“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi
The wonderful photograph was taken by Maria Victoria Heredia Reyes and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!
About the author:
I am a survivor of incest, teen pregnancy, emotional abuse and multiple family estrangements. It sent me to the edge of suicide but I stepped back and have been finding my way ever since. I have begun the healing process and now try to share with others in hopes of making sure no one feels alone in their pain. In “Scars” I address emotional scars, self-doubt and internal struggles.
What to make of scars,
so pitiful and weak.
Oh, physical scars,
how I envy you,
those of skin and bone.
You can be seen.
You scab over, heal,
pain ultimately subsides.
But oh, the scars of the heart,
they’re jagged, deep –
I’m amazed my heart still beats.
You’re hidden, unseen,
with pain that never quite
oh how you lie,
pretending to be healed
while cruelly laughing,
waiting to rip open,
to make me doubt the progress
I have made.
You shout, “Look at me!
Yes, I remember you well.
You remind me where I’ve been.
You helped make me who I am.
But you don’t own me anymore –
your time is past.
You are only a scar, not
my innermost being.
When things happen in our lives, bringing disappointment into our hearts we lean on our friends for support and compassion. And more likely than not we have heard or even offered this adage (or a bastardized version thereof) with the desire it will help the person find hope. I know I say it to myself to kickstart my brain into positive thinking: “When one door closes, another door opens.”
But did you know that is not the entire quote? In fact, the point, nay, the meaning of the quote as originally stated has been dropped. I discovered this while working on the post about this month’s poetry party and wanted to get the wording correct as I’ve heard many bastardized versions and wanted to get it right. I was surprised first by who said it. And then, of course, that there was more to it. And I like the entire quote. I like it a lot because it is powerful and true.
I am a person who rarely lives in the present. I spend a lot of time thinking about the past and a lot of time pondering about the future… which is actually quite ridiculous because we can never imagine what the future truly holds. I like the quote because it reminds me that we must remember where to focus our lives and spend our time.
I hope you enjoyed the relevant quote for this week’s Words Crush Wednesday. If you’d like to play along with me here are the details:
Cut/paste and follow these simple rules:
(1) Always pingback to the site you discovered #wcw on with every Words Crush Wednesday post. In this case, that’s me: memeesmusings.com!
(2) In your post, use the badge they’ve created just for you – In this case, you’d use the Panda badge (size doesn’t matter), just grab it below.
(3) Tag your post #wcw so the Words Crush Wednesday community players can find you.
(4) Optional: When you are ready, create your own badge for those you inspire to play Words Crush Wednesday. If you do not create your own badge then your inspirees MUST use the badge from the blogger who inspired you — it’s on your post — so be sure to make it easy for them to find.
If you wanna play #wcw with me, grab that panda badge!
I hate to tell you this but all my friends and family say you have to
go. You’ve caused too much chaos in our lives. You’ve ruined my
marriages, cost me jobs, alienated me from friends and family, lead me to jail on a few occasions, and even had me hospitalized when you wouldn’t shut the fuck up.
You have been nothing but hell to my life, and still I can’t get rid
of you. You are a part of me. To quote Renee Zellweger, “You had me
And since I am unable to rid myself of either of you we are going to
have to revisit the rules of our little game.
From now on, I need you to listen to me. You may give me ideas, some
good, some bad, and some that are definitely harmful to all of us, but
it will be me making the decisions, no matter how long you scream in
There will be no more porn, no all-night drinking binges, and no more yelling
at people over piddly shit. Have you got that Mr. Hyde?
As for you Jekyll, just because we are strong doesn’t mean we have to
be silent. It’s okay to ask for help or just have a cup of tea without
being pretentious about it. We don’t have to go into hiding simply
because something has upset us.
To quote Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Hyde, you
can still tell me to take a break and have a little fun without
breaking the pocketbook. We don’t have to go on benders for weeks at
a time. We can just chill. We can feel good and laugh and smile
and be intimate with our girlfriend, but it’s not the end of the world if we
don’t have to do it right now.
Jekyll, stop being an obsessive, introverted, arrogant little prick.
I’m more than glad to have you as my friend. You always give me such
unique insight into what Hyde is doing. And you have stopped me from
doing stupid stuff on more than one occasion.
We each offer strengths and insights into our shared little world that make
us a unique person of value to the human race, but in the end I’m
going to be the one in charge. This is my life and you have been with
me through thick and thin, not so much for the blessings but as the
cause. Dudes, together we can be something extraordinary. We have
the ability to learn faster, think deeper, to be more compassionate,
more productive, and an even funnier son-of-a-bitch than we are now.
So when I feel you guys getting out of control I’m going to have to
take a break, talk with you, and keep you in line. You can help me be
the person I want to be, not the person on the 6 o’clock news or the
daily arrest report.
Hating you has done no good and giving you free reign has only
brought chaos. So this is it. Be polite. Introduce yourself. Be the
person I know I can be and everything will be just fine. By embracing
you, I make us all a better person, somebody worth remembering, not
somebody needing to be forgotten.
So do you understand now why things have been so rough the last 30
years? It’s because you’ve been in control, not me. That changes
today! I can embrace you or I can medicate you into oblivion. The
choice is mine.
Think about it for a while and I’ll decide what part of you gets to
continue being a part of me.
This letter was written during the course of my first major manic episode of the year, which actually started around Christmas. I am the author of the book, “To My Children, Love Dad.” It is my testimony about how basic Christian doctrines have changed my life and how they can help everyone. Insert shameless plug: All who buy the book directly from my website receive a signed copy with a personal note of hope and love, if you’d like. I also blog about the things I have time to ponder about in my life in Southeastern Idaho and share my photography of this beautiful piece of America.
I do have a permanent disability called Bipolar Disorder that I have been dealing with for 30 years and researching for the last 20. Some days I cannot focus and get nothing done while other days I am hyper-productive and hilarious. However most of the time, aside from my talking to God or any number of ideas racing through my head, you’d never know I have an illness that has almost taken my life.
I rely on the support of family and close friends inside and outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and above all my Heavenly Father, My Savior, and my spirit bro, the Holy Ghost. Without them, I would not have had the strength to change my perspective in life to discover that this “curse” was given to me as a blessing if I would learn how to use my symptoms.
Life isn’t perfect, but the perfect joy in life is knowing that we have the strength not merely to survive but to enjoy, to rejoice, and to exude our divinity everywhere we go. From the second half of 2 Nephi 2:2, Book of Mormon:
… and all thine afflictions shall be consecrated for thy good.
Do you know how it feels to sit in the middle of a classroom, worried that everyone behind you gapes at your back instead of the board? Look at how she bends over the desk, like a hunchback, her stomach scrunching over her thighs. Do you know what it’s like to scurry through the hallways, a place where you’re supposed to be just another face in the crowd, but it feels like everyone is looking right at yours? Why is she in such a hurry, why’s her head bowed so far forward? Nerd, why’s she so eager to get to class? When speaking in front of a group, do you feel like a sculpture on display, like your audience studies your clothes, your movements, your expressions, more than what you have to share? What is she wearing, why are her knees shaking? Is she still droning on about this? Ha, her shirt’s so tight on her you can see her bra. Is your world a battlefield, strangers the soldiers and scrutiny their swords, slashing through you with their cold stares (or the sheer possibility of them)?
They’re going to look up, they’re going to see, ouch I just tripped, I can feel my heart in my stomach, pounding, pounding, they can hear it, they know they know that I’m afraid to say more than two words, they know how pathetic I am.
This string of thoughts, this parade of pain, doesn’t march through your mind. No, you live up in your skyscraper, high and mighty and unharmed. The world is more like a playground for you, swings sets and monkey bars constructed of innocent people’s insecurities and worries. You’re the unjustified bully in the sweatshirt, and I’m the girl with the pigtails, cowering under the slide, hoping and praying that you won’t attack her today.
You’re the puppet master of all of your victims. We live at your mercy, and bend to your will. You tug and pull at our strings, kick our hearts into unhealthy rhythms, cackle at us from behind the scenes.
But we aren’t your victims, are we? We shouldn’t be, at least. We shouldn’t feel abused by our own minds. We shouldn’t have to cower in the corner of the playground, too frightened to join the fun. You’re not half as brave as we are, you only pick and prod at the things we most fear. But it’s about time that we are able to come out into the open, and if not rid ourselves of our fears, then at least keep you from using them against our will. You may live in your skyscraper, but you are not untouchable, and when we make our way through the battlefield, we will make our way to you, too. Don’t think you’ve got us, me, under your thumb so easily. You are not unbeatable; it only takes the time and patience of a true warrior, like all of us.
Since middle school, I have struggled with feelings of anxiety, especially social anxiety. For years, and on a daily basis, I blindly battled my anxiety, unaware that there were others experiencing the same thing. Though I now understand why I panic in social situations, it is still a challenge every day not to worry about the slightest glance or word thrown my way in public. Through writing and talking about it, I hold out hope that it will improve. I am an avid writer. I live at the mercy of my many dreams, including moving to a big city to be a publisher, moving to the Appalachian Mountains to become a hiker, and making a difference any way I can.
There’s a classic phrase that we are all familiar with, which is spoken retrospectively, and I am going to use it now.
A few years ago, if someone had told me that I’d be in my third year of university contemplating a career in Journalism, whilst trying to establish myself as a writer by writing poetry on a WordPress blog and working on three novels, one of which would be my dissertation project, I wouldn’t have believed them.
I’ve found that life has a funny way of making you realise how far you’ve come, and how amazing you can be if you just try. At one point in my life, I didn’t try at all. Well, I did, but I didn’t feel like I was doing anything worthwhile. I hadn’t found my passion. There wasn’t a spark in my life that said, ‘Hey, you’re on the right path, you’re doing the right things.’ I felt like I was on the wrong path, doing things that I didn’t really want to do. This meant that I would believe I had to start all over again by taking a leap of faith. It turned out that when I leapt, I landed on the edge of the new path and it immediately felt wrong, and that’s when I realised I had to jump back.
I landed back onto the right path, which is the one I had been walking all along, without realising that I was heading towards the future meant for me.
So, where does anxiety fit into all this? My final year of college (which was in fact an extra year, because the year most people went to university, I wasn’t ready and I wanted to delay the inevitable) gave me so much stress that I got anxiety about what I was doing and where I was going. This, coupled with the fact that I thought I was a terrible friend, and then heightened by the grief I was suffering due to the loss of my Grandad, meant that I felt hollow. I was empty. I had nothing to give myself or anyone else. I was waking up miserable, wishing for a different life. I wished for change, I wanted to be a different person, a better version of myself, because who I was then didn’t feel like anyone at all. I wrote ‘I do not exist’ on a piece of paper and stuck it on my late Grandad’s corkboard.
It got to the point where I had to take a week off college to get my head around things. In my mind, I wanted to leave for good. It scares me to think where I would be if I had dropped out, but I’m grateful for the fact that I realised I needed help and I went straight to my GP and told her how I’d been feeling. Before I knew it, I was having Cognitive Behavioural Therapy over the phone. I’d studied CBT in Psychology in my first year of college and suffice to say I didn’t make it to a second year. Ironically, it was too much for my mind to handle.
Gradually, I started to feel better and began seeing the world differently. It was after my therapy ended that my coping techniques really kicked in, because at that point I was out on my own. I’d got through my exams, applied to university and was awaiting the results. I knew that this was the new chapter I had been aching after. I just needed to wait a little longer.
Results Day was surreal but massively overwhelming in a good way. It was official; I would be going to Nottingham Trent University to study English with Creative Writing. I was shocked, but relieved. Shocked because it felt like a complete accident (I don’t entirely remember selecting that course, or being aware of what course I had chosen) and relieved because I knew I had, somehow, chosen the right course. I realised that I had been lucky not to ruin everything for myself. I very nearly did, but it turned out that although the last few months of college had been some of the hardest, everything happened for a reason, and everything fell into place in a way that I could only have dreamed of.
However, just because I finally felt in the right place, it doesn’t mean that my anxiety disappeared. I was managing it then, and I’m managing it now, but it still creeps in once in a while to remind me that it’s there. Some problems don’t leave or get resolved no matter how hard you try, so you stop trying and it gets worse. Until you end up with nothing at all, and that in itself is a problem. But, change your way of thinking, and you can turn your problem into a solution. I still felt like a terrible friend, but then I realised that it didn’t matter, because I know that I am a good friend. I’m reluctant to write it, but I need to reassure myself that I am a good person and a good friend to the people that love me and appreciate me, those who understand my story, and believe in me and where I am going. I realised that if I was to defeat my anxiety, I needed to overcome the source of it, and this was a losing battle. A conflicting, confusing and, at times, terrifying battle that saw my self-esteem plummet back to square one. When you look at yourself through the eyes of someone who causes you intense anxiety (shaking, sickness, worry) you begin to think that you deserve to feel that way, and that you’re trapped in an endless cycle.
Break the cycle. It’s not a case of quitting while you’re ahead, because getting ahead might not be possible, it’s a case of realising that you’re losing, and the only way you’re going to come out a winner is to let yourself get out. Do it for you, not to get ahead, or to give up, but to stay happy. If you’re sad, something needs to change. If you’re anxious, something needs to change. Until you are happy, you need to look at yourself and ask: What do you want?
I matter, you matter, we all matter, albeit in different ways and in different circumstances. You need to find that point where you know you can be peaceful; smile despite the pain that you felt, or even caused, to get there. It’s not selfish; it’s simply looking out for yourself.
I write poetry to cope with my anxiety. I talk to my anxiety and try to understand it as well as deal with it. I don’t let it get to me anymore. I rise above the pain and try to create something I can be proud of. It has shaped me into the person I am today, and when I think of my lowest points I am thankful for them. I’m thankful for everything that went wrong, and everything that went right, because if they hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be here, writing these words now.
I am a good person, I am a storyteller, I am a poet.
I have friends, I have words, I have anxiety.
I have mindfulness and clarity of thought; I have peace.
Right now, I am exactly where I am, and always was, meant to be.
Jade K. Moore
EDITOR’S NOTE:Hi, it’s Memee. Jade was offered the opportunity to guest blog on my site when she won the Love’n Hate Poetry Challenge I held last month. The challenge truly inspired her and out of it came An Open Letter which personified her anxiety allowing her to recognize the growth that her disorder has gifted her which inspired her even further, prompting her to create a project entitled, Letters to the Mind blog. A blog where every one can submit creative expressions of our mental health struggles and triumphs. I am proud to be affiliated with the project as an editor and contributor on the site. I hope you will join me in participating in this brand-new, much needed, project. So, please, help spread the news. Non-bloggers and family members impacted by mental illness are encouraged to participate as well!
To read, follow or join Letters to the Mind project click here.