How’s your week so far? I pray it’s been amazing!
If you’re new to my site, this is my virtual living room and you’re welcome to sit for a minute. We get personal around here as I merge faith and humanity, so I’m glad you’re here. Let’s go!
Currently, I am healing from the outside in and it is painstakingly uncomfortable. Having surgery last year opened up a Pandora’s box of emotional remnants that I didn’t know were there.
A major key I reaffirmed is that I’m acrobatic in giving grace to others.
When you’re a Psychology-turned-Communication Arts major, you are ingrained to look at every situation with a prism instead of judgmental binoculars. You quickly learn that everything isn’t as it seems and you dishonor the truth when you leave out a perspective.
For example, your spouse comes homes and the door slams behind her, what are your thoughts?
At first glance, you may jump to a “What’s wrong with you?” type of response. A communication skill called perception checking would take you through a few steps to allow ethical interpretation of that behavior. Maybe she misjudged how close the door was to the frame or the wind forced it. Maybe, she was annoyed with something that happened during the commute and regrets letting it slam. After you provide the possibilities, you ask your spouse to verify or correct those options. This diffuses defensiveness and allows your spouse to tell you the truth instead of you being upset by your assumption. Even if she doesn’t say so, she can’t say you jumped to a conclusion and reacted rashly.
See what I mean?
Prism. Not binoculars.
So, passing out grace? No worries there. I give situations a 360-view before I draw the line.
Serving that plate to myself? Epic fail. More like “Harpo, who dis?”
Sometimes I even beat myself up because I’m not trudging through every muddy puddle with a smile, waving my usual positivity flag, and onboarding everyone around me on the sunshine train. Why? Let’s admit it, Family… who doesn’t want that badge of honor and who hasn’t glorified that trait in others?
“She never complained.”
“He always put his kids before himself.”
“She always had a smile on her face.“
“He always had a kind word to say.”
It’s an addictive perfection drug that can take you out if you’re not careful. I admit – I want the badge. I want the perfection. I want those words said at my funeral… but when I really need to breathe between the punches, I end up landing a fist of guilt on myself as I give a plate full of grace to someone else.
All I can say is thank God for therapy.
So far, I’ve had some serious revelations. One of them is the following: I know how to survive in a box; I struggle breathing outside of it. Thank you, Therapist.
Let me explain. Who knows? Maybe you and I are related.
Remember that scene in Harlem Nights (1989) when Eddie Murphy tells Danny Aiello to take very short breaths while he’s in the vault? That’s me. Little breaths. All day. All month. All year if I have to. Whatever it takes to get me over the hump and keep moving. Don’t get me wrong – I know how to self-care just not between traumatic milestones. In the words of my therapist, I know how to survive on little breaths. It’s like coming up for air after a deep ocean dive, but only taking a short breath before returning to the depths.
That is not sustainable and I hereby declare that I am no longer able to sustain myself on those small puffs of air. See what I did there? OK, I’ll stop rhyming. Lol
I’ve accomplished a lot in the midst of about 14 years of unfortunate events. I felt great about each milestone, took vacations, enjoyed time with friends and family, smashed some goals, and yet – *gasp* Little breath. Why? Because that’s how I learned to survive the shockwaves. That’s how I said to my mind, body, and spirit “Hey, get ready. There’s another one coming.” Over time, a week-long vacation or a mini-road trip transformed into a mere puff of air or a big exhale from holding my breath underwater so long.
Who can survive like that?
None of us.
So, I’m on a quest to learn how to live outside of the ocean I’ve learned to survive in and to kick the boxes that read “This is the way to heal” and “Christians suffer quietly with permanent smiles on their faces.” I’m asking God to rewire my spirit so I can sweetly pass that warm plate of grace to myself and to accept it easily from my Savior, knife and fork in hand.
I also pray that by sharing this moment, you are encouraged to begin or continue your own journey to a healthier you. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to only show the highlight reel and be shamed as you heal and learn. Our faith allows for growth and grace to flow to us and through us. It calls for us to break at the feet of Jesus and within the sanctuary of each other’s understanding because His Love should flow from heart to heart to create that circle of safety.
Let’s agree to deep dive into the waters of our soul if we need to and to learn to deeply breathe outside of the boxes we discover – the one that happened to us and the one we taped up ourselves.
I love y’all and I’m praying for you. As always, Peace and Thanks for listening!