I woke up before the sun this morning. Both Islay and Skye had their front paws up on the end of the bed. I could feel them staring at me, so I leaned up and gave them both some love. They started shaking their bootys so much that the trailer shook. I layed back down and cuddled closer to Andrew. The early morning blue light started to fill the trailer.
There is something about a new day, a fresh start, all the promise gathered up in the sun as it breaks over the horizon. I look out across the highway and the surrounding mountains are various shades of blue, receeding into the distance.
I can’t remember if I’ve shared this or not, but I’ve been engaged before. It seems like so long ago that I feel like it was some movie that I watched many years ago, and can’t remember the details, just the climax and decline. I was engaged to a boy that I grew up with, our families were close friends. His family moved to Florida when I was a freshman in high school and we kept in touch the old fashioned way, through letters. Sometimes story lines of my past resurface and hover in my mind.
I was 19 and a hopeless romantic. I graduated from high school a year early and fell in love with an older college boy. I followed him out to Lubbock TX and started going to school at Texas Tech. He broke my heart and kickstarted a time where I wrote a whole bunch of girlie thoughts in my journal, listened to a bunch of Sarah McLachlan and spooned my new beagle all through the night. It was such a learning experience for me. I felt like I was changing from a clueless girl to a young woman. Quite a while later, my childhood crush and I reconnected out of the blue.
He took a chance and came to visit me out in Lubbock to see if any sparks would fly. They did and shortly after a year later I dropped out of college, packed my beagle and moved out to Florida. We loved each other desperately but we were the worst matched couple ever. We would argue about everything from how to boil water to politics and religion. The highs were as extreme as the lows. We fought long and hard for almost a year and even started planning a wedding. The cake was ordered, string quartet reserved and bridal showers planned.
I can pinpoint the moment that I knew that we were finished. It was like a light bulb went off, I was pulled out of the situation and I could view it from an objective third person. We were awful for each other. We can’t communicate. We were so foundationaly different and love, no matter how intense, in fact, is not enough. It was terrifying and freeing at the same time: I do not have to choose this life.
So we cried, held each other and I said goodbye. I packed up my little Honda Civic, perched my little beagle on the top of my stuff and made the long 19 hour drive home. I chainsmoked cigarettes, cried my eyes out and sang along to my music at the top of my lungs.
This started what I call “My Dark Days.” I moved back to Dallas, got a job, stole my dad’s guitar and wrote depressing songs. I was unmedicated bipolar and floundering. I went on manic shopping sprees and got deep in debt. I threw my heart around to unworthy boys. I gained weight and lost control in so many areas. And for the ultimate twist, this is when I met Andrew. Unhealthy mentally, emotionally and a complete mess. I still claim that I knew Andrew was the one from our first conversation, it just so happened that the timing was the worst possible.
This began years of frustrated friendship, stolen kisses and another emotional roller coaster. Andrew and I made a complete mess of things right from beginning. We couldn’t keep our hands off of each other and we entered the relationship backwards with physical affection first and emotional friendship only later. I still get amazed that we have such a healthy marriage because we did everything in our power to mess it up from the start.
We somehow organized our priorties, shut off the kissing, and started to build a friendship. I always say that we tried to make a mess of it, but God decided to make something beautiful and built to last.
The girl that I was in my early twenties seems like another life, another person, another movie. I was obsessive, out of control, anxiety ridden, manic and depressed. But I was not alone. God was patiently taking care of me. Even in my darkest moments, I felt His presence. I could never run too far from Him, He would always guide me back. In fact, I often felt torn between rebellion and knowing what was right.
There is this feeling that you sometimes get when you’re coming down from mania. You are painfully aware of an extreme floating high and a crashing depression, at the same time. Sometimes I would fall quick from one to another. But sometimes, I would unbearably linger in this in between state that was torture. That is the best way I can describe my relationship with the Lord at that time. Hovering uncontrollably between right and wrong, unable to choose.
We all have past trauma and crisis. You might not be bipolar but everyone can relate with suffering. Looking back, I see my past as crucial to my development. I wish I could have learned those life lessons an easier, less painful way, but I’m a wee bit hardheaded and it took me going through major crisis to learn.
I can’t control my feelings, but I can control what I do with them. My passion is good, but I shouldn’t let it control me. I learned how to process through my intense emotions, put them into words, then let them go. I learned that I am worthy of an all encompassing, made to last, kind of love. I learned that I am bipolar, but that does not have to rule my life, it’s an explanation not an excuse. I learned how to communicate, how to be slow to speak and listen more. Over time, through each struggle, I felt not only my personality change but my character. I started valuing humility over pride. Patience over taking charge. And to observe all angles before I make a rash decision.
Sometimes my past haunts me. Decisions I made, situations that I got myself into. But with each passing day, I’m able to let go a little bit more and appreciate how far I’ve come. I learned that this space has been crucial to my healing. It helps to process through bits of my past through my writing. But my most sacred processing space is with the Lord, as well as long talks with Andrew and Mama.
Sometimes I get boggled down in my thoughts at night, then the blue light of morning pulls me out of restless sleep, I love on the girls while they wiggle their butts, stumble outside and watch the sun rise. Today is a fresh start. I am not defined by my past, no matter how tumultous. The Lord’s grace and steadfast love are new every morning. I can live in my present instead of being chained through my past.
The sun is high now and I’m sitting outside soaking in it’s rays. The close by hum of the highway is soothing and calming. It speaks of roads to be traveled and memories to be made. I have my best friend sitting close by. Every now and then it hits me: I made it through. Not to be fooled that adversity will never happen again, but this time I’m ready for it and have healthy coping tools available. The sun will rise again tomorrow and I am prepared for joy.