I guess I'll start at the beginning. Break was nice... to a point. Actually, it was quite lovely not doing any homework for a month and soaking up a few rays. I didn't even sunburn, and Lord knows that's quite an accomplishment! In that respect, Hawaii was amazing.
However, an increased awareness of suffering in the world also broke my heart. Never before, when I'd visited the islands, had I seen so much homelessness and pollution. Everywhere I went, I saw scruffy-looking men and women pushing shopping carts, begging for bus fare. In fact, even when we went to I'olani Palace and walked the grounds, I saw people sleeping on the park benches. In the midst of lush foliage and majestic architecture, all I could see was the abuse commercialism has brought to the islands. As I walked down the canal, I spied signs warning people to stay out of the water due to its high levels of contamination. I spotted piles of trash, including shopping carts and coat hangers, snagged on the rocks, and water that had once flowed crystal clear now possessed a thick, murky brown. Halfway through my vacation, my delight tranfigured into contant heartache and nausea. I could see that, on O'ahu anyway, we had destroyed acres of lush natural beauty, all in the name of economy and opportunities that many never actually have gotten to enjoy.
Furthermore, I spent three weeks in a tiny room with my parents. These two people, bless their hearts, have the best of intentions--always. But the truth is, I cannot spend more than a week at home without losing five years of progress in overcoming miles of low self-esteem. Before break, I knew I was gaining a little weight, but I could still look in the mirror and appreciate the Lord's master touch in creating me, flaws and all. I even felt pretty. A month later, every time I look in the mirror, I only see fat, dark circles under my eyes, a droopy eyelid, and confusion in my eyes. I've spent, in the past few days, a good bit of time in prayer, trying to regain my sense of self-worth through His eyes, and I've made progress, but even last night, I spent about an hour bawling my eyes out, asking Him what could be so wrong with me that I only get attention from the wrong kinds of guys, and how many more times would I have to experience crushes and falling hard for guys who will never notice me--who will unknowingly break my heart, shattering it harder and in more scattered pieces with each break--before I will so much as go out on a date--just one--with a guy with whom there would be sincere mutual interest. It hurts. It hurts worse every time, and the last time, it took me almost a year before I could look at his name or see a picture of him without having to blink back tears. I just don't know how many more times I can stand this. I can't help falling--I wish I could. Lord knows how I've tried to build up those walls.
I know God is good, and I know, because I trust Him, that He has a purpose for this kind of pain and ongoing cycle of unrequited love/crushes. Please don't mistake me there. But the pain is real, and temptations grow constantly, especially when my self-esteem plummets. I'm worn out from going around in circles like this.
Furthermore (yes, there is more), I just don't feel like I can confide in my parents. I know, very teenagery. But honestly, sometimes it's like playing with dynamite. Last night, for example, when I told my mom that our church is moving further north in Springfield (to a less safe part of town), she spent five minutes trying to talk me into going elsewhere. I finally cut her off and told her that I'm not leaving my church home just because it's moving to a poorer section of town and that I can't live my life like that. But she's so caught up in trying to protect me (and thus making me worry about her worrying too much) that I feel like I can't take a step forward without her having a heart attack for fretting. I can't keep doing that! I'm an adult now (yes, I finally admit it), and I have to live my own life. Only problem is, my mom is who she is, and if you know her, well, you'll understand my dilemma. Anyway, I'll do what I mean to do, but not without a great deal of trepidation, self-doubting, and just plain losing my mind.
Even worse, when I'm in this kind of state, I have bad habit of mentally laying out all my disappointments (past, present, and yes, future) and studying them entirely too closely. More than just singleness, poor self-esteem, and feeling out of the loop, lately I've been feeling a little jealous of those who have or will have children someday. While I've always known that, if I get married, I'll adopt, I've also known that having children myself can never be an option. Besides my own physical danger (misshapen uterus, the sac of spinal fluid located near the base of my spine), there is a one-in-two chance of my passing on the Nager Syndrome. While I was blessed enough to have probably the mildest case in, well, history, if I had a child and passed this on to him or her, that child may not be so lucky. I don't want to bring that kind of pain to a child, knowing my own experiences, when I know that risk is there. Really, I accepted that reality when I was still a little girl; all the same, it feels like yet another thing of which I'll be left out. That, too, hurts.
Do you see why I've been holding back in my blog entries lately? I needed the presence of mind to be able to formulate my words coherently in the midst of all these thoughts racing through my brain. I've just got a lot of confusion right now, and I'm battling with those voices that keep telling me I'm no good and I can't do what I need to do.
Friends, I need prayer and affirmation. I just got to the place where I'm not sincerely depressed, but I'm still borderline at times. I'm really overwhelmed, emotionally and spiritually. Daily, I'm battling temptations I've not had to really deal with since I was about 13 years old. I feel like I'm under constant attack. Pray, pleased, that I'll remember:
"We are pressed, but not crushed; persecuted, not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; we are blessed beyond the curse, for His promise will endure, and His joy's gonna be my strength. Though the sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes with the morning!"