When You’re at the Bottom, Look Around

Last week my car broke down and the whole contents of my savings account later I felt at the bottom of a really big mountain with no way back to the top. I had spent months climbing and climbing, only to fall back down with scraped knees and bruised elbows in one big push. In that moment, standing in a foreign driveway, watching my beat up but trusty old car being towed away, I felt incredibly lost for the first time in months.

You see, it’s so easy to feel on top of the world when everything is going your way. But when the unplanned happens, the things that you can’t pencil into your calendar, it’s not so easy to know what the next step is.

When my boyfriend and I were waiting in his car for the tow truck to arrive, after I had called him at almost nine o’clock at night and he had arrived in his PJ’s without a question, his sister offered to bring me food because I hadn’t eaten dinner yet. When I called my parents, in tears and falling apart over a composition of parts and machinery, they helped in every single way they could from hundreds of miles away. When I crawled into bed that night, my car was waiting at a garage to be examined, I knew a bill was about to be placed in my hands that I couldn’t manage, but I had a ride to work the next three days, I had parents who would do anything to make sure I could make ends meet, and I had a boyfriend who would drop anything with just one call saying that I needed him.

You see, it’s easy when you’re on top of the world to feel put together. It’s not so easy when you’ve been knocked down, to feel like you’re going to be okay.

There is no arguing that I am incredibly blessed. With little money, and a car that for a while barely ran, I still have a car. I still have enough money to buy food. I still have friends and family that would do anything for me. When I look at that, it’s hard not to feel on top of the mountain again. It’s easy to feel like you’ve been pushed down. But maybe it was just time for you to look at your life again, and realize that while you’re striving for what you want, maybe what you have isn’t really all that bad.

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Find Your Fight

You have a reason to live. I don’t know what it is, and since we are having this conversation, I am willing to bet you don’t know either. But I promise you, there is one. I know you feel like there is no point. Your life has been so dark for so long, and fighting has gotten beyond tiring. Your soul is tired, your body is tired, and giving up is so much easier. Believe me, I get it. But you have fought so hard for so long, giving up would just mean throwing all of that away…wouldn’t it?

So please, listen to me. Sit down, and give me just five minutes of your time.

I need you to find your fight. I know you are tired. I know you have been fighting for what seems like forever. But I need you to find the one reason to never stop fighting. I promise you, you have one. I know you have lost sight of it. But it is there – you just have to find it again.

For me, my fight started off as my parents. When my battle with depression and suicidal thoughts began, I had to search for my fight. And what I found was my parents. They didn’t deserve to lose a daughter. They had given up so much of themselves, so much time, energy and love went into making me – they didn’t deserve to lose all of that. It didn’t matter how much pain I was in – I had no right to put them through it too. I had to fight for them.

My second battle came a couple years later, and this time, though my love for my parents had in no way lessened, my fight wasn’t there anymore. I searched there first, thinking this time it would be easy, because I knew where my fight was hiding. However, depression is never that easy. This time, it took many therapy sessions and medications (that didn’t work for me) to find my fight. And this time my fight was with my sisters. Turns out, they had been keeping it safe for me the whole time. My sisters and I have always been a package deal. You get one, you get all three. We have always had each other’s backs, we have always done everything we can together – you can’t break us up. I had no right to put an end to that without asking them first. And the Lord knows if I had asked, they would have tackled me to the ground and not let me up until I had promised to keep fighting. So I chose to stay. For them. No matter how hard it was, no matter how much it hurt, my little sister didn’t deserve to lose a big sister and my big sister didn’t deserve to lose a little sister.

Now, years later, I thankfully haven’t had another battle yet. But I have already found my fight. My fight lies in the tiny hands of my nearly one year old niece, beautiful blue eyes and tiny body, but amazing soul. My fight lies in the little girl who blows kisses and tickles you, the little girl who gives hugs when she can see you are sad but doesn’t know why. I would do anything for this little girl, anything at all, and that includes finding whatever tiny bit of fight is left inside of me and making it last forever, because fighting for her will always be worth it.

Find your fight. And when you do, use it. Don’t stop fighting. It will be hard. I’m not going to lie and say it will be easy. Even when you have a reason to fight, the fighting doesn’t just magically end. But it will give you a push. And it will be worth it.

-CM

The End

When the ground began to shake, forming human size gaps in it’s core,

we knew this was the end.

When the trees began to fall and the sky began to rumble deep in it’s belly

we heard the cries.

Mothers reached for their children,

Fathers didn’t have arms big enough to hold everyone they wanted,

Doctors rushed to save any life they could,

Fire fighters tried in vain to stop the burning,

Police officers fought to regain control –

I held onto myself, watching as the world I complained about so often

fell in shambles around me and all I could think was

if only we could go back a few days

Maybe I could stop the burning before it began.

 

-CM

Women

I’m at a shopping mall browsing through clothing racks

to maybe fill some of this emotional void with material items when

I hear them fighting two rows down

his voice is louder but she is clearly winning

cutting edge tongue to throat rips

he storms off and outside lights a cigarette

she continues to shop now with a stern look on her face

daring the fabric between her fingers to tell her she is wrong.

My mama used to tell me I would start fights just to win them

I worked with a man who never missed a chance to remind me my attitude was

intimidating –

what he meant to say was –

your attitude is intimidating when worn by a woman.

 

– CM

To Every Girl They Tried to Hold Back

An old man told a girl I knew that her dress was too short even though the fabric reached her knees

When my classmate rose her hand more than they liked, our peers would call her a know it all

Boys would cat call the girls wearing shorts and tank tops and mock the girls wearing anything else if it didn’t please them

She was told to shut up, she was told she was wrong, when her opinion held truths they couldn’t yet face

Over and over again we are told to shrink. They tell us to quiet our voices. To make ourselves as small as we possibly can because who wants to hear our opinions anyway –

Stand up.

Rise up.

Grow taller than the tallest mountain

Reach the clouds and when you do

Scream

Open your mouth and let every word you have kept suppressed tumble out and fall at the feet of all those who said you were too fragile

Too small

Too much of a girl

to do great things

 

-CM

A Short Story

I have built these walls around myself higher than any ladder

crafted towers on which to scout from, seeking out danger miles before it reaches my gates

this kingdom I created needs only my protection

I guard my every dream and wish with the sharp edge of my sword.

How I wish this story had a fairy tale ending

one in which the Prince rode in on his steed and saved the damsel but

I am not a damsel in distress and this warrior doesn’t need saving

this story doesn’t have a happy ending with hearts and red roses just one of

triumph and overcoming and

I will cut down every army that tries to defeat me

 

-CM

Stranger

When I saw you from across the cafe I recognized not you but the sadness behind your eyes was one I knew all too well

I know we have never met but I want to take this moment to sit next to you and tell you not my name but something far more important like

we are strangers but not even a stranger deserves to be alone and I will sit here with you all day if that means you decide to continue fighting

you are struggling to hold on to the last strands of hope you have left and you are hiding it so well but your eyes give you up

your eyes that tell stories of defeat, loss, heart break

I am reaching across the table now to hold your hand tight and confide in you that I too have been in the same place you have been and I know what you are feeling

We are strangers but allow me to hold onto you, allow me to take away some of this pain and hold it on my back for a while, allow me to take a shift of this long work day

allow me to help you find your way back home or maybe just back to yourself

life is hard and it will beat you up and hold you down until you can’t fight back but everything is easier when you have a friend

please allow this stranger to be your friend, all friends start out this way

you see I don’t have anything to get out of this but your happiness and I know you can fight back if only you knew you had someone in your corner so

let this stranger stand on the sidelines and tell you

you are not alone.

-CM

A Letter to my Super Hero

Superheroes fight battle after battle alone, backs against the wall, with no one to help, just as you have. You have fought for so long, your strength is undeniable, you can win this fight alone, but you don’t have to. Magical powers or extreme strength may win you a battle, but they won’t win the war. Marvel movies are a prime example of this theory in action; iron man has his suit, Thor has his hammer, Black Widow has Hawkeye…every superhero needs their secret weapon. At the peak of the war, when it seems all has been lost, every soldier is lying bleeding on the field, little hope is left trickling within your veins, the hulk smashes through the trees. Captain America’s shield flies through the sky, and suddenly, you’re calm. All has been saved. Your backup plan, your second line of defense when what you have to give just isn’t enough. Your last resounding yell as you charge one last time into battle.  You are never alone. Yes, there may be moments when you feel utterly and completely alone. The whole world may feel against you but when shit really hits the fan, you feel an arm wrap around your shoulder. It’s in this moment that you remember, you were never truly in this by yourself. So when your battle comes, when you are fighting whatever war you have been dealt, I want you to look around. I want you to give it all that you have, and when you’ve done that, when you can’t give anymore, I want you to let go. Let go and trust that my arm is going to be there. I would never let you fall. You might get beat up and bruised, I can’t stop every knife slash from bringing a little blood, but the scars are what make you stronger. Even if I could keep you safe from all harm, I wouldn’t, but I would never let you lose the fight. With my last breath, I would save yours. When my whole world is on fire, I would use the last bucket of water I have to extinguish the flames that keep you captive. That is what your sidekick is for. You are the super hero of this story, and I am merely here to keep you alive to win the war.