I discovered that rock bottom had a basement. And that basement sucked!

About a month ago a close friend of mine was going to speak at her church service about learning to allow others to help you in time of need, and she asked me to share my experience of learning to be vulnerable. I never intended to post my response to her on the internet, but after reading it again I’ve decided it won’t hurt. Names have been changed for confidentiality reasons.

Dear Kristen,

You’ve asked me to write about my experience of learning to let people into my life and allowing them to help me, sooooo here we go.

Growing up it seemed that people were disgustingly unreliable creatures. Friends go against their word, promises are never fulfilled, rumors are spread, and the natural man transforms people into ruthless animals. Some individuals are incredibly strong and don’t allow the hurtful actions of others to affect them, and they forgive and continue trusting in order to build new and lasting relationships. Other people, however, decide to put up their defenses and take extra precautions in who they allow into their heart. I was the latter of the two, so I like many others stitched up my heart and refused to allow anyone in. The only people I trusted to share my true feelings with were my mother and occasionally my best friend. As for my dealings with other people I met, I found what seemed to be the perfect distance to which you should hold people – close enough that you can learn a lot about them and help them in their times of need, but far enough away that they never knew too much about you and would never be given the opportunity to let you down. For it wasn’t backbiting and betrayal that I experienced growing up as much as simply being disappointed by the apathy of others when individuals suffer.

On the surface it seemed that holding people at this “safe” distance saved me from a lot of pain because I never set too high of expectations. As a result, people never disappointed me and I was less affected by their attitudes when they stopped caring. I thought this would lessen the pain, but looking back I think it intensified it in a way I hadn’t expected. I often felt used by others because friends would only come to me when they needed help. After I had helped them, they would disappear and it seemed we were no longer friends until the next crisis came. I felt as if I had no one to rely on and no one to trust, and in my eyes it seemed that the only solution was to turn inward and choose solidarity. I was surrounded by good family and friends yet I never opened up to any of them. I became very good at hiding my emotions from others, faking a smile while deep down I yearned to find someone to trust. Sadly enough, I struggled finding that person because I never gave anyone the chance. I dealt with all problems on my own, and this coping usually meant finding a quiet space to think things through and hurt until the hurt eventually faded away. This had both negative and positive consequences, one of the positive being that I learned how to rely on God instead of people. My relationship with Him was strengthened because He was almost always the first source of comfort I went to. I would be lying if I said I felt a strong “burning in the bosom” or a “flooding feeling of love” come over me every time I spoke with him, but I did often feel a soft calming. I interpreted this as a quiet reassurance that He was always there and would never let me down.

When I left the country to participate in volunteer work for the church, I witnessed the reality of God’s reliability. My fellow companions and I would test God and pray for specific miracles, and I testify that every one of them came true. Not once was I let down by God, and I learned to give my entire being to Him because He would never, ever let me down.

Since coming home, however, God revealed to me the importance of letting others in. As an ancient prophet profoundly stated, God “straightened me with His rod,” and He broke me. I not only hit rock bottom for the first time in my life, but I discovered that rock bottom had a basement! And that basement sucked! I wanted to get out, and I was frustrated and angry at myself that I couldn’t. I was helpless and weak, and for the first time in my life I could not move forward on my own. My method of coping failed me, and I was left with no other option but to reach out to others for help. At first I fought against this with what little zeal and pride I still possessed, but the more I fought the more I fell again, and again, and again, and again. So little by little, I allowed others to see how broken I was, and with all the honesty and passion in my soul I can say that doing so has been the most transforming and life fulfilling thing God has ever taught me.

To begin with, I have learned that allowing others to help you helps them feel needed. Humans want to feel important and valued, and giving them the opportunity to save a fellow traveler brings a sense of worth and importance that comes in no other way than by sincere service.

Secondly, it was transforming because I learned that the Spirit (or intuition, whatever you want to call it) can guide you to know who and who not to trust. When connecting with old friends or meeting new people, the Spirit would prod me to open up to certain individuals, and those individuals helped dig me out of the pit I was in. The Spirit has its gifts of discernment, and I pled desperately that He would help me know who was loving and reliable. I am happy to say the Holy Ghost never let me down in discerning who was genuine.

Lastly, I learned that being vulnerable to others creates miraculous relationships I never could have imagined possible. God has sent me angels, and I will forever treasure these people in my heart because they have showed me how happy life is when you are surrounded by people who truly, deeply know you. I am convinced that investing in relationships is the most important thing you can do to be happy. Life is not to be tackled alone. God does not expect us to live life alone. He desires us to experience these pure relationships and rejoice and suffer together.

Kristen, you know as well as I do that I still struggle a lot in opening up to others and allowing them to help me. This is just one of my “things” that doesn’t come naturally, but you and I have both learned that God is patient. He rejoices at any improvements we make, and He cheers us on as we continue forward. I know I have improved, and although recently I feel like I’ve relapsed and am back to frantically defending my emotions with sword and shield, I will never forget the joy that came from trusting genuine people. When I invest in relationships and let down my walls, God sends me people who can love me, and they change me. I feel closer to others, to God, and my own sense of who I am, and this is what motivates me to keep trying and keep loving.

I love you sis. Hope this helps.

Love,

Lily

Venom of the Snakes

The man I loved abandoned me for war.
He said it was the bitterness of sin
that ground into his pleading soul. His enemy
exceeded him, in wits and ways a man –
my man – could never comprehend.

It was a subtle decoy – to fool a fool
to make him think his enemy was God.
There were no guns or horses in the war
but snakes who latched onto the soul that wept
in shame, a wounded heart that let two fangs
inject the gall that charred his skin and bones.

A painful thing, to run away and flee
from He who longs to save.
The One who knows
the cure to angst, and chases – pleading – so you
will stop to see the beast behind the fangs.

My man was “missing in action,” snakes said to me,
“An honorable death,” they sang. But I will not
be fooled by snakes who say your death was nothing
more than mere consent to human fate.

I know the truth: you would not listen.
He pled with you, but ears were corked by pride.
You turned away and gave your life to snakes,
and this, my love, is why you died so young.

My Genesis

I’m not sure what ignited the burning desire within me to start my own blog, and at this very  moment I am appalled at myself for actually doing it. Even just saying the words, “my blog” kills me a little inside. For years I have adopted the narrow-minded perspective that blogging is for two groups of people: stay-at-home moms or traveling hipsters. I am neither of these, nor will I try to be. I suppose I could dismiss my inner-conscience and become a combination of the two: I will be a traveling stay-at-home hipster mother. No, not mother, but “muhthur” because hipsters are too cool to use normal English words. Maybe the travelingstayathomehipstermuhthur identity is exactly what I need to be a famous, sassy, and sparkling blogger.

Months ago a friend spoke to me about rawness, and at the time I didn’t realize our conversation would inspire me to be a blogger. She said she appreciates people who are “raw” because they accept pain, loss, and suffering for what it is. At the expense of their own reputation and pride, they confess their sins and their troubles in order to save loved ones from falling in the same life pits. They are ashamed of their humanness, their inevitability to fall, but they don’t let their shame withhold them from human connection.

An example of rawness is C.S. Lewis in his book “A Grief Observed.” The book is a response to the death of his beloved wife, containing purely his thoughts, doubts, and suffering. C.S. Lewis explores his solidarity, and he explores his now shattered faith in God. He openly admits his grief, his rage, and his fears, and by so doing he finds his life again. And more impressively, he helps you find yours. I suppose this is what I aim to do with my blog – I want to be C.S. Lewis. I want to be raw because I don’t think there are enough raw people in the world who see and accept life for what it is, the good and the evil. In the society we live in today, life and emotions are either exaggerated or deflated, but I am searching for reality. I tire from the melodrama, and most of all I am sickened by humanity’s disheartening perception of love. No more fantasy – I want honesty and truth.

In my search for honesty, I need to be honest with myself. My first confession is that writing this blog is no act of altruism. I wish I could say my main motivation is using my life-lessons to bless the lives of others, somehow reaching out and connecting with their joys and sorrows. Connection helps people remember their personal meaning of life, and don’t get me wrong, it would beautiful if that was the end result of my blog. The sad reality, however, is that my blog will most likely only be seen by a few pairs of eyes, so connecting with concourses of fellow humans is unrealistic. Therefore, my purpose for writing a blog is for my own therapy. “My heart is broken,” as the pathetic cliché goes, and I hope to find myself again through writing. Writing forces me to burrow into my subconscious, and it is often deep in that hidden place inside where I find my revelation. Hence the title, “The Genesis of Cognition.” This is my personal journey of inanity, gained perception, and hopefully awakening.

My second confession is that my blog is under a fake name. I’ve always liked the name Lily Dawson – I think it sounds intelligent and intriguing. Sadly it also comes across as a wannabe Jane Austin name, but as far as I know she was also intelligent and intriguing so I figured Lily Dawson suits just fine. Perhaps using a fake name is hypocritical as I am preaching on honesty. My fear, however, is that once people know who the writer is behind the computer, their perceptions of what is being written will change; they won’t see the truth anymore. Instead they will let their judgements, often both correct and incorrect, fog their vision, and they will no longer feel the human connection. This is my fear, and this is why I am Lily Dawson.

If there is a chance that you have endured my bumbling thoughts and have made it this far, I would also like to mention that a big portion of my blog will most likely revolve around God. I don’t know if you are atheist, buddhist, jewish, or agnostic, but my belief in a Supreme Being has become the foundation of my life, and I would be denying myself the opportunity of finding personal truth if I didn’t include my thoughts on my relationship with God. However, a difference in belief doesn’t have to mean there will be no connection. If you allow it, we can still connect and be transformed.

So this is me trying to reach out to you by being the real me. Unfortunately I cannot be a traveling stay-at-home hipster muhther, but I will do my best to be the raw and real me so I may begin my genesis of cognition.