Friday, October 17, 2014

Broken Crayons Still Color

Broken Crayons Still Color...

I love this concept! Because it is so true and so simple. No matter how mentally, emotionally, physically, grammatically, horizontal, or vertically challenged we may be, we can always make, or add something from your own inner self, to the situation that life presents.

I took a Sports Psych class in High School where we did an object lesson about always being able to give to the situation. My teacher took a rag, got it wet and told everyone in the class to take turns squeezing water out of the rag and into a glass. Everyone passed it around and the whole class period everyone was still wringing out water, while we did this my teacher explained that one can always give more to the team. Or to the group. Or to the individual, and even if it is just a few drops of water, it is still significant. Even if your life rag seems totally dry, he explained, a few drops of your water might be all another person needs to keep going.

So what is your individual "water" that you can give more of?

I think sometimes we are scared to share our individual "water", that we detach ourselves from the world because we think we are not good enough, Because our own "Crayon" is "broken" and therefore we can never color as pretty pictures as everyone else does. But, if we truly can always give more, and if our own broken crayon still colors than what holds us back?

When I came home from the mission I felt like I had let down Heavenly Father, by not being able to help more of His children in South Carolina come back to the gospel. Like I had let down my old companions, and friends that I had made out on my mission. I felt complete guilt for all of that. I said that I was home to "get better" (not knowing at the time that "getting better" would not be an immediate option), and for me depression was a lame excuse to go home early.

Recently I have picked up a talk that Mauri Nelson gave to our mission in which she quotes Harriett Lerner on Guilt and Shame: "Guilt comes from what we do, but Shame comes from what we are..." And then Mauri adds: "...Or what we think we are."

I was feeling Shame for being home early, more than guilt. I thought that if I could just go back and tough it out a little while longer, if I would have prayed harder, worked harder, and focused less on myself, and more on others, I wouldn't have made the choices I made that ended up getting me a one way ticket home, and an honorable release. I said that so many times to myself, and I still do! But it's not Guilt I feel it is Shame.

The Shame I still feel makes me want to hide the fact that I am home early. Some people who know I'm home, but don't know why, I want to avoid like they have Ebola! I don't want people to know I'm home early, but I especially don't want people to know that I am home early because of Depression! So what do people with problems these days do? They hide the fact they have a problem. They can't hide the problem, but they hide the fact that it is hard on them. I don't want to speak for the whole world, but I feel like that is how it is... at least for me.

So it becomes a battle inside to "fake it" and wait "until you make it." But on the mission, and even coming home, and now, faking it doesn't help. I forced that smile, I told those jokes, but the energy it took, was costing me. Soon it became apparent that coming home wasn't the best thing for me, and some days, it was worse than the mission. I was exhausting myself to seem normal, when inside I was Ashamed that I was home. I pretended to be handling it perfectly well, and I still do this. But hiding my weaknesses, my needs, my problems, it made me detached, and even more alone. and it made me even more depressed.
Just some food for thought!
I have noticed that I become stronger when I share my problem, maybe that is why I do this blog thing... Because if you would have told me a year ago that I would be blogging, I would have laughed in your face. But now, when I talk about my Depression, and my Lyme Disease. It isn't attention seeking, it is just letting people know that I have a problem. I used to think that it was making an excuse but it is not!

Imagine if you had a hard morning, you woke up late for school, you rushed out the door, you get to class and someone sits down by you, you politely ask "How are you doing?" And they say: "Oh man, it has been a very hard morning, I woke up late, I had to miss breakfast, I am tired, and I just want to go back to bed today." You had the same thing happen, so you agree! Wouldn't that take a load off of your shoulders? To know that someone else is having a hard time too? You would maybe even put your arm around them and have this huge surge of empathy and say, "Ya know what, I understand."

If we could all be a lot more honest about how we truly are feeling inside, then maybe everyone would have a lot more empathy.

Now I'm not saying be the Debby Downer. I'm not saying seek for attention. I'm simply saying be honest to someone about how you truly are. I really believe it is OK to say: "Well, today is a hard day, and I just want to cry, and go back to bed." If you don't get a couple Amen's and a Hallelujah then let me know. Because I would be like: "oh good! Really? Glad I'm not the only one!" And maybe that becomes our color that our broken crayon adds to the whole picture. I love this quote by Plato:

Because we never know who has Lyme, who has depression, who's mom just passed away. Who's brother is in Afghanistan. Or whose crayon is missing paper and is just a tiny broken stub. They are still going to create some sort of masterpiece in the coloring book of life, so why not give them a break? And throw your arm around their shoulder and just make them feel better. Even if your Crayon is just the tip that a Kindergartner bit off then chewed it up and spat it out, one can always give something.

Even if what you give is a listening ear. I think that, says "I care, and I may not understand, but I'm going to try to listen and get a better perspective." More than any hug, more than any kiss, or anything else.

-The Lyme Warrior