For the last two and a half years, I’ve been living in a reality that doesn’t feel quite…real. I remember when it started. I had gone to bed the night of November 8, 2016, before the presidential election results were in, too exhausted to wait out the final returns. It was a close race, but surely…surely!…things would turn out alright. So when I rolled over in bed the next morning and asked who won, the answer left me feeling like I had landed in the twilight zone.
That feeling intensified the next year when I packed a suitcase and left my marital home, officially separating from my husband. On at least one occasion, I cried so hard that I collapsed in the floor. For the first couple of weeks, I had to have my GPS on in the car everywhere I went; otherwise, I would zone out and drive in a straight line until I didn’t recognize my surroundings anymore. Continue reading
My relationship to holidays and special occasions has always been a bit fraught. A special day means special planning. Buying gifts. Making food. Doing rituals. Behind all of that lies the prospect of disappointing people I love. Between my low energy, anxiety and OCD/ADD tendencies, holidays feel more like hell than happiness.
But now, there’s a new twist.
I was getting ready for work the other morning when I was struck by a sudden pang to see my father. Because of some terrible things he did, I cut him out of my life a couple of years ago. He hasn’t called in several months, and I was worried that something might be wrong. What if he’s dying? I thought.
And then I thought, if he were dying, would it change anything for me? I still have little capacity to tolerate any sort of drama. Talking to him wouldn’t close the rift that he created in my heart, wouldn’t bring back the years I lost feeling unsafe with him. And then I felt it: that old, all-too-familiar ache of having been robbed of a nourishing father/daughter relationship. Memories and milestones I should have had, but didn’t. And I had to pause and breathe and just let the wave of grief wash over me.
Overall, I’m happier and healthier these days, but I still have these moments when the scars throb, when I have to face the fact that I was hurt in significant, life-altering ways. I recently shared some of my story with a colleague, and he said, “I hope you continue to heal and are stronger for it.” I responded: “I will certainly be wiser and more compassionate, but never stronger.” I’m learning to walk with an emotional limp.
Women’s March in DC, (c) April Kelsey
Some of you might have noticed that, around the time of the November election, some of my posts here and elsewhere became a bit more political. Honestly, I’ve always been a political person. My two favorite conversation topics are religion and politics, which – you can imagine – makes me a much beloved dinner guest in many homes. :p
But it’s a difficult mix. The one thing I criticize most harshly about American Evangelicalism is just how political it has become. I’m a fervent believer in the separation of Church and State, and I do not think salvation, spirituality or purity can or should be legislated. So I thought I’d take a moment to explain why I’ve grown a bit more political and the ways in which my faith informs my politics.
(c) April Kelsey
Hello, Dear Readers.
As you can probably tell from the (in)frequency of my posting, 2016 has been a tough year, and I’ve been fairly quiet about it. I thought it was time to let you know what I’ve been up to and what has changed for me.
I started 2016 in the grip of grief. I had recently said goodbye to someone who meant a great deal to me, and there was no getting over it quickly. I don’t think I’ve ever grieved so long or so hard. Basically, I cried off and on from January to August. I was also diagnosed with a deformed vertebrae in my lower back and spent most of the summer in physical therapy. My mother-in-law lived with me from May to October to help with my kids. Continue reading