humbles us and lifts us. One of grace. One that teaches us how to love each other. A plan. 

Zephaniah 3:17 (a lesser known one about our relationship with the Lord, but a good one)
The Lord your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love.”