Before you become too invested in this post, I will issue a disclaimer. There may not be any fluff or knock-knock jokes. Honestly, I write today’s blog with tears running down my face and a twinge of pain in my chest. Today I will share my heart…please be gentle with it.
I’m sure by just reading the title, you are already prepared to either book an appointment for me with a therapist, drive through this snow storm to come give me a hug, or figure out why in the world I would want to even share something so intimate. Well, my driving force for being so transparent through According to Chris, and my tagline for this website simply says, “Sharing my Story. Changing a life.” So with the hope that someone can relate and be free because of where I am, I share today. I’ll do my best to tell my story.
Trust – trəst/noun
- firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Facebook memories or “On This Day” as it is called, has a magnificent way of reminding you of the great moments you shared with friends and a family, prolific thoughts that just had to be posted, and good times worth reminiscing. On the converse, that same feed of memories can abruptly interrupt your present with happenings that you’d much rather forget, which brings me to mistrust. Over the past five to six months, I have been forced to review the posts from a time when I thought I was happy. Transparently put: there was a man who I once loved who broke my heart. (I could almost just say, “The end,” right there.) Currently, I can’t stand said man’s guts. Pray for me; I’m not perfect, and I’m still healing. What is significant about these memories is that it reminds me of a time where I saw no fault in him, or at least I dismissed it, and I genuinely LOVED him. Because I am who I am, I have a difficult time allowing one situation to be just that, one situation. Instead these memories have opened Pandora’s Box for me, and I am faced with all the “said men” and even friends in general that left me in this same position. At the core, there was misplaced trust. I typically am a very guarded person, life has made me that way. I don’t trust people with me very easily. Though I give individuals a fair opportunity to show me who they are and build on his/her words, I am very slow to allow people to see the many layers of me. I am cautious about letting my guard down, taking my cape off, and allowing them into my “holies of holies” or the intimate spaces of my heart, life, and mind. These particular Facebook memories being played out in statuses, memes, quotes, and pictures are reminding me of the slow process where I let my guard down for him, little by little. It takes me back to a space where I vividly remember the conversations where he said that I could trust him and the subtle actions to try to prove that moot point. Less you think I am just ranting over a heartbreak, please keep in context that this one situation makes me relive many situations. I think of the friendships where I was told my secrets were safe, the past relationships where the guy promised to be loyal and faithful to me, and the times where there were those who said they had my back only to stab me in it. All in all, this moment makes me consider the many times that I invested my hope in someone else’s word.
…which leads me to disappointment.
Disappointment – dis·ap·point·mentnoun
- the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.
I’ll continue with the story of “said man.” When he and I first started “talking,” he told me that he had some loose ends with an ex of his. Taking responsibility, I should have fully acknowledged that bright, bloody, red flag and carried my hips somewhere else. Instead, I dismissed that grandiose detail as minutia because “I wasn’t looking for a relationship anyway.” *insert side eye* As time progressed and we developed a friendship, we seemed to have caught feelings. “I like you” turned into “I love you,” and soon “I want to be with you” was on the table. I must mention that time progressed rather quickly. Though I didn’t come to this situation looking to be in a relationship, I began entertaining the idea because it was one that he presented to me. Being 100% candid, he said he didn’t want me for just sexual encounters, so we vowed and tried not to have them. He said he wanted ME, and little by little I let my guard down and invested hope into the idea of “us.” Well, you can imagine how the story ends since I previously mentioned heartbreak. Overtime, I found myself competing [primarily] with his ex for his time, affection, and a leading role in his future. The journey towards “us” which was at one point damn near a guarantee began regressing to merely a possibility and eventually unlikely. The excuse given: “I’m waiting on the Lord to tell me what to do. I can’t choose; I don’t know what I want to do right now.” And as I tried to gather myself to walk away, I was always asked for more time and just a little more trust in him…misplaced trust. After another reinvestment, he left me. I hated him.
In a similar story, because I must be slow at learning lessons over the years, there was once a guy that I knew. I fell for him and he fell for me. Oh, but you know there has to be a plot twist. Here goes: he had a girlfriend. Taking responsibility, I should have fully acknowledged that bright, bloody, red flag and carried my hips somewhere else — I feel like I said that already! My consolation simply was I could ignore the feelings that had arisen and just be his friend. *insert side eye* Over time, I let my guard down and let him into my heart knowing full well nothing could really become of us. Silly Chris. He would occasionally share with me difficulties he would have in his current relationship. And between us, “I like you” turned into “I love you,” and soon “I want to be with you” was on the table. In similar fashion to the previously shared story, I entered into a competition that only I knew I was a part of with the hope to win him over and woo him away so we could be together. You know how this ends right? I heard those infamous words, “I don’t know what to do; I can’t choose,” and again, I wasn’t chosen.
…which leads me to vulnerability.
Vulnerability – vul·ner·a·bil·i·ty
- the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
I don’t trust people with me very easily. Though I give individuals a fair opportunity to show me who they are and build on his/her words, I am very slow to allow people to see the many layers of me. I am cautious about letting my guard down, taking my cape off, and allowing them into my “holies of holies” or the intimate spaces of my heart, life, and mind. Remember me mentioning that?
I am imaginative and illustrations provide understanding for me, so picture this: Imagine there is a woman with a very painful wound on the palm of her hand. This wound was the result of an accident that she experienced some time before. The wound was slow to heal because of its location — on her hand, an area that she is forced to use daily. Because of this, she typically keeps some kind of guard or bandage around the affected area to protect it. Though reluctant, she trusts a doctor when he says he will take good care of her and provide treatments that will ultimately allow her to return to normal. But just as she begins this new treatment, it seems her wound gets worse and eventually becomes infected. She is less likely to trust the doctor with any other treatment ideas because she is in a worse position that when he first “helped” her. Though this is a completely fictitious story, it is a metaphor for me. I too had a wound in an area that has to be used daily…my heart. Past experiences made me reluctant to open up to anyone else and let them see my wound or try to care for it. And when I invested my trust in the wrong people at the wrong time, I was left worse off than I was before we began.
Now consider the stories that I shared with you and even friendships that went awry. I trusted “said man,” “a guy I once knew,” and other friends enough to take off my armor. I allowed them to see, know, and have me in my purest form. I loved hard, I gave all, and I cared deeply just to be ultimately told byway of actions, “That’s not good enough.” Now what? What do you do once you’ve been exposed, standing naked, revealing the intimate parts of you? Didn’t those guys know that vulnerability is scary? Didn’t they know I was scared? What was I supposed to do with my open heart as I watched them slowly continue in the direction of the women who supposedly couldn’t compare to me?
...which leads me to jealousy.
Jealousy – jeal·ous·y
- resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc.
Some time ago, I asked God to show me myself even if it hurt me. One of the first things he revealed was my deep rooted feelings of jealousy. I’ll write more in depth about this later, but I’ll touch on it now so that you can see where I am. My misplaced trust, disappointment, and vulnerability all bred my jealousy. Those silent competitions and all the hoops that I proverbially jumped through only resulted in feelings of inadequacy and agreement with taunting thoughts that said, “You’re not good enough.” In both cases with “said man” and “a guy I once knew” I stood on a sideline and watched them nurture relationships with these other women in the way that they promised they would do for me. Before long, I found myself resenting the women in the situations because they had what I wanted. They enjoyed love that followed MY investment of care into these men. I reminded “said man” and “a guy I once knew” how powerful and amazing they were, I pushed them to try new things and take chances, I LOVED THEM with all of the love that I had. It felt as if I was the one who sat for hours and spent a lot of money inserting coins to warm up the slot machine just to have someone else hit the jackpot. If I’m honest, though time has passed by, I still greatly feel those twinges of jealousy simply because I wonder, “Why not me?”
Honestly, I don’t have a moral. Misplaced trust, disappointment, vulnerability, and jealousy are not topics of my past… This is a tale of my present, my current, my right now! At best, I have acknowledged my truth so that I can move towards creating a new one. This narrative will be like that of my journey to forgiveness that I chronicled in “Just Let It Go…” and “Heart Check: Seeing, Cleansing, Progressing.” This will be a process, and just like all of the other areas of me that are healing, I’m not getting better overnight.
Maybe you find yourself somewhere in my story. Your story may not tell of former love interests and rejection. Maybe you trusted a spiritual leader, a best friend, a family member, or even yourself just to be let down, left wide open, and resentful. As much as I want to just say, “Get over it,” I can’t. I understand how you feel, and there is no “get over it.” When you least expect it, your heart gets a sudden ache, and if you aren’t careful it will develop into much something worse. Instead, I will offer to you the scriptures that I rehearse as I walk this journey towards healing.
“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.”
Hebrews 4:15 [New Living Translation]
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
1 Peter 5:7 [New Living Translation]
You may not think these scriptures are relative. Simply put, I find a bit of comfort in knowing that God understands me, and He cares for me. I am also clinging to the hope that there has to be more to life and love than this.
I’m sorry this wasn’t so moving, powerful, or poetic. I also apologize that it was a bit lengthy. I pray that you can see my heart and that we can heal together. We’ll be alright; we are in God’s hands.
I hope this helps.