I feel like something's coming unchained in me.
It makes me all self-conscious and wanting to step to the back of the room and smile like a Small World figurine on a bad Disney cruise and tell everyone that everything is OK, that I never struggle or feel sad or wish I wasn't the only one in the room wondering if my slip is showing.
This morning at church the pastor said that there was a woman who'd had a miscarriage a couple of weeks ago and she finally came forward because she felt like she was doing it alone. I DON'T EVER, EVER, EVER WANT ANYONE TO FEEL LIKE THAT.
The sermon was about empathy vs. sympathy, and how empathy is being able to FEEL the feelings of the person who has had the experience. Sympathy is the act of helping them along by offering to babysit their cats or wiping tears from their eyes or sending a card. Sympathy is a verb, really, a choice: it's offering condolences even though you don't know what they're going through.
Sympathy is roses and Diet Coke.
My writing has changed. I have changed. I'm not the same person before any of my experiences, and neither are you. You shouldn't be. If you're going to be the same squalling infant you were at the onset, why even bother with another day?
Listen, peeps. This last week I bought a car WITHOUT CONSULTING MY PARENTS for the first time. I am 34 years old. My sister in law couldn't believe she got an email AFTER the fact with a link to the car. I know you were dying to do this at the age of 14 when you were chewing Big League Chew and smoking candy cigarettes, but for me, it's been a process of loss and of stretching that has finally brought me to the point where I am completely broken...or at least my pride is.
I want you to like what I'm writing, but you may hate it. And if you hate it? That's OK! (I'm telling myself that while I gaze into the mirror in my underwear, reading my Jack Handey book.)
That niggling voice always always ALWAYS says,
"...but what will people think? What if people don't like you?"
That's ALWAYS been the voice. That was the voice that told me when I was choosing a major in college that I wasn't intelligent enough to become a psychiatrist. (Well, Mr. Snoebelen from junior year chemistry may agree...) That was the voice that tells me, every day, that I am not enough, will never be enough, for my husband or children or foster children.
"They need more," that voice whispers, sickly sweet: "AND YOU ARE NOT IT."
I'll bet there are things about the lady sitting in front of me at church that she would LOVE for someone to know...sins from her past, the horror of her abusive relationship at home, the three abortions she'd like to kill herself for (hey, she's even considered it!). To me she looks perfect.
To her, *I* look perfect and my life is unattainable and she is wondering how she is so
So don't throw your Bible verses at her, or at me. Throw her love. Show her that you care that her baby just died, that her husband is addicted to porn, that her kid is on drugs even though she parented him the best she knew how.
The minute she gets that you love her, the minute THEY get that WE do, is the minute we can talk Bible verses and church times.
THAT, my friends, is the minute we change the freaking world.
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