The Thing About Giving Up

“That’s the thing about giving up. You don’t realize you’ve done it until it’s too late.”
There are moments where art speaks what your soul has monologued most of your life. Raw exposure of surprised bareness.         Music does this often. Poetry most. And once in a while, the stage – theater – will get it right in multiple angles.
      The line above is from a movie I saw not too long ago. “You’re Not You.” Not surprisingly, an independent film. As I’ve found time and again, independent films give stunning realness and complexity that is all too rare in cinema, more often found in lyric or play. I’m drawn to the unpolished. The relational explorations. The bold revelation without the gloss of falsity.

Hilary Swank plays a woman of heightened learning and accomplishment, in a picturesque marriage, social circle, talent tier – who within the first 5 minutes of the film, discovers that nothing will stay as it was. Two trembles of the hand and life alters: ALS diagnosis.
    I won’t say any more – know that its waiting on Netflix and it’s not a screenplay wrapped in niceties or polite avoidance (you’ll know this by the first scene, though that won’t be the theme of the movie nor revisited, save briefly once more). There’s scenes and language and wrought-pointed pain.

        I obviously cannot say the theme of the movie is anything I can relate to. I have no personal tie to the horrific, degenerative disease. I am not mimicked in any character. I do not find myself in the behaviors. But I go to the fringes of despondency and clench at the unfairness of the never-again-upward direction of life.

My emotions do not take much to be pulled into the places. I’m a big feeler with a lighting-quick reaction time. If there’s pain, I’m taking it in, in whatever pieces I can pretend to relate to.
I feel big.      I lose bigger.           I mourn gigantically.            I rejoice as fresh, each time, as it if were the first. Pure. Awe-filled & addicted for more.

I am one who creaks inward. Who at the movement of plates tectonic, thinks not first that it’s outward reasons and affecting. Who at terrainial shifts thinks first that it’s sourced from the recesses of in, not out; of me – never anyone else – who is the always-cause to the destructive-effect.

While it may not sound so or be immediately agreed upon: I’m an abundantly self-centered soul.
It may look differently than one might think:
Yes, I leap at opportunities to be the one driving hundreds of miles to visit a wounded.
Yes, I stretch to ensure I am serving in some way – be it meal prepared, money lent, ear given for a cause never too much nor too little .
Yes I want to give and give until I’m sleepless and strained and all boundaries are rubble and “yes” is always the answer because “no” is a four-letter-word.
But I am a self-centered, self-burdened soul.
Because I’m also she, who says this and thinks these:
I am too taxing. Too cumbersome.
I have energy too high and worry too loud.
I feel too big and it’s far too grand for anyone to handle.
I twist inside at the first sign of dissension.
I believe you will believe the worst of me – because why shouldn’t you?
My flaws are stretch-marked, high volumed, fluctuated, kettle bells of burdensome.
I spend so much time disheartened by so much “me”.
It is the definition of self-centered.
I center fears around ‘self’. I measure worth around performance of ‘self’. I am exhausted by all things ‘self’.
Do you see it now? It’s Times’ Square – billboard – obvious.         But the lie is that it’s only I who sigh beneath it.
       And it’s the lie that it will always be this way.
                 Because the truth is     freedom lives.        And it is mine.
I am good at occupying the space between released and giving up.     It easy to miss how close you’re getting to one….how very far you’ve taken yourself from the other.

I’m usually not so brazen and bare with the revelation of my crippled nature. I honestly cannot give reason as to why I’m being thus now. Perhaps it’s because when one reaches a point where one is often a frequented visitor –

      the place of being named ‘not worth the time’

– that the sheer exhaustion of being back in such familiar territory causes the filters to fall and the callousness to rise.

And, wholeheartedly, I do not say that out of spite or irritation. The place where label is assigned either by action or word [or lack of motion or communication] may be one in which I have inhabited more seasons than not. But that does not mean that I don’t understand the times when it comes.
Remember, I’m more aware than anyone can possibly be of my idiosyncrasies, my hamartia.
In reality, times of rejection and unveiling allow for one step closer, one inch nearer to the place of beautiful abandon. 
      Abandonment of shame,     of agreeing to the failure,     abandonment of ‘self’    and instead, sprinting towards redemption. Washing in the water of new – scrubbed clean from the stench of old.
“If I take offense easily, if I am content to continue in a cool, unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” ~ Amy Charmichael
It’s been an exhausting few months. A trying few weeks. A scary few days.
               So much has changed within this past year alone, even more in the previous months.
And I’ve always loved change. Sought after it. Anticipated its adventures.
Maybe the change I’m due isn’t in the larger scales that I’ve been known to experience. Maybe the change coming will be quieter, but grander than anything yet to come.
      Because maybe the change will be more for me to recognize than anyone else.
I can only dream of how stunning that will be.
Lead me to the shift where You will be the center, no longer my ‘self’.
Greater vs less.
Beauty for ashes.
And beautiful gain for gorgeous loss.

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