Warning: Ugly honesty and not a whole lot of hope here in this post. If you are struggling today, please do not read this. I couldn’t stand it if I knew that my words pushed a hurting heart into a worse place.
I have always been seen. As in, I am a real person with flesh on my bones who lives and breathes and talks and laughs and cries.
But I am not known.
To be known is to betray safety. To be known, truly known, is dangerous. They made sure that if I didn’t learn anything else from them, that at least I learned that.
And unfortunately I learned so much more.
When I was a child, I went to school. And church. And I played sports. I was seen. But I did not speak unless forced to. No one pressed in to know me. I was seen but never known.
As a young adult, I went to church. And school. And I was a friend, without ever having any true friends. I went to small groups, and when I was asked any questions beyond the mundane, I did what I was trained to do.
Because to be known is to betray them. To be known is to betray safety, and to be known is dangerous. And to be truly known brings pain to people I love who didn’t ask for this.
As my children were born, and we moved far away from the ones I lied to protect (or was I lying to protect myself…?), I made a new life. I put the old life behind me. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do?
I made friends. I went to play groups at the park. I told my name and I talked about what young mothers talk about….their kids. No one pressed in to know me. And if they did, I did the only thing I had ever known to do. I lied. Or changed the subject.
I became an expert listener, counselor, friend…. to protect myself.
I have a deep well for people to drink from. It is deep because it was drilled by my own blood, sweat and tears….alone. with God. It is deep enough for so many who don’t know the kind of pain I have lived. It is deep enough for the parenting issues and the marriage issues and many of the general plagues of life on this earth.
My heart is a safe haven for others’ pain. And it is deep enough for everyone except for me. My well is not deep enough to quench my own parched, dry and aching soul. It is not deep enough for my own unanswered questions.
There I said it.
I have not found the answers to my deepest pain.
And living like this – always seen, but never known….this is killing me. slowly.
Because I go to church, and I go to my kids’ schools, and I am known…but only as the thing I have let myself become known as. A mom who has ridden some hard storms with her kids and seen God faithful. A wife who has held on through the darkest pain in a marriage, and seen God do a miracle. An adoptive parent who has stood against some of the most evil men and women and demons who have ever trapped the fatherless in their clutches with no intention of ever letting just one of these small ones go….and seen God move on their behalf and deliver them into my open arms.
I have seen him move mountains. My kids, my marriage, adoption, friendships….. And I have freely shared those parts of my pain AND my victories with those who come to me, hurting, looking for hope.
But what no one sees when they look at me is the questions deep down inside of me that threaten to drown me completely. In my “real” life – the one where people know my “real” name and see me in the flesh – no one knows that underneath the girl with the deep well she draws from to comfort everyone else, is a wrecked heart, struggling to breathe and live and make it past the hell that every single day holds inside.
They can’t know. Because to be known – for my face and my name to be associated with even the amount of pain I have shared on these virtual pages, that would not be safe….
And here, on this blog, and in the little virtual realm where there are those of you I have “connected” with – the place where I am “free” to share a small bit of my truth, even here, I am seen but never really known.
Because here you see me offer up truth that has emerged from my pain. You see me in my moments where I am strong enough to offer something that might be helpful or lend insight to you – but you still do not KNOW me.
You can’t see that on top of struggling to heal from my past, which you actually know very little about, even if you have read every single word here on this blog….you can’t see that the struggle to heal is accompanied by the other frustrations of daily life. In this sense, I don’t think too many people think of me beyond what is portrayed here, which is often strength, sometimes a glimpse of weakness, but NEVER the whole truth.
No, not the truth. Because to tell the whole truth would mean you would know – really know – me. And that is not safe. I can’t tell you my name. I can’t tell you the things I struggle with on a daily basis like you – the marriage, the kids, the health, the stuff other people blog about – because that would be too vulnerable.
So I am stuck between these two worlds. The world I live in, and the world I blog in. And no one ever really knows the true, whole, all me. I am always only known in bits and pieces, never as a whole person.
And while it is a relief in some ways to blog here and just say the words, anonymously, that I say here….it perpetuates the dividedness I have always lived with.
I am stuck between two worlds, and both are uttterly isolating.
There is so much good writing circulating in the blogosphere and even into mainstream literature these days about the importance of story. About how healing and freeing it is to tell our stories. About how what we really long for is to be really known.
And my heart reads and rings out a resounding, “YES!!” and then recoils immediately back into the knowledge that being truly known is not an option – for me.
I went to church Sunday, and no one there can know who I really am. They cannot hear my story. To allow that would be to betray safety and the ones I love. So in the midst of that crowd, I am alone.
I went to the kids school yesterday where I am in charge of a big end of the year event. I interacted with 18 different moms, many of whom I have gotten to know well over the years….our kids have grown up together. I know them. But they do not know me. They only know the small parts that are safe to share.
I went on my personal facebook and found my heart no place to land safely.
I went on my “stones cry” facebook and found my heart as lonely there.
And I go in and out of both spheres of life day in and day out, and never is there a safe landing place for my heart.
And I know that we don’t all always feel like we belong anywhere.
But I have never once felt like I belonged anywhere.
Because I am divided. By necessity.
And today I find myself overwhelmed in both categories. I am overwhelmed by kids who talk back and don’t do their chores and who have missed the past 13 algebra assignments and who got a 70 on a test at school and didn’t bother telling. And I am overwhelmed with home schooling 4 kids and wondering how I am going to test the one that is so far behind in math this year.
And I am hurting over the one whose heart has never truly been mine because she knew 5 other mommies before me, and I am going crazy over the pride that oozes out of another because of her own fatherless insecurities.
I am worried for the one who holds it all inside because he is old enough to know that things are not ok with mom, and I am watching my “baby” turn hormonal and missing the simplicity of his innocence.
And I am frustrated beyond measure by a situation with my husband’s job and overwhelmed with the amount of things that I haven’t done or haven’t done well this year. And I hurt. My body hurts all the time.
And my heart hurts from the mom who stands in constant judgment over me because I can’t carry the burdens the way she thinks I should because she can’t see the extra 2000 pounds weighing on my heart, and her ugly words that she didn’t mean for me to see are breaking me because she doesn’t KNOW ME.
And I am overwhelmed in this part of my life where I quietly, desperately pursue healing for my broken heart. This place where I am fighting just to stay alive even though no one in either world really knows THAT. I am overwhelmed with questions that just don’t have answers and I am overwhelmed to the point of it just ending me, and I can’t say that here in this space either.
Because, somehow, I have EXPERTLY built not one, but two completely separate worlds, neither of which I can be honest in.
I can’t tell the homeschooling moms or the adoption buddies the thoughts I am struggling with or the programming I can’t break before it’s too late. They could not and would not handle that well. They can’t even get over the fact that I can’t take on one more class to teach their kids.
And I can’t tell you, my readers here at stonescry how I am struggling. Because if I told you too much, I would pay a price I’m not willing to pay…again.
And this is what makes me pause. Why am I even writing this blog? How in the world have I created one more space on this planet where I can pour in but never receive? Where I am not ever free to be honest and open about how BAD things really are? Who can my heart ever turn to – who has the well that can lend me a drink on my worst days?
But that is what I have done.
And when I am battling demons and fighting with thoughts no mom of kids should ever be thinking, how is it that I have no place on this earth that is safe to speak my heart to any people with flesh on?
And don’t get me wrong – this is ALL my own doing.
And I know how to take things to Christ – I know that He alone can heal the broken places, and I have seen him do that over and over in many ways in my life, just me and Him – the two of us alone.
But this place I am stuck – this place is a place where I desperately need someone with flesh on. Because my problem is with HIM. And no matter how many times I take this broken piece to Him, it is my perception of Him – the very problem that keeps me from finding my answer.
And so it is a place where I desperately need to pour out into a heart strong enough to catch my angry accusations and gently use words to soothe and to calm and arms to hold and hands to point me in the right direction. But there is not a chance of that happening.
Because I have come to believe of this world here as no different from the “real” world where I live. Where it is not safe nor is it WANTED that I should be HONEST or ask hard questions that no one wants to hear.
So I just fall silent. I just don’t write anymore. For months at a time……I say nothing.
Because I have nothing to say that anyone wants to hear.
All I have to offer is the desperate struggle that is threatening to eat me alive right now. And that doesn’t seem all that attractive.
And even if I am so incredibly wrong about some of you – that you would welcome my hardest questions and your well would be deep enough, your heart secure enough to just sit right in the ugly mess with me until the clouds parted….even if that were an option, I only know how to do one thing with that, and that is to push you away.
To protect myself. And to keep my family safe.
They care not if I talk the talk I talk here. But they would never chance being exposed by my heart ever truly trusting someone. And believe me, you don’t want to be there to see the end game on that.
And one day they will all be dead. And if I make it that long, I will be old, and maybe then it will finally be safe for me to come out of hiding.
But today, that seems just a little too far out of reach.
So if you’ve wondered – or even if you probably haven’t wondered where I am in these silent months – I am here, stuck between two worlds….always seen in one or the other, but never known in either. And fighting a losing battle that neither world can see.