The Truth About Being Honest When You Are Terrified

I've been crying for the past two weeks.  Every day I think, this is the bottom of the barrel, it can't get any worse than this - and then another barrel opens up below that and I fall even lower.  To my chagrin, I'm a painfully honest person.  I hate lying.  So every time someone asks me how I'm doing, I tell them about the barrel I'm in.  Unfortunately that has resulted almost exclusively in lectures about how to get out of the barrel, which have left me more bruised + battered than before.

you could plant me like a tree beside a river
you could tangle me in soil + let my roots run wild
and i would blossom like a flower in a desert
//but for now just let me cry//

Life leaves wounds, wounds which I'm not sure ever really heal until the Lord comes back, and I've always been a deeply passionate, vulnerable person, which means my soul is so close to the surface that it gets hurt a lot without me knowing how to protect it.  I see people close to me who have tough skins and manage to plough through their hurts, who manage to overcome them and keep going - and I'm left miserable + drowning in a sense of insecurity because I'm NOT the suffer-in-silence type.  If I try to bottle it away, I create what the past two weeks have been: swallowing-glass misery + a feeling of being emotionally dead yet suffering hellacious agony at the same time.

you could raise me like a banner in a battle
put victory like fire behind my shining eyes
and i would drift like falling snow over the embers
//but for now just let me lie//

Please Handle Souls With Care.  |  Like a small wild animal, I will lash out when I feel like I'm backed into a corner + can't take any more.  It's a nasty reaction and a nasty place to be, and it's where I've been for the past two weeks - getting pushed further + further into a corner //and then getting harried + cut more when I react because I feel like I can't take any more.//  Sometimes it's the regrettable, angry lashing-out of someone in pain, sometimes it's the desperate crying of the two blind men calling for Jesus' mercy - either way, everything around me seems to try to smother me.  My soul is cut raw + I'm begging for someone to handle it gently.

bind up these broken bones
mercy, bend + breathe me back to life
but not before you show me how to die

I'm Terrified of People Now + Somehow I Still Want to be Honest.  |  Half of what you see on The Penslayer is the burst of flame + genius that comes with my magic-prone, imaginative soul.  It's all very nice to look at, and maybe you wish you had that spark too.  Everybody writes differently, everybody has a different soul; I just wanted you to know that, behind the glamour + the flash + the prose I write which you like to eat, there's a young woman who is not always sure how to be happy, and has been crawling through a living death for awhile.  I am literally shaking head to toe with fear as I write this.  It's not all Dammerung + cool writing.  It's having never lived this life before + messing up a lot at it while simultaneously feeling like I should be doing better than I am.  It's been living with the guilt of feeling guilty.  It's been hurting + feeling like the hurt is all my fault.  It's been feeling lost + wondering if I accidentally threw away the map.

i can't be the only one

This is my story right now.  I share it because, dreadfully introverted as I am, sharing my burdens is how I find release.  I share it because I want you to know who the Penslayer Girl really is.  Of course I want you to love my writing as much as I do.  I put my heart + soul into my work.  It's a forge of passion for me.  It's a pair of wings.  It's a clipper ship + a comet + a smile from someone I love.  But I want you to know that when I write among the stars, sometimes I'm six feet under ground.

"beginning to sink, he cried, 'lord, save me!' "

image via pinterest

20 ripostes:

  1. Been there. Live that. Love you!

  2. You and me both, sister.

    "When I'm bowed down with sorrow, I will lift up Your Name and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy, because You are good to me."

    I'm thankful for your words.

    It's just the dark before the dawn.

  3. My heart goes out to you. I've got tears in my eyes. I wish I could sit beside you, maybe offer a blanket and just sit with you. I have felt some of the same some days beleaguered with my own struggles. *fiercely e-hugs* I will be praying, and I love you.

  4. Jenny, thank you for sharing this. I know something of the terror of being honest about how you feel, of sharing your weakness and pain with others. I too often find myself in your shoes and don't know where to turn. In those moments I usually run to Psalm 42 and Hebrews 4, but a lot of the time I also run away from people. Sharing your true feelings and struggles exposes you and makes you vulnerable, which is the most dangerous thing anyone can ever do. Which is why it is so terrifying. But it is also so very freeing. I am praying for you. Thank you for being open about this - you sharing your struggle and pain is a great encouragement and comfort to those of us who struggle as well. Thank you.

  5. Two thoughts...

    Strength is not the ability to protect yourself from pain. Rather it is the ability to endure it.

    The point of life is not to be happy. The point of life is to love.

    1. does this help.

    2. well... she was comparing herself to people who are better able to protect themselves from pain. I was saying that her way is actually the stronger way. To leave yourself open is stronger than to close yourself off to avoid suffering.

      And, I think a lot of people worry and think they are doing something wrong if they experience unhappiness, because our society sells us a lie that we should be happy all the time. I think it is very comforting to realize that happiness is fleeting. I find it very comforting to realize that I don't have to struggle to be happy in order to be "doing it right". In addition, I generally find that the more I seek happiness the less I find it and the more I seek to love, the happier I am.

      I intended no rebuke, nor even any attempt to instruct the author how to "get out of the barrel". To my mind I was more agreeing with what she said than anything. I'm sorry if it came across otherwise.

    3. This makes much more sense, thank you for clarifying. XD

    4. Ironically, this is one of the reasons I often avoid sharing my thoughts and feelings forthrightly. I apparently can't make myself understandable and usually end up feeling like a fool.

    5. ^for whatever it's worth, fellow anonymous, I understood your original comment. So maybe it depends on the person. :)

    6. What anonymous says makes complete sense! Love what you had to say and the pithy delivery. :)

  6. Awh, that's unfortunate - but when you expounded, you were perfectly understandable. I'd keep working at it!

  7. I'm just the opposite ... I can't open up. Because I know that people would try to give me advice when all I really want is a shoulder to cry on. I want to be comforted and loved, not lectured. But you're right, holding it in hurts. Sometimes I vent my feelings into my diary, but it only helps for a little while.
    I know one thing, I'm thankful for Jesus. I can always go to him and know that he loves and accepts me no matter how broken I feel.

    The internet can be a wild and nasty place, but I'm thankful that you do let us have little glimpses into your struggles. If only so that we can see that we're not alone, and that it's OK to not be OK (even if we are too afraid to let anyone know).

  8. Jenny, I am praying for you. Every single day. God bring you peace.


  9. Oh, Jenny, I have to fight this fight too. Remember, all things work together for good to them that love God. Nothing can separate you from His love, He will never leave you or forsake you, and no matter how much you feel like you're losing and can't take any more, you are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. Cry to Him and know that you are forgiven and cherished. He knows your frame, and He will not tempt you beyond what you can bear. I'm praying for you.

  10. It makes me sad that you're feeling down right now. I hope it gets better. God stands with you even in the low places! But, you probably already know that.

  11. Thank-you for sharing this with us, Jenny. I don't know exactly what to say, but just that my heart hurts for you, and I love you, and somehow this post helps me acknowledge my own struggles too.


  12. I second Lady Bibliophile's comment--thank you for baring your soul/I honestly don't know how to respond/but a post like this is somehow comforting because it shows me none of us are alone.

    I wonder if people give advice instead of comfort because they don't know how to comfort? It's *uncomfortable* to see another person's pain, and so many of us try to "fix it," but that's often like pouring vinegar in a wound. I'm sorry there's been so much of that lately.

    P.S. In light of this, my response post the other day was particularly ill-timed. If it contributed to another bottom of a barrel dropping out, I'm truly sorry.