Let Love Abound

I’ve somewhat written on this topic before, but in lieu of the various reactions I’ve been seeing all across social media after the recent marriage reform laws, I just feel like it’s important to voice my opinions yet again. After all, isn’t that what blogs are for?

Last week, the United States Supreme Court won a huge battle. They have finally legalized marriage no matter what your sexual orientation is, and I think it’s beautiful. Beautiful because it’s one more positive step in the direction away from discrimination and toward acceptance.

Before I go any further, I want to express that I do believe in God and freedom of religion. What I don’t believe in is the contradicting views many so-called Christians are expressing after this change in national law. When it comes to so many issues, people cry out “what about the separation of church and state? The government shouldn’t have any say over my religious freedoms!” However, when it comes to the government making a decision that might contradict their specific religious beliefs, they claim that they in no way can support these laws because they don’t abide by their religious teachings. What continues to baffle me is the 180° turn from their first argument. If you want the true separation of church and state, shouldn’t you then be willing to accept that the government may make decisions that don’t line up with your beliefs?

Aside from that hypocrisy and going straight back to the teachings of Jesus, the bible says time and time again that Christians are to love people as Christ loves the church. That is an unconditional love. That’s not a love that disappears if you love the same gender. That’s not a love that disappears if you get a divorce. That’s certainly not a love that disappears if you mess up. Christians, in case you’ve forgotten, Jesus was friends with sinners. He sought them out. He had dinner with a dishonest tax collector. He spent time with prostitutes. He chose to spend time with the unclean over the religious leaders. This was a man who loved people…period. There were no qualifications to meet or level of “righteousness” required.

Quite frankly, the amount of people who have been hating on this issue sicken me. A person doesn’t have to live a certain lifestyle to attain love. That’s preposterous. So again, I am making a plea to the Christian community: show love, express love, be love. Without that, we are not living any sort of life that represents faith.

Berliner Dom, Berlin, Germany - May 2014
Berliner Dom, Berlin, Germany – May 2014

listening to: Radiohead

The Hardest Part of the Story

The only thing I’ve ever published on this blog and then deleted is still a hard story for me to tell. It’s one that needs to be told and one that I don’t try to hide, but I was far too emotionally invested to write about it appropriately.

People that have known me for a while remember when I got married back in 2010. Looking back at everything now, I realize that the marriage shouldn’t have happened in the first place because I was already far too consumed by my depression, but in the moment, it made sense. The marriage lasted three years. Most of it is now a blur to me, but there are still some very vivid memories.

I suppose I should start back before I even met him. I should start back at my freshman year of college. That was the year that everything started to change for me. That was the year that I partied far too often and invested time in some people that didn’t have good motives. That was the year that I lost any innocence and not all of it was by choice.

Fast forward to the next year when I met the guy I would later marry. There were moments at the very beginning that should have been clues that there was something wrong with my psyche. If I felt too constrained in a blanket or a hug was too tight, I wouldn’t be able to breathe, my eyes would instantly tear up, and my body would just freeze. Panic attacks would become more frequent as the years progressed, but I should have realized that something wasn’t quite right at the very beginning.

What started off as a casual friendship turned into a pretty serious relationship. I became dependent on him and went as far as to drop out of college and move to another state to be with him. That was when he proposed. Part of the reason for proposing was so that we could live together without the complete and utter disapproval from my parents.

Looking back, the year we spent together while engaged was a year of my emotional and mental health utterly deteriorating. I started waking up in the middle of the night because of panic attacks. There is nothing more terrifying than being unable to move and so frozen that your brain can’t process what is going on around you.

The wedding day quickly approached. I clearly remember wanting to call off the wedding day, but also being so concerned about what others would think if I did that I carried through with it. I was a mess the weekend of. There wasn’t a waking hour that I wasn’t fighting back tears. I thought it was happy nerves, but I’ve never been that out of control with my emotions, and I know now that the overwhelming emotions were more signs that there was something off.

We were married, and things were fine for a while. This is where things get even harder to talk about. I suppose typing it out is easier than verbalizing everything, but there were three different instances during the three years we were married that changed everything. It was a kind of abuse, the kind that is both hurtful and degrading, and I was completely unequipped to respond properly. After the third incident, I finally realized that there was nothing more important than getting out. I’ve always used the same example when explaining this, but it was as if there was a pane of glass that kept getting cracks in it until that third time. That final moment of hurt and abuse was enough to shatter the glass and make me realize just how badly I needed to remove myself from the situation.

I’ve found that this is a tricky topic to discuss for a couple of different reasons. For one, I needed to escape for my own health and safety, but I’m not out to paint my ex husband as an evil person. There are numerous great qualities about him, but I can’t look past the pain he caused me. I’ve never wanted revenge, but I wasn’t about to allow that hurt to continue. You hear about abuse happening, but you don’t imagine it happening in a seemingly happy marriage. You don’t imagine someone who is beloved by everyone who meets him could possibly laugh when confronted with the pain he’s caused somebody.

Secondly, I don’t want pity. I’ve never wanted people to feel sorry for me. It’s in the past now, and just like the other hurtful moments in my life, I’ve learned from it. I’ve learned how to stand up for myself and I’ve learned to be far less tolerant when confronted with similar issues. I’ve learned how strong I can be when it’s absolutely necessary, and I think that strength is my most beautiful quality. I’m proud of the person I’m becoming in my recovery.

So the reason I share the basic overview of this part of my story is this: I want more people to truly understand that there can be pain when everything looks perfect on the outside. I want people to be more willing to help when they think somebody might be hurting. Most importantly, I want people who might be experiencing something similar to know that they can be hopeful, that there is another side and a way out from the hurt. Recovery is possible even after the darkest moments.

Niederrad, Germany- October 2014

Niederrad, Germany- October 2014

listening to: Vance Joy