…So maybe the greatest gift marriage gives us is the chance to fantasize, to imagine that there’s more to life than there actually is, and it accomplishes this by assuming responsibility for all the misery and dullness that we would otherwise equate with life itself.
But it’s not actually marriage that does this: it’s your spouse. One saintly individual steps forward and volunteers to be the fall guy, to absorb the entirety of your existential bitterness for decades to come, so that you can think life isn’t quite as bad as you once feared, since everything that’s wrong with it is actually your spouse’s fault. Even if you don’t ever act on your feelings, from this point forward you can believe that you don’t have to die in order to escape from the dreary reality in which you sometimes feel trapped; you can just get divorced. Your marriage partner, in other words, allows you to hold onto your hope. It’s a profound gesture of total, thankless altruism, if you think about it, but you don’t think about it, because, by virtue of the particular service they’re providing, you’re too busy feeling resentful to feel the appropriate gratitude.
I feel gratitude every day for all the ways life gives me what I need. Family. Friends. Freaks. The holiday season reminds me to put these things in the front of my mind. To be charitable. To be introspective. To give a little more.
Clearly all this contemplation needs a soundtrack.
But holiday soundtracks can get really bad, really quickly when left to chance. To that end, I’ve wrapped up some Holiday tunes for you. These are songs I’ve created over the years. Some original, some remixes of legends you may recognize. All work that I’m proud of, and hope you’ll enjoy. They’re not all about Christmas, but speak to the spirit of the season. So even if you’re bah-humbugging your way through December you can still sneak a candycane and enjoy the merry feels for a bit.
There was once upon a time when I believed in gold dust and fairies. When my furry toys will jump alive when midnight comes and crickets sound in the air. Those Enid Blyton-esque animals and wooden toys became my imaginative world, with their adventures, lessons and morals.
Living with an anxiety disorder, all I do is think. My mind is composed of thousands of fragmented sentences, countless worries. I can never rely on myself for peace and quiet; I never could. When left to my own devices, I obsess and mull over tiny little things. I have always managed to turn minuscule situations into mountain-sized obstacles. When I am alone, it is increasingly hard for me to distinguish my fears from the truth. My world becomes irrational and distorted.
“I don’t let myself down, I don’t let myself down.”
As I have grown older, I have been able to seek help—but I still manage, every now and then, to end up in this same place where I internalize my thoughts to the point of imprisonment. I know I can’t do this on my own, so I can’t help but wonder why I continue to try. It’s easy to resort to handling my emotions this way because I know what happens when I do this. The results are unpleasant, but they are familiar, predictable. On the other hand, the moment I share how I’m feeling with someone, I have to allow myself to become vulnerable. It seems like I am relinquishing the little to no control I have over myself to someone else.
But that’s not really the case.
“I feel closer to the clouds, I’m touching all the highest leaves.”
There have been crucial moments in all of my worthwhile friendships where the terrifying opportunity to divulge a part of myself arises—to jump in head-first or flee. But when I let go of my mind and take a risk, I am able to connect, and there is great freedom in connection.
There are a few people in my life who have genuinely listened to me, who have chosen to put down everything to learn about me and my life, for whom I have been able to do the same. I can count them all on ten fingers, but these are the relationships that fulfill my heart and make me alive. These are the friends who make me happy, who help ease my anxiety with their existence and willingness to listen. They encourage me to keep going.
“So we let it rain on our skin. You’re holding my hand, I’m holding your life.”
I know, as an individual who struggles with perpetual anxiety, I have an awful tendency to attempt to bear my burdens on my own. It is much easier to do (albeit, more difficult to maintain) than reaching out for help. So much thought, so much worry, goes into a simple phrase: “I need someone to talk to.” Even more terrifying is to ask someone specifically, “Can I talk to you?” Hidden between these questions are millions of other questions left unsaid: Can I trust you? Will you listen? Will you accept me for all that I am?
The truth is we deserve to have someone walk into our pain with us. I deserve this; you deserve this. And once we allow this to happen, once we allow ourselves to depend on one another, our lives are intertwined. We have an emotional bond—with much at stake, yes. But with risk comes reward. With tears comes laughter.
“I show you my dreams to make them our dreams.”
We are not built to support the entirety of one person alone. We are created to function as a community, to love as a community, to realize what we are not capable of and seek help for each other. The people who have made a mark on my life the most have actively listened to me, as well as led me to other methods of help. Because of this, we can rejoice in our victories, never alone.
“Together with the rain and the sun.”
Thank you, Rachael, Melissa, Shalana, Ashley, Julie, and the others who have impacted me. You have shown me the beauty of life, the love I deserve through community. Thank you for walking with me through my pain, thank you for leading me to help. Thank you for allowing me into your lives and never giving up on me.
To whomever is reading this, there are people in your life, waiting for you, wanting to hear your story. It may take time to find them, but you will, and you will receive the love you deserve. You are loved. You are never alone.
Who decides life is not worth it? You? God? When you reach this point, questioning living, breathing, you play god. You feel your mind make, take, break and create new processes never felt before; a process of passion, confusion, contradiction and confession. You strive just by the thought of not surviving. The downfall of a suicidal mind.
Painfully and buried deep down the impulses slip out. Screams for hopes, answers, connections, positive aspirations. Constantly wondering is this it? Is this the end? That your life can never peek again, so the result of your collapse is an eternal slumber with the devil by your side. Whispering in your ear telling you about the ache and sorrow your sinking heart and conscience feel. An eternal hell. An eternal anguish, torment, suffering. Do you stay in the hell on earth or hell in the after life? You examine all the details over and over only thinking of your lonely pitiful life. Meaningless and outrageous. Screams moving around trying to get out but only bouncing back inside of you to find the little nothingness in which they are in seek of. Literally, are taking you in and cutting you into the smallest treads as possible over and over. Never letting up to give the one underneath a second break. Pounding as hard as possible. Thudding and pulling, twisting and hurting. Neither end nor good. You can feel the over whelming sense of your corruption taking you headfirst and choking your every last breath off. Cutting it away like a river being eroded by things we cannot control. Your life you cannot control. People you cannot control. You see the only outlet in your mind but it burdens you with insanity behind it. Taking life; your own life. The reasons are bliss. Sweet tender resolutions freeze over your tempered thoughts, fragile thoughts of a suicidal. Unaware of the footprint left behind. Your stomach churns, stirs and confusion sets in once again. You feel vomit rising in your throat about to implode but it’s just an illusion created in your mind; hallucinations. Questions are still increasing their intensity and passion. With every moment of aloneness and isolation, the time ticks away from you until you feel as though you will fly into a rage. You take a deep breath; intense thoughts. Questioning right verses wrong; life verses death; now or never. Take a step back and pull the trigger; welcome to the end.
My spiritual life won’t like yours. It shouldn’t. It’s not supposed to. And if I try to make it like yours, I’ll miss what I was supposed to see all along — the image of God himself, the balancing point, the center of the circle, what we create when we all stand together and lean into it — listening to stories that aren’t like ours, practicing different disciplines, fixating on Him even in changing cultures and seasons — God’s image. God’s artwork.