Rewriting Our “Ish-tastic” Past Pt. 1

holey jeansLast week, I wrote a two-part series about Friendship, which focused on the concept that vulnerability leads to courage. As I have thought more about some of the messy, painful parts of my own story; the parts that leave me feeling exposed, I realized that although I am not unique, the journey I have taken may be. Though initially unconscious of the steps I have taken to rewrite my story, I have most definitely moved through a process where I can now live peacefully with my past.

This is not to say shame and regret do not rear their ugly little heads every once in a while and try to pull me into that dark place, where self-protection and self-sufficiency reside; leaving no room for others, they certainly do. And even though this is a painful place, it strangely feels safe because the only one who can hurt me here is myself. You know this place too. I think we’ve all visited at one time or another. Some stay longer than others, while others never leave. What happens in this place, however, is hurt grows, bitterness creeps in, and the light becomes blinding. If we choose to stay in this place, rewriting our stories will be impossible!

I’ve heard it said that “What we think determines how we feel, which then impacts how we behave” (I wish I knew whom to credit for such geniuses).

Think about this for a moment. I bet every one of us can pinpoint either a story or a situation where our thoughts have been high-jacked! Our minds play on loop: I’m not good enough, I am unlovable, I’m unfixable, I don’t amount to much…” These falsities poison our minds and somehow, if we are not careful, we can actually believe them. Proverbs 4:23 cautions us when it says, “Be careful about what you think. Your thoughts run your life”.

What we can derive from this is Satan wants us to get caught up on the external things we do, not our thoughts. If our thoughts are the wellspring of life, it is essential we begin here as we rewrite the ending to our stories.

We cannot change our past. We can undo what has already been done. We have endured heartbreaking things. Harm has been done, trust has been broken, lies have been told. So, if we are going to rewrite the ending to our stories, we have to get ready to “prepare our minds for action; be self-controlled; set our hope fully on the grace Christ is giving to us” 1 Peter 1:13-14 (paraphrased). One way

What that looks like:
Understand that wrestling with our past, as painful as it might be, is necessary in order to move forward. It’s ok to mourn the loss of innocence, the loss of a childhood, to face that we did not get what we needed, or the fact that what we had was stripped away from us, etc. It’s OK to acknowledge that parts of our stories are wrong, bad, evil, painful. We don’t like these feelings; they hurt. They are the very ones that cause us to run the opposite direction, to glaze over these parts of our stories, not just because they are uncomfortable to us, but we know they make others feel uncomfortable as well. Somehow, we have made ourselves the decider of what they get to feel. (how silly is that?)

My glazed version of one of my stories: I was raped. I’m kind of comfortable leaving it right there. It’s all most people can handle. No questions asked, no details to share. Minimal pain ensued.

Here’s what wrestling with that looks like:
I couldn’t function for days—even the basic tasks such as getting dressed were hard. My body felt as if it were moving through sludge and yet, my mind felt as if I was floating in a numbing hazy. I avoided the mirror because I didn’t want to see myself. I felt ugly. I felt ruined. I feared everyone could tell by looking at me what had happened, which in one moment moved me to tears and in the next, hardened my heart. I feared making love with my own husband for months afterwards because every time I closed my eyes, I saw my attacker’s eyes; and every time my body began to relax, I was jostled by the imaginary feeling of his heavy-handed grip on my waist. I wondered if my bruising and tearing would ever heal or if I would be physically damaged as much as I was emotionally damaged. Flashbacks haunted me both day and night for seeming forever. To be honest, I don’t remember when they became less frequent. It just seemed they were always there and then disappeared; though even now, 17 years later, I am startled by something and my mind replays that night.

Sigh. That hurts to write; really hurts. And it is that kind of pain we glaze over to make both ourselves and others feel more comfortable. However, if I chose to stay in this pain and live, as a victim, my thoughts will hold me captive. I will be locked in an imaginary cage, suffocating. And though I am fully protected here, I would spend my entire life pining for freedom, where I could grow and thrive as God intended me. And you as well. With Christ, we have the power to stop the chatter and to cling to a life in FREEDOM.

Brene Brown says it this way, “[We] either walk into [our] story and own our truth, or [we’ll] live outside [our] story, hustling for [our] worthiness”. barrel 1

No one gets to hold that kind of power over me; nope, I’m not gonna let that happen. I own my truth. I get to say where the story ends.

Read “Our “Ish-Tastic” Stories Pt 2” Here


Related Posts:
“Badassery” Friendships Pt. 1
“Badassery” Friendships Pt 2
From Where I Stand
Nostalgic or Transformative; Our Stories Are Powerful

13 thoughts on “Rewriting Our “Ish-tastic” Past Pt. 1

  1. Hooray! I FINALLY made it to your blog. I think I have found someone who is even more honest than myself. I often don’t think this is possible as I am quite painfully honest 98% of the time. First of all, I LOVE your ee cummings quote at the top of your blog. He is just about as cool as they get, so mad props for using him. Secondly, I am deeply sorry for the pain you experienced 17 years ago. I will remember to say an occasional prayer for you as I know you will always be healing in one way or another. Thirdly, EXCELLENT post! Again, I love your honesty and I also just enjoy reading your writing. Easy to read, yet not boring. This is a topic I don’t often think about to be honest. You outlined it really well and the pictures you used were awesome. Can I ask where you got them? Did you take them yourself? We’ve talked about this already, but I’m never overly thrilled with the pics on my blog. Thanks for writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pursue Peace!
      What a sweet response! Thank you for your kind words and feedback. As you know as beginning blogger, we often wonder first, if anyone is even reading our posts and secondly, what we could be doing better. I do think we write from a similar standpoint and that makes me entirely endeared to your blog! I love running into others who share my love for Jesus and want the world to know! That is my primary reason for writing. Secondly, I want to leave something tangible for my daughters!

      As for the pictures, most I have taken, but the ones in this post, I got from a free site. There are three that I know of where copyrights are not an issue. Check out: pixabay.com, pexels.com, and gratisography.com I learned recently that there is an app for editing photos too: picsart.com. I haven’t looked that up yet, but it might prove to be a valuable tool! I am sure there are other sites too. I just have yet to discover them!
      Anyway, blessings to you! I can’t wait to see what you put out next!
      Karyn

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  2. My heart hurts for the fact that this is your story…that being said, and a whole bunch of stuff I’m not going to say. I know what you mean, and if you didn’t have this ” whole” story you would not be this person who you have grown to be… I love this person! I love this friend! I need THIS friend!

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    • You are a “cherry-on-top” kind of friend! I’m incredibly blessed to have you in my life and love that even though miles and miles and even more miles separate us our hearts are knitted together as if you still lived next door!

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  4. Visiting via the Community Pool. Really good description of what wrestling looks like. These sentences struck me the most: “I didn’t want to see myself. I felt ugly. I felt ruined.” And yet you did nothing ugly. Made me wonder whether the rapist ever avoids the mirror, ever feels ugly….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for visiting!
      You pose a good question. I have no idea what goes through this kind of man’s head. It is illogical and selfish, as well as confused and broken to say the least. You kind of have to wonder what has to happen to someone to lead them down this path. Breaks my heart to think about because you know it wasn’t something good. It goes to show the importance of raising our kids in a healthy environment and getting them help when they show signs of needing something that we are not equipped to give. Ahhh, deep thoughts on this one!

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