believing in she who was

3) Write about something you used to believe that you no longer believe and how that shift in belief has changed things for you. 

Yesterday, I spent about an hour shuffling through photos ... all the photos, in boxes, stored for years, packed and carted here when we moved ... photos in the boxes that I would get around to sorting and organizing some time later. All the boxes brought out as we all reached to find reminders of a boy growing up. 

In the midst of that search, I began to see evidence that I existed. That maybe I even more than existed ... maybe I lived. From here, I've looked back and only seen myself behind a closed door, trying to be OK, trying to live. Depression skews the present and it also skews the memories. The photos show a smiling mother, playing and laughing, reading to her children, making cookies, on adventures. I'm not sure that I know her. 

I used to believe that I was not good enough, that I had to work harder, be better, be good-er in order to matter, in order to be worth anything. I tried so hard. I would read the books and listen to the sermons and jump through the hoops because more than anything else I wanted to be good. I had never believed that about myself ... that I was good and I spent years and years striving for it. And failing. or at least feeling like I was failing. 

The shift did not happen over night or easily and it's far too long of a story for one  blog post but what began in 2005 on the back row of a church, tears streaming down my face and my saying to myself, "there has to be more than this." ended at a fire almost seven years later. 

I burned my journals in the Spring of 2013. Every word I had ever written in every book, I piled into boxes and dragged them out to the fire pit and I burned them. It took hours and hours. As I sat around the embers that night, still poking them with a stick to make sure every page burned fully, I said to my daughter, "that is a stinking big pile of not good enough"

The photos taken before and after are telling. I don't recognize the she who was but I know very well the she that I am now. 

Then I believed I wasn't good enough and now I can look back and applaud her for her life and how she loved and lived. I am so proud of her and her journey because I know what it took for her to get from there to here.