I Don’t Have Anyone To Call
I don’t have anyone to call when something good happens. Or bad even.
I don’t have a mother who can wipe away my tears. I don’t have a father to protect me no matter how old I get. Just because I say online that my life is falling together does not mean that my life has not already fallen apart.
Too many people, too recently, have referenced that Japanese pottery in conversation with me. The famous one. Its most notable quality being that it’s pottery made of broken pieces. I looked it up, again. It’s called Kintsugi.
Kintsugi: a Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer. Usually made of gold. The philosophy behind the technique is to recognize the history and visibly incorporate the repair instead of disguising it.
It usually results in something more beautiful than the original.
I’d like to think of myself these days as Kintsugi. Because I’m tired of so many people falling for the bullshit. For the smoke and mirrors notion that if you are ‘successful’ then you are supremely happy. I have learned, and am still in the process of learning, that I am not the sum total of my material gains. And neither are you. But we forget and we keep on forgetting that.
Because of the endless Facebook ads and commercials and endorsed Instagram posts that read something like the following: I have gone from rags to riches. I had nothing and now I’ve made something of myself.
You see, these stories have something to prove. And I got finished proving myself a long time ago. The stories that inspire me these days are the comeback tales. Like good ol’ Britney Spears. The girl I was too ashamed to write a timeline for in elementary school when I saw other kids mapping out Einstein and Lincoln. So I trashed Britney to do something ‘smarter.’
To prove myself. Oh, my self-worthiness journey started pretty early on.
Constantly seeking approval from others in order to feel something like proud of myself. Well now, I’m happy to look at Britney’s timeline today. Because today? She has one hell of a comeback story.
I tend to believe that the people who have fallen, lost it all, been shamed, humiliated, cast out and yet have somehow risen, in spite of it all, are the most remarkable human beings. They are Kintsugi.
And when you fall? All ego, pride, and self-interest is totally swept away.
So needing to prove something isn’t even on the table anymore. They’re doing this because they can. I’m writing this to you now because I can. To cut the facade and let you in. To show you my brokenness. Because it’s my brokenness that has led me here. And I’m still a work in progress.
If I wasn’t verbally abused, I doubt I’d have a heart to serve. My heart only goes out to others now because I feel their pain. Because I know how deeply it hurts to be put down. I still catch myself, more and more on this journey, emotionally regressing. To a child-like state where my 6-year-old self is overwhelmed with emotions and fear of abandonment.
I don’t have a mother who can wipe my tears away when this happens because she died. Right around first grade. I don’t have a father who can protect his 27-year-old daughter because he’s still with the woman who verbally abused me. He chose to stay. I chose to leave. There has been no reconciliation. I’ve learned to move on but it doesn’t still kill me some days.
I stopped picking up his phone calls. Because I know I will emotionally regress. Like I do with my boyfriend all the time. Going down a rabbit hole of self-blame, hatred and what could turn into self-sabotage if I don’t catch myself. Even though our relationship is incredibly healthy.
The only healthy relationship I’ve known. The one that I see lasting until I have no breaths left. But knowing how to function in an unconditionally loving environment when all you’ve known is fear, abandonment, abuse in an environment where love is given, or taken away, based on conditions met is wholly unnatural. And overwhelming baffling. Confusing as fucking hell.
And God, he’s so patient with me. Because he loves me in or out of my mess.
I’m absorbing the facts every day. That he’s not going to leave and that he doesn’t love me because I’ve done something right. That he doesn’t hate me because I’ve done something wrong. That he doesn’t want me to change in order to control me. That he wants me to be the best version of me. So I can be that person I was meant to be before the shit hit the fan. But then again.
If I didn’t fall apart, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be the kind of girl that he deserves. I wouldn’t have fallen for the guy that he is. The kind of guy that I deserve. But that’s what you learn on your way to loving yourself whole.
And I fooled myself good. Because I thought I had gotten there already.
I worked on myself for two solid years before we met. I healed bits and fragments of myself. But Kintsugi is a life-long process. And I wouldn’t have known what else needed to be healed if I wasn’t brave enough to fall again. In love. Not knowing if I’d be hurt. If I’d be left behind. Or if I’d be the one to leave. Those questions we’re too afraid to ask ourselves until it’s too late are things I ask myself every day. Call it a side effect of personal development, or being annoyingly self-aware.
So no. My life isn’t altogether. No one’s is. But we somehow keep falling for the lie that we have to paint these pretty rainbows into existence in order to get people to like us, invest in us, fall in love with us, buy from us.
I’m so fucking tired of it. I’m starting to lay my life open for you because I want you to see the beauty in the black and blue history. I want you to see the broken in the repair. I’m not going to hide myself anymore. I want to be better than my original. I want you to see my scars. And this is where I am.
I have a man in my life who loves me for me. I am on a consistent journey of learning to love more and more of me. Unconditionally. And I’m learning how to receive love. To see that I am worthy of so much love. So I can give it even better. I’m seeing that I don’t have to apologize for being who I am. That I have a voice that needs to be heard. Even if people don’t agree with me. Because, frankly, I’m tired of keeping the peace. And feeling like I’m walking on eggshells. I don’t want my words to make everyone feel mushy + gushy inside. I want my words to pierce you. To make you think twice.
My grandfather was the only one who really knew me. We lived with him.
My dad’s dad. Before my mom died. He watched me when my father would go out. When he’d try to bury his grief and move on. When he met another widowed soul and found solace in her. What should have been my only lesson in ‘two broken pieces don’t make a whole’ wasn’t. I witnessed their toxic love story + had several of my own before realizing what unhealthy looked like. And learning that no one can give me what I need but me.
My grandmother gave her blessing to my father and his new someone in a hurry. Because they got pregnant a few months after they met and right before my grandmother died. My grandfather became even more of a best friend to me after that. He was there when I had no one else to talk to about what was going on. He loved me unconditionally because he could.
But soon we moved away from him. New life with dad’s new wife. And a new brother. Someone who came into this world not having a clue. Someone who I wanted to protect when things got bad. And they did.
Threats. Fights. Lies. Control. Put-downs. Blame. Self-righteousness.
My grandfather knew about it all. I didn’t have to lie to him like they did. He was the one I would call. Not out of obligation like they did. But because I wanted to. Needed to. We had one of those unshakeable bonds.
He was the phone call I made after I moved out on my own. He was the phone call I made when I didn’t know if I’d survive. He was the phone call I made when I wanted to meet my birth mom’s family. He was the phone call I made when I quit my job. He was the phone call I made when I didn’t know how I’d pay my bills. He was the phone call I made when I became a life coach. He was the phone call I made when I fell in love. He was the phone call I made when it was time to say goodbye.
He died late last year. When my boyfriend and I were traveling around Peru.
The night he died I got violently sick. Like this-is-not-normal sick. Like this bond between us is being ripped from this earth. And I didn’t know he had died until we got back days later. I found out from my cousin’s ex-girlfriend.
And I didn’t have a mother to wipe away my tears or a father to protect me at 26. I was a girl who’s last real lifeline had been permanently cut off.
I didn’t share this anywhere online. Because I wanted to process it fully. And today I’m finally opening up about it and a lot of other things. Because I want you to know that there’s no such thing as perfect.
I didn’t have anyone to call this year when I realized I had almost made my old corporate salary last year. I didn’t have anyone to call this year when I was making nothing. I didn’t have anyone to call this year to tell how excited I was that we were going to Seattle. I didn’t have anyone to call this year when I found a not-so-nice post from a family member trolling me online.
I didn’t go to his funeral either. Because the brokenness goes so deep that I knew I couldn’t look my father or his wife or my brother in the eye. I knew that I’d emotionally regress. And be overwhelmed in that moment by fear, abandonment, abuse when all that should be present is grief and love for the man who made the decision to call me ‘Diane.’
I know I could get down on myself because I should be further along. Some would say to screw them. Some would say to just move on. But I know, more than ever now, that I have to go at my own pace. And this is just where I am.
I’m still a work in progress and I’m finally starting to be okay with that.
And in order for me to love that little girl in me whole I know I need to be in unconditionally loving surroundings. That funeral would not have been one. So when I got the news my boyfriend held me. He was the one to wipe away my tears. He was the one to take me to the mausoleum a few days after the funeral. Where we stood there and said goodbye. And left a little present.
Because it’s the love that matters. And it’s those real moments. That we too easily dismiss in exchange for the big smile on social media that tells the world everything’s okay. I want to see more of what happens in-between.
The things that people are too afraid to talk about so they comfortably hide behind a screen of smoke and mirrors giving the world a skewed image. I know because I’ve done it. And today, I’m not skewing a thing.
The worst thing we can do for our brokenness is disguise it. Hide it beneath some beautiful facade. I see so many people doing that and it’s actually hindering those around them. Making us think that we have to ‘have it all together’ or be at a certain level of ‘success’ in order to feel worthy.
The truth? No one has their shit together. And if they do? They’re not telling the whole truth. The biggest revelation I walked away from the World Domination Summit in 2014 with was this. That every ‘successful’ person I met there was just like me. They told me: ‘I’m just figuring it out. Like you.’
That gave me hope. That other real folks existed. Who didn’t buy into the bullshit. And the world needs more honesty like that. Because people don’t just go from rags to riches and all of a sudden everything is peaches and cream. Life always happens in between. The thing we keep on forgetting.
And I think when we start being okay with the good and the bad, we stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. We realize that life is going to be filled with ups and downs. Some in our control but most out of our control. And that it’s okay if life is going well and we have no one to call.
I would rather live a life knowing that I’ve fallen apart for a reason. Being? To fall back together in a way I could not have even conceived for myself. I could not have conceived my life. It’s not picture-perfect but I’m happy.
I’m not saying that it doesn’t get lonely or hard or sad or frustrating. It absolutely does. Even when you’re in an unconditionally loving relationship and doing work that changes lives, your life can still hurt. It can deeply ache. But the pieces will fall into place. The way they’re supposed to. With every bit of lacquer added, you are healed. I’m finding this ‘being honest and transparent thing’ to be super healing.
I lived a smoke and mirrors life already. I lived in a broken, abusive home where conditional love ran rampant and yet to the outside world we held up the picture-perfect image to a tee. Because we couldn’t let the pieces fall. We couldn’t let others in. Broken wasn’t beautiful. It was a disaster.
That’s not my life anymore. I almost suffocated there and now I know what freedom tastes like. Freedom is me accepting all of the good and the bad and not discarding a shred of it. Accepting me. Respecting me. Owning my emotions. Taking responsibility. Forgiving me. Most importantly? Loving me.
In my mess and out of it. I can’t guarantee when my next up or down will come. Take yesterday as a perfect example. I wake up really excited to write, all of this pouring out of me, and when I close my laptop to walk up the street and check out the local church gathering something happens.
I walk in the building and I walk out. I haven’t been to a church in two years and I immediately walk out of this gathering. It’s not in a church. It’s in a building. It’s not in a nice cozy neighborhood. It’s in downtown Seattle. And all I see are bums. People off the street being fed and sung to. What do I do? I leave. Because I want to gather with people like me.
I’m not perfect. And I learn from each fall. I’m taking responsibility for this one. On judging too quickly. Not staying for a while longer amongst people who life has really happened to. I don’t know their stories but I know they’re hurting and here’s a free meal. Maybe they’re not there for Jesus, so what.
Maybe I didn’t want to feel broken amongst them. That would be too much.
This is hard for me to admit to you. Because a few years back I was a leader in my church. Acting like I had it altogether when I didn’t. And the minute I got into a serious relationship with someone outside of the church I left. I was afraid to stay and own my life. To drop the facade and share that I was in an intimate and loving relationship, outside of marriage, and that’s okay.
It’s the same relationship I’m in now. And these are the things I want to share with you. My truth. As I publish this piece I am taking responsibility for all of me. My life. My actions. The things that have happened to me and the things that I have done. I embrace the darkness. I embrace the broken.
Because it’s how we find the light and the beauty in the midst of the chaos.
And definitely not when it’s convenient or comfortable. The best changes in us happen when we’re dangling one foot off a proverbial cliff. But it’s this willingness to adapt and grow that allows us to love. That will allow me to really love another human being and one day walk into another church gathering like the one yesterday and stay.
I wouldn’t be here telling you all of these ins + outs of my current life if shit didn’t hit the fan for me and my life didn’t fall apart. I would be a very different person living a very different life today. A life I don’t think I’d like.
Probably climbing corporate ladders and chasing ‘success,’ not giving two cents about anyone. At all. And smiling big for the filtered Instagram post.
Today broken is beautiful. And it’s a thousand times better than my original.
The Facebook profile picture I’ve had for a while now is me looking over my shoulder. I have a tattoo on my left shoulder. It reads: As long as there is someone in the sky to protect me, there is no one on earth who could break me.
I have a lot of people in the sky these days looking out for me.
I may have broken pieces but I am not a broken person. I am just learning how to put myself back together, not disguising the truth, one bit at a time.