the struggle is real.
have you ever felt broken? like truly, utterly broken? i have. sometimes do, actually, right now. and sometimes it's a challenge to show up to life when you feel broken from the inside out and you aren't quite sure how to trust yourself.
the first time i remember feeling broken was in my early twenties, when i was struggling with a deep depression, existential crisis, and addictive behaviors. i spent a good almost two years trying to 'fix' that broken, and pull all my pieces back together. i remember it being one of the most painful but freeing times in my whole life. i wouldn't revisit that experience again (like, ever), but i look back on it fondly with the knowledge that who i am now is absolutely dependent on that person i became back then. i remember it often, when i meet clients that struggle with something similar or when i look down at my foot at see the small but mighty tattoo i got to commemorate coming out of that brokenness.
and now, about ten years or so later, i think i've returned to another pivotal, broken period of life. it's not as tragic or dramatic as that one was, and i don't feel as untethered as i did back then, but if i'm honest, i feel pretty broken. it's been a rough year; lots of events have challenged my steadfastness. while i think i managed them in the moment, the events have finally seemed to fizzle out and i am just now finally starting to take stock of myself and realizing i am feeling less than whole.
part of my less than wholeness is in my mind. actually, almost all of it. my mind is my worst enemy and i just haven't figured out how to beat it. while this year has been oh so hard, the hardest part was actually just right between my ears: the constant struggle with depression, irritability, mood swings; the various doctor appointments to get hormone levels and genetic predispositions checked; the medications and supplements; the litany of inventories and questionnaires asking me to rate my moods and behaviors; reviewing family history and revealing vulnerable thoughts and feelings to new professionals; the mood charting, the exercise and diet regimes; the constant fighting with my loved ones and not knowing if it's because i'm actually unhappy or just actually plain crazy... all of this in hope that something will click and i will start to feel like myself, whoever that is, once again.
i can't say that i am there yet. i still feel broken and unlike myself most days. but i have found some things that work, and some that don't. i have begun practicing more mindfulness and living in the moment. and i am concentrating lots of time and energy on God and renewing my commitment and life for Him. trying to define my self worth in who He says i am, rather than who my crazy brain or my current mood of the day says i am.
i don't think i'll ever really figure it all out exactly, but i am hoping that eventually i will figure out more things that make day to day more manageable, as well as come to a peace and truth about who i am on the inside and out. i know that i am surrounded by people who love me, and most importantly, i am loved and delighted in by the God who made me. so while i keep trying to fit the broken pieces back into some semblance of a picture, i am going to hold on to that.
i don't normally like to explain my tattoos to most people because i like keeping the meaning personal, but this one is very symbolic to me and feels like it needs a little story:
the anchor symbolizes my anchoring relationship to God. he is the one true thing i can wrap my world around.
the tuberose flowers are a symbol of my husband. they have taken on a special meaning between the two of us.
the two little hearts are my babies.
the sparrows are my "spirit animal", if you will. the Lord has spoken powerfully to me through sparrow imagery throughout my journey with Him. i think there's some sort of word that encompasses this idea better, but you get the point.