Why Are We Here (Part 2): For Each Other

So I did part 1 of why are we here a long time ago- I was actually shocked when I looked back at the date when I first started trying to write part 2. But today part 2 is flowing out of me. It is SCREAMING. As I look at the world and the chaos, it has never been more clear. As I evaluate my relationships around me, my feelings within me, it is in bright flashing lights…WE ARE HERE FOR EACH OTHER! But this couldn’t be more far from the truth as I see things unravel in the world we live right now. Let me explain…

I hate nothing more than being a keyboard warrior. Perhaps maybe that’s why I don’t write as much as I do. Since my husband died and I’ve began to have the life brought back into me after being treated for severe depression and suicidal ideation/planning, I want to live a life of ACTION. Because you’ve heard it so many times, actions do speak louder than words. And boy words these days are almost deafening. I’m almost numb to them. Anyone that has unfortunately had tragic loss in their life has heard “let me know if you need anything.” Trust me, I know people mean well, but most people are not going to ask as they don’t want to burden anyone. Everyone is doing the best they can right now. Or are we? Are we really doing all we can? I’m not judging I’m simply asking a question.

Lately, I have asked myself this same question. I have not been working as I have been doing 2 different therapies to deal with my life circumstances – basically for healing so I can truly move forward as a healthier version of me. Because until I heal and take the time to deal with these things holding me back, I will never be able to move forward. But I never want to keep anything from me being there for others. No excuse will ever be big enough to keep me from what I’m here for. When I die or when Jesus returns, I won’t sit and wish I had just one more argument with someone over wearing a mask or not, or wish I wouldn’t have visited that one person in a nursing home, or that I didn’t make that one phone call that might emotionally cost me a little – no that’s the stuff that I’m gonna wish I took the time to do. I’m probably gonna wish I spent less time looking at my screen and running after my nieces and nephews. I know that’s what they will remember at least after I’m gone.

I wrestle EVERY.SINGLE.DAY with motivation. I blame my depression for that. But is that where I should place the blame? Too easy of a cop out? I was this way back when Paul was here because I hated my 9-5 job. I always thought becoming a mom would fix it. When he died and that dream died (for God knows how long), I thought what am I going to replace that with? What is going to motivate me? Am I always going to need medication to motivate me? Will a new love ignite a new motivation in me? I honestly still do not have the answers to these questions. But I want to give an honest answer that I believe time is running out. When Paul died, my perspective changed. It showed me that the time we have left with our loved ones and friends around us is uncertain – and that continues to hold true to this day in these uncertain times. Youth/age means nothing when it comes to the amount of time you have left. This life is but a vapor. How will you spend it?

I believe now more than ever we need each other, it couldn’t be more evident that this is what the pandemic and social divide has taught us. Being apart from one another spiked depression and anxiety in a world that was already suffering from these two things. As human beings, we were created for connection. When God created Adam, He saw that he was alone and that it was NOT good. Thus, He created Eve. I urge you to stay connected outside of your phones – if anything disconnect from your phone and show up in person! We need that physical connection, our humanness thrives and dies by it. Of course be smart about it – this doesn’t need to be a political issue, I’m not asking anyone’s opinion nor giving mine, I’m just saying we NEED this guys!! Recognize the needs of others and simply DO IT. Most often times people are screaming to us what they need, we don’t even have to ask. This life is so hard, and we cannot bear our burdens alone. Go be present ❤️

The People Pleaser: What It Means to Struggle with Relationship Insecurity

Hello everyone! I know I’m coming to ya at a weird time, but I’m not able to sleep and just have a lot of thoughts running through my mind. It’s been awhile since I’ve wrote a blog, and there’s a reason for that. I’ve been told by a couple people that I shouldn’t keep blogging and keep putting “too much out there.” Well it couldn’t be more perfect to explain myself, as the people pleaser in me feels I need to, why I will continue to blog when I feel it on my heart necessary to do so.

I legitimately had typed out and then just erased “I’m sorry” if I have over shared some things and made some of you uncomfortable. There is a reason I share what I do – it is to show the REAL struggle of REAL life problems. My family and I talked last night about all the junk that is on tv that thousands of people fill their minds with – the Kardashians, the Bachelor, scrolling social media following celebrity accounts that are famous for what? Simply being gorgeous with a killer body? What about real life, real world problems people aren’t talking about? Oh I’m sorry (ha), does this make you uncomfortable? It should because I’m not talking about stuff like grief, depression, suicidal ideation as if I’m the only person on the planet that deals with it. I’m talking about the things your friends sit at home in the dark thinking to themselves but are too afraid to tell you. Ok now that the people pleaser in me has explained myself on that and is now going to analyze how you’re gonna take all this, let’s dive into what I really wanted to talk about.

I was able to still do therapy over video chat while I’m here in Destin on vacation this week, and some things that we talked about were true AHA moments for me. I keep reminding myself over and over what was discussed. One thing that I mentioned was that in relationships (friendships, family, dating, etc) I worry so much about being liked. I mean who does not want to be liked as a person? But how many of you have been envious of that person that when someone is rude to them or it’s abundantly clear someone doesn’t like them (such as they get ghosted by someone-which was my current issue or so and so didn’t like my post on social media) they don’t give a crap? 🙋🏼‍♀️🙋🏼‍♀️🙋🏼‍♀️ Now me, I’m going to analyze the crap out of what I did wrong for them not to like me. How could you not like me? What did I do wrong? What didn’t I do, etc?

The answer to the question of why don’t you like me will always be that there must be something wrong with me. This is what you call relationship insecurity. What causes this? Lack of confidence and low self esteem. When these words came out of my therapist’s mouth, tears welled up in my eyes and started rolling down my face. Years and years of people pleasing was now just explained in a simple, yet heavy, sentence. What a burden to carry for so long. What caused this lack of confidence and low self esteem? I know the answer but the thought of trying to fix the years of damage that was done and the daily thoughts I tell myself sometimes…shew, I might as well try to crawl up Mount Everest on my sunburnt knees…eyes closed…backwards…

So seriously what.am.I.to.do? My therapist again gave me another sentence – simple yet another huge AHA. What if I focus on the EFFORT I put in in the relationship vs the OUTCOME? That means that I can focus on what part I can actually control vs what I cannot control. WOW. The people pleaser in me felt some weight taken off my shoulders. Basically I’m gonna be me, which I know in my heart is good. And if they don’t like it, I’m going to be ok with that because I know the effort I put in. This obviously is going to take time and practice but I kinda like this whole idea and it will be worth investing in. I have wayyyy too many other aspects of life that need my attention.

Now lack of confidence and low self esteem are other areas that will certainly take work. I’m not just talking about the physical component although this is clearly a very significant piece. I’m talking about those thoughts we tell ourselves on the daily, which may even be about our physical appearance. “Nothing I ever do is right.” “I’m never going to be good enough.” “I look so fat.” “No one is ever going to want me.” Just to give you a few examples. Past relationships (definitely not my marriage) where I was cheated on or made to feel not good enough started these negative thoughts about me. Also, perfectionism is another struggle that my people pleaserness thrives and dies by which also creates more negative thoughts when I mess up. Because guess what? I can’t give myself a lick of grace. Now if it’s anyone else, sure I can give them some but noooooooo not me.

To deal with these negative thoughts and the perfectionist problem, I said to myself the other day “who does God say that I am?” Well you know, Katie, He calls you his child (1 John 3:1). The Bible says you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). She is clothed in strength and dignity…Proverbs 31:25. So basically He made me strong (even when I don’t feel it), I’m His masterpiece, and I AM HIS regardless what I think of myself or who likes me. What else truly matters?

I am reminded of a story about my mom and Paisley, my 7 year old niece, walking the beach this week and Paisley says to mom “so grandma, when God made jellyfish He made a mistake?” She said this since they have the ability to sting and can hurt us. Talk about a hefty question as you’re supposed to be taking a leisurely stroll…so did God make a few mistakes when He made me? The short answer is no and this is a story for another day, but the main point is He did not make a mistake. There’s a Christian movie from my childhood that has a song that says “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.” That is me – a continuous work in progress, one that is loved by the most high God which is the most secure relationship I could possibly have.

P.S. Give yourself some grace!

ECT – The Big Collide

I ended up on the psych ward of IU Hospital in Indianapolis a couple weeks ago after a visit with my psychiatrist went south. Deciding I had nothing to lose (which is my general feeling in life historically over the last 2 years), I decided to be brutally honest. In spilling my guts, I left nothing to the imagination – how frequent I thought about committing suicide and how I would do it. I make sure he’s aware how “over it” I am – life and it’s disappointments. I’m tired of having to play with the hand I was dealt. I’m tired of playing the “widow” card. I’m tired of being motherless. I’m tired of being dateless. I’m just tired.

So here we are waiting for transport where I’ll be shipped somewhere that can handle me at a time like this – where pretty much every God given right is stripped and now becomes privilege. I mean it’s no surprise to me why people don’t get help although sometimes it’s kinda nice not being able to have a cell phone at your side 24/7, not having access to food to eat on all day as well. Shoot give me a nice little gym so I can work out and let’s call this a clean prison. Plus my fam getting to visit ain’t so bad. But what is the game plan? ECT – aka controlled seizure for about a minute when they put me to sleep with IV medication. And this is my last hope…

My experiences so far have been mixed. I see improvement in my mood although my short term memory has taken a hit which they say is to be expected. My family calls me Lucy (after the character in 50 First Dates 🤪). I have had some increase in anxiety but for the most part, things have improved for the better. I still have some suicidal ideations but am only halfway through the 12 treatments. Compared to what I was having, this has improved quite a bit to which I’m very thankful.

The most important messages I wanted to convey in this blog: A) suicidal ideation is real and it is hard to fight on your own. I know this may be triggering for some of you to read if you’ve lost loved ones to suicide or to those of you who have suicidal ideations. B) IT IS NOT NORMAL TO WISH YOU WERE DEAD. C) For all the worry, panic, extra precautions that have been taken on my account, I want to tell my family I’m sorry which doesn’t seem like near enough. See here’s the thing about SI – It’s completely irrational and overwhelming. It’s the feeling of “I can’t” one more day. Giving up seems like the only logical, sane option – as insane as that sounds. It’s officially living in a world without hope. If this is you, PLEASE reach out for the ECT lifeline. It has saved my life thus far.

Disconnected: What Depression is and What It’s Not

I’m coming to you live from Starbucks which has never been a writing place for me, but home has been holding me hostage for months. This is essentially my therapist’s game plan at work if you will. You may also be wondering (or not) why you haven’t heard from me in a few months and there is indeed a few reasons for that as well. Largely those reasons are a) I’ve been living a life that has not agreed with me (which may eventually be something I talk about) and b) largely I feel like why does anyone care what I have to say…sure I’ve said it before and as I scroll through social media myself most often times I am annoyed at what I read. Why add to that? Well like anyone else, I want to feel like what I have to say is valued/important because of what I’ve experienced in life. If anything, I want to feel RELATABLE not a  KNOW-IT-ALL. God knows I do NOT have all the answers at my fingertips. So let’s reconnect shall we…

I’m going to go back to Januaryish of 2017 – 1 month before me and Paul get married in a private ceremony, couple months post trip to The Brook Hospital (mental hospital) for me, and things mentally are still not good. It was after the work day and Paul was wanting to go to the police academy to work out, but he knew I was not in a good place. Knowing this, he would not leave me alone at the house by myself. The dude physically put pants on me and forced me out of the house to the gym even if I was going to sit in his presence at a different location outside the home. Tears form in my eyes at the thought of the burden I must have put on him. On different occasions, he would tell me “I’m scared I’m going to come home and find you dead.” And to think he married me 1 month later. 

So I fast forward to now, and my depression is about the same as it was then and of course my biggest support is no longer here and I think how badly I need him. Without this being the most obvious, depressing post you’ve read, I just want to give some education about severe depression in case you or someone you know deals with moderate – severe depression. First of all – depression is NOT A CHOICE. If it was, those that deal with it, would gladly think their way out of it and choose happiness. It is paralyzing. It is not lazy. It is laying in bed because every cell in your body is exhausted at the mere thought of simply existing. For me, it is hoping that non-existence comes sooner than later, even fanaticizing about it. It’s feeling everything but then feeling nothing at all. 

I recently asked a new psychiatrist I’m seeing to explain to me what physiologically is happening in my brain to make this happen. The nurse in me needs to know what is happening with my body. Saying my circumstances, chronic disappointment etc is the reason is not enough for me. His answer….”chronic stress.” To be honest with you, that was not good enough for me. Yes I have endured A LOT of stressors in a short time and most of you know that. But I’m not going to act like my life as a whole has been absolutely horrific – there are many people who have it worse than me. My therapist actually gave a much more beautiful answer (which I can’t remember lol) but it is many many factors. So it is not my fault, it is not a choice I have to make on whether to “get over it,” so what am I going to do?

I have been fighting depression for almost 5 years now. I have tried various anti-depressants and even anti-psychotics to boost the effects of the anti-depressants I am on. I am now to the point where the efficacy of switching meds is too low. The next step is trying TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation). This has about 60-70% chance of working and the purpose of this is to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to combat symptoms of depression. If this does not work, then ECT will be considered which is electroconvulsive therapy. Something that I have also learned is that if you have the gene MTHFR (which of course I do) you are less likely to respond to anti-depressants. And I will also be doing ongoing therapy because for moderate to severe depression, medicine and therapy are necessary for treatment. I’m literally checking all the boxes to help myself and nothing is working. I started working out almost a week ago for 30 minutes daily and honestly have not seen a benefit. Studies show that exercise does improve depression. My therapist educated me that it takes 3-8 weeks to see benefit from exercise.

The truth is I’m tired. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m noticeably withdrawing from people I love and avoiding social interactions. I most certainly do not find joy in most things. I curl up with my Baron, the dog Paul chose unknowingly for me, and my tears hit his fur and I think to myself how much I long just to be held and understood. I ask myself how much longer I can endure. A few songs come to mind from church and the lyrics are…

“You understand me, God, you understand me” – Bigger Than I Thought

 

“Even when I don’t feel it you’re working

You never stop working

You are way maker, miracle worker

Promise keeper, light in the darkness” – Waymaker 

I KNOW I am not alone in my feelings. I know that many struggle in silence. I know that many downplay their depression or do not take others who struggle with it seriously. I know many people go on/off depression meds on their own (which I highly discourage). Also, I struggle hard with this particular season (winter time) like many others which is called seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression. My therapist recommended a lamp where you need 30 minutes of exposure daily and the lamp must be 10,000 LUX. You can get this on Amazon for $40. I have not tried this yet but plan to. 

One thing I have told myself is that I am resilient – I am a fighter. I have made it this far for a reason. I have breath therefore I have purpose. I long so badly for eternity where we are without depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, death, loneliness. But this disease is no different than physical disease – it must be dealt with as it will not just go away. Get the help and mental peace you deserve. Keep fighting until you find it. I ask my mom how many times are we going to do this (change meds/add meds) and she says, “until we get it right!” 

 

The Joke’s on You, John

Ever messed up so bad that you hope no one EVER finds out about it? Like if they only knew, man you’d just die on the spot. I’m reflecting on John Crist’s recent announcement that he has “sinned against God” and what I can take from this…I mean I just died of laughter less than a week ago when I went to his “Immature Thoughts” show in Lexington. Now the only thing that is looking dead is your image, John. You just made yourself the butt of the joke.

I ask myself and really so should anyone else that is informed and educated on the matter: what makes me different from John? Sure he’s famous and I’m not. He makes a lot of money I’m sure but here’s the deal – nothing makes me different than him. I am John. I’m so John I’m the biggest butt of the joke and my anaconda don’t want none! My flesh is screaming “I AM JOHN!!” One of his famous sayings is “check your heart” which even became a song. I’m not asking John to do this, I’m asking everyone else to that is judging this poor dude when we should be applauding him.

Sure it’s not the standing O he’s looking for, he probably won’t see that spotlight on him for a while during this time he’s in the rabbit hole. But I applaud his vulnerability- his willingness to say “I HAVE SINNED! I have screwed up.” How easy would it have been for him to have kept this part of his life in the dark? To portray a picture of someone who is outwardly idolized but inwardly just rotten tomatoes. As people become stunned over this revelation, I ask why? Did we think that fame and money came with perfection? Last time I checked we all have to wipe our ass so why are we acting like this guy doesn’t poop?

I think back to the least of the rich and famous of bible characters…the woman at the well. This girl wasn’t much – I mean Jesus called her out for her 5 husbands, yikes! Talk about wanting to crawl into a hole or jump in the well. But you know what Jesus had for her? Grace, mercy, love. I mean that he even acknowledged her was pretty huge – let alone he gave her living water.

Or what about the woman caught in adultery in John 8? The Pharisees (holier than thous) brought her to Jesus to be stoned for what she had done. I love this Jesus right here – I feel him on a whole other level. He says “let any one of you that is without sin cast the first stone.” He said what???? He looked at these idolized figures, know-it-all Christians with their rules and regulations and basically said this home girl represents you! They couldn’t see their own sin because they were too busy looking at hers. How many times do we do that? It’s time to check your doorstep before sweeping someone else’s.

I’ve said before and many times since that if I followed Jesus based on people, I wouldn’t have anything to do with it. I look to Christ not Crist as my example, my all in all. Because here’s the deal folks, we are human and we will fail and fall short. That is the cold hard truth but relief to some that are aiming for perfection. You can use the excuse of hypocritical, judgmental “Christians” keeping you from following Jesus but we follow Jesus, not people. Remember that.

My prayers are for all of us Johns out there. May we acknowledge and bring forth our sin. For it is then that we will be set free.

Keeping It Real 100%

Just Married

Fall seems like the new wedding season and with that comes social media timelines full of wedding, honeymoon, and anniversary pictures…which if you’re me it’s hard to see. Because I was “only” (hate that word) married for 10 months. I still have the Mr and Mrs coffee cups and hand towels that I use. I remember watching my wedding/reception video and hearing my father in law pray for a lifetime of happiness…a lifetime that never happened. I have been widowed longer than I was married. But “Just Married” means something different to me now…

The honeymoon is over. The butterflies are dead now. The robotics of the mundane procedures of life are in full force. Whatever excitement you felt on your wedding day – gone. Some of you may look into your spouses eyes and feel nothing. And if you have kids, they run the show. Your spouse is on the back burner and maybe you’re both totally ok with that. Intimacy is scarce, touching each other feels like a transaction or completely foreign. Kissing each other good bye isn’t given a second thought – like maybe this is the last chance you get to do so. And if it was, maybe you wouldn’t care. You are simply “just married.” Legally bound but your hearts are elsewhere. Perhaps asking how long you can keep this picture of the perfect American couple/family up because no one truly knows what’s happening behind closed doors.

Let me tell you, the window of opportunity is closing in though. The hourglass has never stopped dripping sand. You will never ever get back this time to make your move. And I don’t mean divorce as I’m not a proponent of this (unless from biblical means that someone has been unfaithful in the marriage or from my personal feelings if someone is being abused). I will say, shit or get off the pot. CHANGE the way you’re approaching your marriage. It’s not a business transaction, not solely a friendship, not selfish, not demanding of unrealistic expectations – it’s a GIFT. And some are pissing all over it. You’re making me angry if you’re doing this…

I commonly hear from married men what’s happening…it’s a lack of intimacy, they are always initiating sex, their wives are disrespecting their wishes, just straight up disrespectful in general. And I observe the disrespect which fuels my internal fire (legit smoke has to be coming from my ears). I want to scream “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING LADY?!” Like no wonder there are problems because you’re belittling your man in front of everyone! Whew I’m getting passionate now and my fingers can’t type fast enough. No your man is not perfect but neither are you sweetheart. Don’t tell me I don’t understand because I do – my marriage wasn’t easy all the time. But I respected my man and the boundaries he set for our family. He protected me when I couldn’t see the potential hardships from decisions I was making. I wish I could’ve been better at many things.

Men, you are not going unscathed. I hear from women very often and the overwhelming theme is you are not doing enough to help! You want sex buddy, do the dishes! Stop acting like the only job you have is to work full time and do the yard stuff once a week. The kids are a joint responsibility. You want to go watch sports with your buddies or go hang out, cool, that door swings both ways. Your wife wants to shop without her kid(s) tugging at her the entire time, she wants to get pampered at the salon or have a weekend with her girlfriends. Husbands you aren’t the only one needing an escape. We now live in the 21st century where women work full time as well – adding the entire house responsibilities, grocery shopping, being the kids primary caregiver, bill payer etc is simply UNFAIR and the most unrealistic expectation. No wonder why mama is tired.

Collectively, know your spouses love language and speak it. Speak it often – yell it sometimes! Share your feelings that make everyone else wanna barf. Chase after them like Michael Myers (even tho the dude never runs). Be present, be available if you’re not present. Exhaust all your options – go to counseling, a marriage retreat/workshop. Leave no stone unturned to try to put your marriage back on the right path. PUT GOD FIRST. Stop making marriage look awful and miserable. Deal with your chronic issues that are never ending and everyone knows what they are. Some of these marriages are effecting your kids in a negative way or your extended family. Stop being so selfish and bull headed. It’s only after exhausting all options without having success, should you get off the pot. I’m sorry but I’m just tired of seeing and hearing about it.

As Rascal Flatts put it, love who you love with all that you have, don’t waste the time that flies so fast. You have one shot – don’t let it pass you by.

Keeping It Real since 1989 ✌🏼

Dear Tito, We Are On A Break

Remember my blog about drinking and using it to cope? Well sometimes I fail in life and don’t take my own advice. Ever done that? This is a blog about imperfection, about accepting flaws yet making the necessary changes to prevent the possible deadly consequences. This isn’t about pity, not about attention, not about anything else besides recognizing when you’ve hit the bottom and need a way to cope with the far too many times I’ve been disappointed in life. It’s also about accountability because each one of you that reads my words and truly supports my blog make me want to keep my word rather than writing I can’t even take the advice/encouragement etc I’m dishing out. I’ve always been everyone else’s biggest cheerleader but myself, and the truth is, I believe in you more than me…but I’m getting there.

I’m not going to disclose all the events as I don’t feel it’s necessary but this past Wednesday, I had had enough of the chronic disappointment life was handing me. It’s like the confirmation of the reruns in my head of not being worthy of love (remember the tattoo). This goes a long way back – being cheated on multiple times in high school by my long term boyfriend, not being told back “I love you” until 1.5 years later, going ring shopping and 6 months later no ring, telling that same person I’m afraid I’m going to commit suicide and they’re never around yet still they don’t change me to a top priority. Now after suffering the loss of my husband, it’s all coming back. Being touched inappropriately on a second date, getting stood up by a dude that used to be a friend…IT WAS TOO MUCH. And well, Tito was there.

Martini, daiquiri, topping off my half of a bottle of Tito mixed with lemonade later, I found myself face down sobbing into the carpet after looking at the collage photos of Paul’s life that were on display at his funeral. I look at his face and it’s been too long – I just need to get to him RIGHT NOW. I just need the pain to stop because I’ve had ENOUGH. Knowing things were going from bad to worse, I called for help. My call was answered which then proceeded to “telephone” through my line of friends and family that dropped everything to be present. I looked at them and while I was sad, I told myself “look what you’re doing, you just took them away from their families, you’re such a burden, you should have followed through with your plan, etc.” I am truly my own worst enemy, especially with the assistance of alcohol.

So why did I do it? I woke up the next day regretting what I did. I knew this would surely make them take me back to a facility (which is almost like hell on earth). Here it goes again, Katie doesn’t have her shit together. She’s desperate for love, she keeps writing about her loneliness. I feel like I know what people think about me even as I’m telling this story. There’s some people I don’t call or tell anymore what’s going on because I know they are OVER IT. I’m so thankful for those that aren’t. You were there when it mattered.

So here’s the deal – I screwed up big, it almost cost me and my family a lot. This story is to say to the soul that’s dying and crying out in pain, I am right there with you. You’re not alone in the feels you have. We are tired, we are broken, we are not without flaws, we are not immune to making the wrong decisions that lead down the rabbit hole. BUT we are here. We have purpose. We are redeemed. We may never ever be blessed in the way we expect here on earth but Christ has overcome this fallen world. The darkness we face. The negative thoughts we have on repeat. The moments we say I cannot do this anymore. The loneliness (He was betrayed by friends). He will RESCUE YOU.

In my moment of drunkenness, I played the song “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle on repeat. It says:

I hear the whisper underneath your breath

I hear you whisper, you have nothing left

I will send out an army to find you

In the middle of the darkest night

It’s true, I will rescue you

In my heart I have to believe these words. They have been a saving grace as God has showed up at my house disguised as my friends and family. He will never leave me.

While Christ is ever present with me, Tito is no longer. I’ve had periods in my life of sobriety and now I find myself back in this place. I will control it, it will not control me. Tito, you amplify my pain, you create a strength in me to carry out my plans of self harm. We are no more. Because Katie Oliver is a badass and the darkness will not outshine her light. She will overcome without you. I feel compassion for her. I love her. She is not too far gone. She has purpose. She is loved. She is beautiful despite what she says. Her soul is gold, it’s alive. She is a force to be reckoned with.

Heart that hurts, rest in this – this is not the end.

P.S. I’m thankful for grace. I am a human so underserving of it and never want to take advantage of such a precious gift.

“I Don’t Want to Talk About It” Barbie

This girl would be left on the shelves, but she is secretly the most sought after item on them (guys you’d still buy Barbie even if I said Ken). Pain, disappointment, rejection, loss – these are the items we stuff way down deep and don’t want to process. They are big – ugly – and oh lordt they are gonna make us emotional. 😱 Can’t do that in a society where we have to have it all together and looking good on social media to save face! 2 stories inspired this blog that I’ll share…and for those that are wondering no I didn’t forget about the “Why Are We Here?” Part 2. My blogs are all about what I’m currently experiencing/what’s on my heart and what I feel God is leading me to talk about and bring to the forefront.

So yesterday we are at the pool and Paisley brought her Barbie. She is almost 7 and out of all the nieces so far, she is the girliest. She had made some friends a couple days prior and they came to the pool so they decided to do an obstacle course. The leader, Molly, walked by Barbie who was laying poolside and picked her up then threw her down. Every girl thereafter followed Molly’s action and Paisley was the at the caboose of the troll train. The pain in her face stirred something fierce within my heart as she looked up at me clearly devastated. She was going to continue on and pretend it didn’t phase her but I called her over to me. She proceeds to say she was embarrassed, didn’t want to talk about it, and insisted on leaving. I want to fight this girls battles, mend her broken heart, pound these little girls to the ground for making her feel this way (ok maybe that’s extreme but I am over protective and obviously need anger management). But this made me think, how many times do WE not wanna talk about it? How many times do we talk about something else besides the true issue at hand? How many times are we gonna let it get to the edge of our tongue but never let the words come out of our mouths?

Let’s talk about what IT IS instead of what it’s NOT. It’s not about any one else but us so stop making the excuse people don’t wanna hear it or they won’t be receptive, especially if you haven’t even tried. And for the love of God, stop beating around the bush. Like God (and Moses with the burning bush), light that baby on fire and say look here is the issue, let’s talk about it! I am constantly amazed at the lack of communication that I’ve discovered in people’s relationships/friendships/marriages. If these people truly love you, truly are for you, then why in the world are you not comfortable sharing your feels? That seems so bizarre to me. I’ve lived in a relationship that was uncomfortable, awkward, and had NO PEACE because the communication sucked! My marriage to Paul was not perfect but we communicated about things and guess what? It wasn’t always pleasant but there was a peace in knowing we could come to each other with the hard stuff, the ugly truths, the stuff that might make one say “aw shit I married you?!” 🤪 Man I miss that realness.

The other story that inspired this blog was that I met with a new therapist before leaving for vacation. I absolutely hate re-telling the story of my life over the last almost 2 years and when I got to the part of Paul dying, which was right as I was coming out of a long hard battle of OCD and depression for 2 years mind you, I didn’t want to go into the details so I gave a quick version and said “I don’t want to really go there right now.” Towards the end of the session, my therapist brought that up. Obviously, we will go there in upcoming sessions but I absolutely did not feel like doing that. Really I never “feel” like going there but so many times it is necessary for my processing and healing. So while we want to stuff our grief, our traumas, our rejections, those images that haunt us, it is 100% undeniably essential to process these. You can stuff and stuff and stuff these so deep into your core and I swear they will explode eventually with a vengeance. And it’s said “hurting people hurt people.” I believe that. Don’t displace that onto others. Handle your shit.

I say all of these things and I preach to myself because I have done all of these things at one time or continue to. My hope is that we process the unfortunate events to help us with the next unfortunate event or when someone we know experiences a similar one to ours. That is another “why we are here” belief of mine. We aren’t made to be privacy beings, keeping every struggle and hurt in secret. Let’s help each other heal, let’s talk, let’s truly listen, LET’S BE REAL!

P.S. Paisley asked me to carry Barbie as we left the pool and I proudly waved goodbye with Barbie in hand as we exited! Bye Felicias! 👋🏼

What Are We Doing Here? (Part 1)

I’m sure many of us have thought about this question before, and maybe you’re still searching for the answer. My sister shared with me and my mom tonight that my oldest nephew, Trace, asked her “what is our purpose here?” Sounds like an awfully loaded question for someone who is of preteen age…which then was followed by “so why do I need to learn math?” What I love about this is the inquisitiveness of a child yet the innocence as well…that age doesn’t define the depth of thoughts, even if it’s followed by something far less serious (I mean I actually do this ALL THE TIME 🤷🏼‍♀️). It reminds me of when I was at Honey Lake Clinic this time last year. The speaker asked “what do you hate?” Oh boy I couldn’t raise my hand fast enough. I know you think you already have my response figured out but guess again. By this time in the day I had already went through an entire day of feels and I was mentally checked out with my “stuff.” With no one else volunteering, I raised my hand and boldly said “THE NBA!” …Que the crickets…I’m sure it offended some people that I gave such a shallow answer but I was so done at that point. And let’s be real, the NBA blows (ain’t never been the same since MJ back in the day with the Chicago Bulls, can I get an amen?).

So now that we’ve established the NBA sucks and that’s clearly not leading towards the purpose driven life, WHAT are we doing here? WHY are we here? Everyone has their own beliefs/theories etc. I want to go a step further and ask – why do you believe what you believe about why we are here? Now you know what my answer is. Being a Christian, I know in my heart the answer but I’d be lying if I didn’t have doubts at times. I did this as a child and as an adult, pre and post loss of my husband, in the good and bad times. I have asked myself many times “Is this it? Is this really all there is? God are you real?” Cuz if this is it, I appreciate the few good times, but I’m gonna peace out now mmmk? If I thought there was absolutely nothing after this life, whew that is a definite BYE FELICIA. Essentially, that is saying there is no hope. There is no hope beyond my husband’s grave. To think I would never see him again – now that is insurmountably devastating. And unlike all dogs, not all people are going to heaven. That is not harsh, it’s biblical and it’s also called free will. God gave us the choice. But I will say, regardless if you accept Christ or not, the Bible says every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord (Isaiah 45:23, Phil 2:10-11).

I recently told someone that without my faith I would be dead. And nothing could be more true than the sky being blue. Countless times God has shown up for me – through others, in a song, through a post, in the sermon at church, through complete strangers, a random card/check in the mail. One thing I know without a shadow of a doubt is God has been teaching me RELY ON ME and only Me. It’s no secret how much I miss my husband and how badly I long for him. I view the relationship I had with him sorta like I do my relationship with Christ. He longs to be in relationship with me. This place, these trials we face, it was not His design for me or for you. But he is saying COME TO ME and I (not Paul, not your friends, not your mom, not your family) but I will give you REST (Matthew 11:28). In addition to reliance, I keep having this re-occurring talk with God where I repeat the lyrics of a worship song “You understand me.” My creator understands me unlike anyone else ever could – when I feel so alone – HE understands me. I cling to Him and I hold on for dear life, literally. God I feel so misunderstood but you get me fully. What a peace in that.

P.S. I’m calling it now, chihuahuas are not making it past the pearly gates 100%.

Dreams and Feels: Coming Back to the Heart of Worship/Gratitude

The last few days I have internally fought a lot of feels. Our church just wrapped up a sermon series called “How you feelin?” and the first message was total validation for me. As a Christian, I want me and Paul’s story to mean something for the eternal good – that has been something I’ve said from the very beginning. I just want to give you a perspective on this…I have seen this come to fruition by some of our friends making the decision to follow Christ and for my family, it has made us walk deeper in our faith and have some hard conversations. Am I saying that Paul had to die for this to happen? No. But God is showing me that he will work for the good in the midst of the worst of situations.

I am often my own worst critic – I will essentially eat myself alive with my thoughts. “Katie here you are, the 3rd or 5th wheel again. Things will never get better. Remember that person that didn’t want you. Your cheeks are fat in that picture. You cannot quit your job and follow your dream – no one is supporting that. You’re the only one financially supporting you and your husband’s previous life so buck up buttercup. How are you going to kill yourself? Just do it already, make all of this stop. Your biological time clock is ticking – and your endometriosis is only just spreading in the mean time. You should just give that little girl outfit you bought years ago for your daughter one day to someone else.”

That’s not pretty at all, I get it. But here’s the point…I have many broken dreams and feels that I’m facing every day, just like many of you. I see it in sarcastic memes that are posted. Those that scoff at your singleness and/or your joke of a life meant to make people laugh but BE REAL, it’s a wound/need/desire that’s not being fulfilled – and gosh that freakin hurts so bad. We know what we long for. It’s not a joke. So why are we not chasing it with everything in us? Falling to our knees asking God to change our circumstances or change our perspective? We are human. Some churches forget this. We are not robots of praise that are void of emotion – GOD GAVE US EMOTION. Some of us too many 🙋🏼‍♀️ What will you do with that emotion though? Will you drink yourself into oblivion? Will you continue to keep hiding from your potential? Will you let FEAR continually dictate your life? Will you continually watch others live the life you want, get the body you want but you do nothing to help yourself get there (I call it spectator syndrome)? Call yourself to action.

One thing about this sermon series that I’ve loved and lived out is that regardless of our emotion, when we worship and give gratitude, it is hard to stay in the negative emotional mindset. Like Kyle said, do you feel like worshipping or expressing thanks to God or others when you are experiencing negative emotions? That’s a hard no. But I personally have done this and noticed a difference. I actually had a phone conversation with Bob Russell a few months ago – mainly I sobbed and told him how I wanted to give up on my faith etc because I didn’t feel like people understood how hard I’m struggling, how badly I want to give up, how I miss my husband so much I can’t stand to be here. He told me to start writing thank you notes to someone weekly. At the time, I seriously was angry at his response. Like uhhh did you just hear anything I said bruh? I get it now. Does it fix all my feels? Nope. But does it help me? Yes. I often think how many times we beg God for help in the midst of something awful (even nonbelievers do this) – for healing, for a miracle, for a good test result, to save a loved ones life? But how often do we give him thanks? How often do we acknowledge his faithfulness? We wouldn’t be in a personal relationship with someone on this earth if all we did was ask and ask of them yet never thanked them. Why do we treat God the same?

I will continue to fight even though I’m tired. I know in my weakness, He is my strength. The Bible says he knows the desires of our hearts – God you know, you have the power to change it. BUT even if you don’t, my hope is in you alone.

P.S. We sang the song “Great is thy faithfulness” and these lyrics stuck out to me…

“All that I needed thy hand hath provided”

We have what we need, we lack for nothing.