On Giving Up…

Sometimes, you can’t just keep trying. Sometimes, it feels like the weights of your efforts don’t quite balance the scales with all that’s being expected of you. And sometimes, even though you know you tried your hardest, it’s not good enough for the people who check the scales.

When I started this journey more than two years ago, I never thought any of this was even possible. I worked so hard to do everything asked of me, and in many cases I believe I exceeded expectations. And now, I’m making the decision that’s best for my mental health and the worst for all the effort I put into it.

I lost parts of myself trying to do this. I hope I can get them back.

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On Fixing Broken Things…

This is going to be a little self-pitying, because that’s how I’m feeling right now and if I can’t say that honestly, I’m not being real. I want to be real.

I like to say that you can’t fix something if you don’t know that it’s broken, and you absolutely can’t. Why would you even try? So when, in the course of me trying to do the things that I know need to be done, I find out that I’ve been doing it wrong (or am perceived to have been doing it wrong) this whole time, I get angry. Why wouldn’t you be up front about that? Why wouldn’t you tell me when it first became an issue that you noticed? Why would you wait until the higher-ups come and ask about my progress?

I’m frustrated. I’m heart-broken. I am literally just trying to do the best I can but evidently my best isn’t good enough. The hardest part of all of this is that it didn’t make sense in the first place to put me in this position. I did better academically than so many of my classmates. I excelled in preaching and my previous supervisors had little to nothing bad to say about me. And yet.

This whole thing feels like the worst dream ever. I don’t know when it’s going to end. The hardest part is that it keeps feeling like people are seeing broken things and not telling me so I can fix them. I don’t always think that they’re broken, but at least give me a chance to try! At the end of all of this, if there ever is an end, I want them to look back and realize that they made a mistake. It’s not likely that it’ll happen, but I wouldn’t be upset if they did.

On Anxiety…

I am aware that to be anxious about the possibility of bad things happening is a privileged position to stand in, especially when it’s very unlikely that those bad things will even happen. However, sometimes my anxiety feels more sensible, more legitimate, and today is one of those days.

My dad isn’t the world’s greatest dad. I mean, I haven’t physically seen the guy in over seven years. We’ve been in contact the past few, even had some video chats, but let’s be real that he’s not winning any awards.

My dad lives in Florida. Florida is in the path of Hurricane Irma. My dad lives right near the coast. He’s going to Orlando, which is more inland, and it’ll be safer there. Still, I’m anxious for him.

More than just him, I’m feeling anxious for all the many millions of people who are going to be or have already been affected by this hurricane and Harvey and the hurricanes yet to come. And for the people in southeast Asia whose towns have become completely covered by water. And for those in the western United States where these forest fires burn and burn seemingly without end. I’m worried about it all.

Anxiety sometimes gets me (and others) into a downward spiral thinking of all the things that could go wrong and all the reasons I can’t do anything about it. I don’t want that to be my thought today. I want to do something to help.

Luckily I work for an organization that is one of the most reliable and responsive when it comes to natural disasters. I hope they send me to help. I hope they choose to use me in the cleanup and rescue efforts.

Anxiety can be fuel for the fire to want to do something. I hope it can be my fuel.

On Disharmony…

I’m sad. Heartbroken, even. The United States is a country full of anger and hatred and it’s hard to think that I’m going to have to live here for the rest of my life, watching people use violence to move forward their racist, xenophobic agendas. And that’s nothing compared with the people who risk their lives, and sometimes lose them, fighting back against the hatred and intolerance.

What happened in Charlottesville is not an isolated incident. There are acts of violence across this nation every single day, perpetrated in the name of “white pride” or whatever other ridiculous label they want to put on it. What it really is is downright inhumane treatment of other people.

I’ve heard some of these people claim to be Christians and say that the Bible is what lets them know they’re on the right track, that the Bible encourages the hatred and bigotry and violence. But that’s not the Bible I’m reading, and the verses they quote are always taken out of context.

What saddens me most is that these hateful individuals seem satisfied with the death in Charlottesville. They come out naming the countless young black men and women whose lives have been taken by police and hate groups and they smile, pleased and content that these people are dead. That’s sickening.

I won’t say I don’t understand how anyone could feel this way. I understand how indoctrination works and I’ve seen the devastating effects that arise from listening to hateful rhetoric. There’s a choice that must be made, but all too often people choose to believe that they’re right, no questions asked.

And I recognize that confirmation bias is a real thing and that it’s sometimes hard to get out of the mindset you’re in when all you see is information that seems to back up what you already believe, but let’s not play games or mince words. Hate is wrong, and these people choose to perpetuate the hate they’ve learned.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m sick of seeing people dead and having other people be happy about it. It’s wrong.

On a Wrench in the Works…

I was this close to graduation and ordination. Nine days away. And then, nothing. It’s the strangest and most disconcerting situation I’ve ever lived through, because I genuinely cannot understand how the decision was made.

Sometimes, everything seems laid out so clearly in front of you and there’s not even a question that it will come to pass. Then, with only the shortest notice, someone throws a wrench in the works (I had to google that, honestly, but it popped into my head). Everything was working out so smoothly, I should’ve expected a disaster to strike.

This all just adds another year until ordination. I finished my degree, luckily, but that’s a crumb in comparison to what was supposed to happen. Ripped away from my friends early, sent to a place that was hardly prepared for me, missing the experience of walking across the stage with what has become my family. But I need to look to the bright side of things.

There is a bright side. I see it. But for right now, the dark stands out so much more clearly.

On Waiting…

Waiting is inevitable. At some point, we’re all going to find ourselves waiting, even for small things. I’d consider myself a pretty patient person; other people have told me so. But sometimes, waiting is the absolute hardest thing to do.

Waiting is often a passive activity, control taken from your hands. And that’s where I find myself right now. Waiting anxiously, unable to speed up the process or affect it in any way.

What do I do? Where do I go? How do I stop the terrible anxiety? It seems the only answer is to wait some more…

On Sexual Orientation…

I want to start by saying that I’m not an expert on almost anything, just a person who’s done my best to become less ignorant on the important stuff. One of these has been sexual orientation and how it connects with who we are as individuals.

A few years ago, I came out as asexual (ace for short). It was a challenge for me because the expectation in our society, no matter where you stand politically or religiously or socially, is that everyone has this sexual drive inside of them. For me, that sexual drive is absent, completely and truly missing. I’ve never felt that pull towards another person that is so present in media and in the lives of almost everyone else I’ve ever spoken to.

I’m not aromantic in any capacity- I feel myself drawn to people on a romantic level probably more often than I should. Recognizing that in myself was a challenge to my understanding of sexuality because I had thought people were automatically romantically and sexually attracted to the same group of people. That’s not the case with me, and it’s not the case with many other people as well.

Asexuality is not often spoken of, and many times when I’ve talked to people about it, they tell me it’s not possible or that those who identify as asexual just haven’t met the right person yet. This always frustrates me, but I realize that many people have simply never been exposed to the idea that asexuality even exists, so I try not to get too bothered.

One such conversation happened today and it got me thinking about something I’ve realized and said many times recently: sexual orientation and sexual behavior do not always match. We were talking about the character Jughead from the Archie comics and the TV show Riverdale. I’ve heard that it became canon last year that Jughead was ace, and I’ve just started watching the show. The lack of openly asexual characters in media is evident to me, as an asexual person. I was really hoping he would be openly ace in the TV show too.

One of my classmates made the comment that she didn’t think he could be ace because he apparently has a sex scene in the show (SPOILERS- WHY?!). I told her that asexual people can still have sex, like any person of any sexual orientation can have sex with people they’re not attracted to. She didn’t get it, which is something I’ve gotten used to, but for me the lack of education regarding asexuality is growing increasingly frustrating.

I guess my point is that asexuality exists and ace people are real and they can have sex for many reasons: maybe they want children or have a non-ace partner or any other reason they’ve decided is sufficient. Your knowledge of a person’s sexual behavior does not give you a license to put a label on their sexual orientation or any other part of who they are. Just some food for thought.

On the Metaphor of Drowning…

I’ve long hated the idea that depression is like drowning, because nobody just stands there and watches you drown. But lately, I’ve felt like I’m drowning. I’m not sad, not even sort of. I’m just empty. It feels like there’s nothing inside of me except questions, and the questions have no weight; they just bounce around inside my head and echo through my empty chest.

How am I being pulled under the water when there’s nothing weighing me down? If there is nothing inside me, what is dragging me beneath the surface? How do I escape this sensation? How do I find my feet back on solid ground?

This lack of feeling, this lack of solidity, is killing me. I do not want to die. But it doesn’t sound as bad as it should.

On Side Effects…

Medication has been a huge part of my life on and off for the last twelve years. It’s not something I’m happy about, but it’s something I’ve recently come to accept because I understand that the medicine will help me balance myself and certain parts of my life. But…

Side effects. They can be mild, or they can be excruciating. One that I’m experiencing for the first time is somewhere in the middle: lowered pitch perception. It wasn’t a thing I was even aware was possible, but now that I’ve experienced it, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Essentially what’s happening is I’m hearing songs in what sounds to me like the wrong key. For me, a person who spends a good portion of their time listening to music, this was maddening and also somewhat terrifying when it started a few days ago. I didn’t realize it had anything to do with the medication; I just assumed I was losing it.

Now I have to decide if I want to take myself off this medication (even though I only started it five days ago) or if I will put up with it for the rest of the time I’m on it (which could be a very long time). Decisions are tough, and I’m getting ready to spend a week in Puerto Rico for ministry. I’m just going to have to figure it out.

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