Acceptance

Maybe I have had this for a lot longer

But it was dormant

Obtainable

Deniable

The cause, however, of much issue

The roots, miles deep

And even though, I have survived through my own life

I has been hard to keep happiness by my side.

It is no wonder that I had to “fake it till I made it” through most of my life

Just a smile, but inside, I am wishing I didn’t have to speak.

My heart will give and give and give

Until I am left empty-handed.

I never thought much of it, I just assumed that was how life was

That this struggle I battle inside my own head was just a life-sentence

I recently had to come to some acceptance

I had to choose to remove the eye mask and come to the realization

THAT  I  NEEDED  HELP .

I had to realize that I have spent years trying to do it on my own,

Trying to make this “depression” go away on its own.

I only kept self-sabotaging myself, over and over.

The expected self-reaction, always disappointed and frustrated with myself.

This is a season stripped down, of all the added things

Keeping up with only the bare minimum

So that I can face this head-on

And focus on healing that hurt little girl that affects my daily choices

It’s time for some major self-care

It’s time to do some deep cleaning, time to scrub the walls and the floors

All the corners and cracks.

To be successful, I have to admit that I need a little help.

I have to accept that not only do I deal with anxiety, but also depression.

I will be okay, I will overcome this

I wish I could say I won’t need help for the rest of my life,

Only God knows and only with God’s help can I do this.

The first step to freedom, is Acceptance.

 

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Fear

My relationship with fear

life long

I despise you

The cause of many passed opportunities

The cause of so many anxiety attacks

The cause

But also my protection

I remember you used to warn me as a teen

You used to warn me, hanging over me and twisting my stomach

Calling attention to yourself but I never knew why.

I didn’t understand or know who you were

I only knew the feeling of impending doom

That by the end of the day,

I’d be beat

Beat by the fists of his erupting, volcanic anger

Paired with the taste of leather and,

Belt buckles to my purple-welted thighs.

Always my fault.

But it wasn’t.

Though at the time, I was convinced it was my fault

No perfect child was I

But fear stood by my side, became engraved like a shameful tattoo

Somehow you tried to help me, but it never worked.

On days I felt your presence, it only ended badly

In tears, even though there’d be hours of apologies

Still.

Today I realize you were nothing but a poser.

A fake.

You were never there to “protect me”

Only there so that you could dig those gnarly nails deeper into my very being.

So that you could become stronger as I grew weaker

You nasty little fool.

Years and years and years and years and YEARS

Living under your control, my every move and decision,

Every interaction, Every thought.

Until eventually, I began healing.

I began to slowly realize who you were and how much you had consumed me.

As though you knew you were losing strength and I was rising,

You’d attack me.

Throwing me down to the floor with panic attacks, anxiety and depression

Hoping I’d stay on the ground, long enough to erase all the progress I’ve made

Yeah, you used to win.

For years.

This last time though??

Nope.

By far the hardest blow you’ve thrown

Only because I’m on the cusp

The cusp of something greater than I’ve ever been able to be

Getting back up is difficult, but God is on my side

Something you seem to forget,

You can NEVER win against God.

The reason I write this is because I want to break your power

To weaken it even more, one must expose you

I choose to help erase the stigma

Feelings of shamefulness because of the depression

Feelings of embarrassment

All in attempt to cause isolation.

NAH.

You WILL NOT WIN.

Because, today, I CHOOSE TO WIN.

Success is mine.

You are not.

God has not given me a spirit of Fear, but of POWER, Love and a SOUND mind.

Today I’m winning.

 

 

 

 

Unexpected

At the start of 2015, I had hopes this would be a year of courage & fearlessness. I can’t put the pieces together just yet, but I’m sure somehow, all of what 2015 gave, that those 2 are there…I hope! Ha.
One thing I can say, is I never expected to say goodbye to the people I had to & I most certainly never expected to have the close relationships that I now do.
Sometimes the unexpected is better than what we actually expected. I can’t quite come to peace with the pain 2015 brought but I have to believe that there is blessing in the unexpected.  This year has been a whirlwind sending me into inner-self adventures, to find the peace within. Having to search deeper than before, finding the Holy Spirit as my inner solstice. My constant, my balance in my pain.
2015.
It’s made me tired. It’s made me weary. It’s made me forget the important things. The biggest distraction of all came this year & I can’t tell you how many times I tried to severe ties. I gave up trying to get rid of someone who clearly wants to be a part of my life.  Yet, somehow, still, I always reach back to my one true constant. God.  I can’t understand any meaning to this madness but one thing I know for sure, I sure in the heck am NOT who I was in the beginning of 2015.  Wiser, more attentive, quieter yet crazier, stronger not weaker.  By crazier, I really just mean that I’m more free. I don’t hold back.  I’ve come to the acceptance of people being two-faced & me just not caring anymore. I refuse to hide something that’s good just because of the talkers. Nah, I’m good.  The opinions of those who pretend to like you are like dust. Meaningless.  Am I over it all yet? Of course not…. But that’s only because the story is far from over.   Many blessings have come this year, goals have been met, prayers have been answered but only through the unexpected.  I am grateful, thankful yet still, am counting down the days that this year is over. Is that a bad thing? No. Because I know life will always give me things I don’t expect but we need those things. Those moments. Those people. Those beginnings & endings. Life is all about growth, what better way to grow then through the unexpected? It’s all worth it. No matter what. It is. Eventually, the pieces come together & you realize what you wanted/needed/asked for has finally come. Through a really unexpected package.  Then, once it’s clear to you, be thankful & expect another. Roll with the punches. It’s life & we’re strong enough to handle what comes our way with God by our side.

Arise

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I’ve fought through hell. I’ve fought LIKE hell. To hell (metaphorically) I’ve once been, mesmerized by it’s flames, dancing with wolves with laughter, carelessly while unbeknownst to my once teenage self being devoured from the inside out, beginning with my heart, hitting every organ inside, oh how many times death attempted its final capture. Then- I WOKE UP.  I saw truth, I saw light, I saw hope…. even though there was nothing. I had to start fresh, like a blank canvas, a chunk of clay, an empty sheet of music- waiting to be written.  I had nothing, but my heart knew that life was better in the unknown. So I grew and I broke, time and time again. Those flames came to play many times but each time I came out stronger, with more assurance than before, more determination than before, more anger against this fight for my life than before.  I’ve learned and I’ve healed, trial after trial. Every moment that I found myself on the floor in a pool tears, “Why is it always something?” I’d always ask. Yet time and time again I heard the same thing “what you have gone through, are going through and will go through, you are going to help those women & girls who have experienced the same thing or are experiencing” 
So some how all this is not just for my betterment- but for others. To somehow be chosen to go through everything one can possibly experience, yes I have wished it’d stop, how many HUNDREDS of times I’ve wanted to stop and turn around. How many times those wolves in those flames seemed so much better to my flesh, that kissing all my perseverance goodbye seemed so easy to do- so many times.

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Now, I am living and operating in things that have never been. Things I’ve only prayed about, things only asked for but were just hopes. “The greater the call, the greater the devil”, they say.  Well, crap!  2015 started off with a bang, then the blows came in, one stronger and deeper then before. This last one? OH MY DEAR LORD.  I am not going to lie, I was willing to lose it all- EVERYTHING.  There’s far too much to lose this time around, basically, if I gave it all up- I can guarantee there’d be no going back. I am not over exaggerating!  We all will fall for one reason or another, but it’s God’s strength that enables and empowers us to get back up. Life gets hard. I contemplated staying down, but here and there God called out to me in different ways. He kept reminding me that His hand was held out to pick me up in His strength.  Then I remembered the hell I’ve fought through to get to where I am, how many lives stand in balance if I trashed it all, the precious relationships God has given. Then the fire that tried to burn me alive suddenly became flames to reignite my soul.

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I found strength, I remembered God is with me through the fire.

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I stood up with determination, laughed and said, “ha, that was a good one, nice try- I’m out” and walked away.  Was this a test & did I fail? No, falling never means failing, it’s whether you get back up after the attack or not.
I won. End of story.
Until next time,
Amanda

Unsaid

As odd as it may sound, I am a very trusting person (even tho I only fully trust a handful of people), in that, I believe others to be as I am- who believe in the best even though they know the worst in you. You can present me with the craziest, wildest, most horrifying thing and I will never look at you differently because it’s never my job to judge. I am also a person of my word, when I say I won’t say anything, I mean it. When I tell someone I trust them, it is because I believe their word.  I hate for promises to be broken and I only commit to what I know I can keep. I am a very loving person. Unfortunately, most people do not have the same heart & love as do I. Even more unfortunate, is when you find out that you’ve been outted by the person you least expected.  Yup. It’s a crusher but when you know you have a choice to make- avoidance or accept it and learn from it. Oh how I wish I could have taken the easier route!!!   Things happen in life so we can learn from them, and if you’re hard headed (stubborn like me), that often means learning the hard way. 
So what am I learning? The true meaning of silence is golden.  In short, my life shouldn’t be as open as a book as I’ve allowed it to be…  Because, frankly, words can be turned, flipped and switched (just like the childhood game of telephone)…. Not necessarily by the person who opened their mouth, but the person to which those ears who heard belong to!!  Oh Gossip. You are so juicy, but you cause so much trouble & death to many friendships!   Sounds a lot like the apple Eve ate in the garden of eden, huh? Or really, sin in general. Sin feels good but in the end?  Well, let’s not go there, shall we?!  The truth of the matter is, it all comes down to our mouth. We hold the power of life and death in our tongue. That for me, is a new realization- am I unknowingly self-sabotaging by sharing things with the wrong people? Perhaps.  So, here’s to selective sharing from here on out!
Until next time,
Amanda

Like A Clanging Symbol

WHAT MATTERS MOST
“Love others as you love yourself”
How can I love others like I love myself if I’m always so hard on myself? Is that really love? But love is patient…. If I’m hard on myself, how is that using patience & equally, how is that loving myself?
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If I truly loved people how I loved myself up until now, my goodness- I’d be no good!  Love would NOT exude from my being & my representation of Christ would be horrendous!  But I do love people. Perhaps, I love others MORE than I love myself?  I am certainly more patient, forgiving & understanding to everyone than I am to myself. So what does that mean? Does that mean that I’m not truly loving Like God commands? Does that mean that all my efforts are like a clanging cymbol because I lack the agape love for myself? Oh my goodness. If this is true, then I have some loving to do!!!!!!!!!!  

Streets

Late nights
Street lights
Walking the line & and say you’re fine
Going through to get through
Laying down
Opening up
Paying out
For money that’s not even yours
Hiding not to get caught
But to be caught may be your answer out
Do you want out?
As if happiness is found in giving away what you wish was still yours
Don’t play that game
I know you wish there was more
More than this rugged life that caught you up
Being controlled
As if bruises were equal to the amount of love you get?
When did black & blue become the definition of love?
When did blood become ok to spill,
“Because I care” they say.
“Because you’re mine” they say
“Because I love you” they say
“Because I’m all you got” they say
“Because no one else wants you” they say
“Because you deserve it” they say.
When?
When did pain equal love?

I can think of a time.
A man innocent
Took the blame
Did it anyways
Betrayed
Slandered
Wrongly accused
Mocked
Spat on
Beaten
Beaten so badly that the flesh on his back was torn
Nails straight through his hands and feet Stuck on two pieces of wood.
Dying.
Dying to save
Because that was the time that blood spilt equalled love
FOR YOU.
He took the beating so that you didn’t have to
Because He saw your beginning from end
Sending His son to rescue you.
If ever love equalled pain, it was on the crucifixion.
He took it all so you could be free
So you could have more
More than the streets
And Hotel doors
Dirty beds & dirty sheets.
Sleeping on floors
More.
Because you are more.
Because God loves you and planned to save you.
Do you want out?
You can be free & forgiven.
Cleansed & restored.
No judgement given
Open arms with an open heart
Understanding and comfort
Peace and wellness.
Let this be the last time that love was black and blue to you.
You are beautiful.
And you are loved.

Widen Your Horizon

Being the new year, I decided to do an instagram clean-up (myheart_in_ink) and I couldn’t help but be astonished at how far I’ve come not just physically, but mentally and spiritually over the last 8 months.  Life is definitely NOT the same. Eight months ago, the things I’ve tapped into were not even a question, let alone did I even BELIEVE that I was capable or deserving of these things.  I am beyond grateful for how far I have come in this journey to wellness & as each day passes, that fire, that passion within keeps burning more and more.  Now, I’m to the point of truly having goals that are far to reach, but are not impossible whatsoever.

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Through this journey, I’ve had many question and doubt but my life is far too important than to choose to stumble on what others think I should and should not be doing. This, after all, is my life- following after God’s heart. So, if I make a mistake, that’s a learning opportunity and a chance to get better and try something new. I even lost a few people along my journey, and I’m 100% happy with it. I learned a hard lesson a few weeks ago, not everyone in your life is for you- sometimes those “haters” are the closest to us. Sad right? But truth. When you begin to move in and towards your purpose, those “friends” will fall away- because you’re progressing, doing something right, and they’re not.

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It is so foreign to me to even have someone jealous of my progress. It sounds wrong!  Thing is, when you have a vision, you’ve got to go for it anyways, no matter who says what.

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So, with that said- here’s what’s been on my heart the last week and a half-
My passion for dance has ALWAYS been there. I began dance when I was 3 1/2 years old- ballet, tap dance, gymnastics. Somewhere along the way, life happened, the good and the ugly, I got older and insecurities set in, belief that I was not capable of greatness was engraved in my brain and that love got buried- almost to the death of it. Junior & senior year came and I took 2years of dance. I choreographed our dance for our group final & our dance teacher begged me several times to join the dance team BUT I had to turn it down due to my parents.  So then, I graduated- and life got REALLY bad- I spiralled down real quick doing anything and everything, my life was without boundaries or sound judgement- because I just didn’t care anymore, I believed my life was pointless. I became an object, something to be used but never a keepsake.  My view of men was so messed up and I began hiding behind my weight so I wouldn’t get all those looks and whistles. It disgusted me- but that disgust was rooted in bitterness and unforgiveness. I was angry and I took the victim role, I was broken. Gaining and gaining, all the while being controlled by fear.  Sure, I accomplished a few things over the years, but it was like fighting tooth and nail with myself. New mindsets would never stick because who I was told I was (a failure) was too engraved in my brain.  Many people gave up and said I was a lost cause. Only one person stuck it through, and I gave her hell, lemme tell you!  My best friend, my pastor, my big sis.  Several times in the past, I had the typical “I can do this” spurts and they were progress short lived because I was still chained by fear. I didn’t believe I was worthy of anything great. I believed I deserved a life of complacency, a life on a treadmill- going but never getting anywhere. I was afraid to try. Afraid to dream. Afraid to fail.  Dreaming made me want to hyperventilate!   Then I turned 28. Everything within me was awakened and I felt an urgency to move, to go forward, it was time to come out of hiding. I didn’t know what it all meant at first, but I knew I had to run and never look back. Zumba was and still is a legit answer to prayer- but as the months passed, it became more than that. My passion for dance came Alive again. As if my passion for it wasn’t enough, I went on an all dance-type movie binge one night about 2wks ago, right before Christmas. It was then that a new dream was birthed. I don’t just want to be a size 14 or size 12…. That no longer is my tentative end goal. I want a dancer’s body. Yeah. I said that. No, I don’t want to be a size 4. What I am saying is that, I want to be fit. I want to be able to move with agility and grace, to be sharp on my moves, and my endurance twice as what it is now. I want those toned arms and abs. Yeah, that’s a lot for someone who was once pushing 300 lbs- but it isn’t impossible. That, my dear readers, is a miracle. That I am finally able to dream that big & to believe it’ll actually happen.

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Every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror, I ask myself “who is that girl?”…. My mind is changing but at a slower pace then my body is. I’m getting there!  Sometimes I still think I’m much bigger than I am- but tonight I saw my old pics in a different light- “wow, I WAS a lot bigger there!”, that is a step in the right direction & yes, I’m proud of myself for finally seeing the change rather than being highly unsatisfied with my amazing progress.

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So, this passion is woven in my veins- it’s not something that will go away. What I thought could be true a few months ago, I have realized and accepted as truth. Part of my purpose is wrapped in this passion- what 2015 holds for me, I believe, is a year of being fearless, having courage & love. What all that entails- I don’t know yet, but I’m moving full speed ahead, I know that if I thought that God blew my mind in 2014, then 2015 is going to be an explosion!

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I am fired up and by the end of 2015, I’ll be looking back, as a completely different person. Ever changing, moving forward, living fearlessly.

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Until next time,
Amanda 😘

What if…

Late night thinking when I should be asleep…
My journey isn’t a temporary journey, it’s a permanent journey. I’m a lifer. I’m in it for life. This isn’t a diet or “let’s do this until I get smaller.”  NO.  As I get closer and closer, stronger and stronger, healthier and healthier- I ponder on the “what if.”
Many of the people I follow on instagram (myheart_in_ink) have weight loss success that began as complete unhealthy & obese people.  Now, they are coaches, nutritionists, teachers or trainers. I can’t help but think, what if that was meant to be my future all along?  What if that fire that burns within me isn’t just for now? Because it isn’t and I know that my goals have changed because I finally believe that I can reach even further longterm goals. This is beauty. Beauty because I once was that girl afraid to set any goal because she feared she wouldn’t be good enough anyways, she failed in her mind before she even took a step. It took a lot to get here. It hasn’t been easy and yes, I still have fears but I’m not afraid to envision myself as a really fit, beautiful inside and out, confident woman of God running after God’s heart. I’m in progress.  I’m not afraid to see myself so confident that I do not care that all eyes are on me, waiting on my direction. I’m not there yet, but I’m closer than I was when I woke up this morning and that means something.  The thought isn’t as overwhelming as it once was.  What if? What if I was so chained down by fears, blinded by unbelief,  addicted to self-comfort and fake smiles that my true calling was hidden, better yet; buried beneath it all?

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The mind truly is a battlefield, we truly do fight fights no one knows nothing about and its with the person between our ears!   Obviously, all of this isn’t visible, it’s all what’s in our heart and head. 
A few weeks back, God showed me a dream that I was giving birth and I thought about it for several days after, until suddenly God said “your dreams are being birthed”. Then I was reminded of what He showed me 2 months ago, and it all clicked.  No, I don’t know EXACTLY what’s ahead, but that’s the beauty of trusting God. In July, I felt as tho I was taking a leap of faith, stepping out onto water, the unknown. I no longer fear the unknown, I just go, trusting that God is clearing my path, with just enough view ahead, while He holds my hand. I am OK with that and I am at peace. I know that it has gotten better and it does get better from here! Keep going, whoever you are and whatever your path is. You’ve got what it takes!
Until next time,
Amanda

Breaking Away

Through these last several months, my journey hasn’t soley been about my health, but also about wellness- in mind, body & spirit.  In June, I was awakened to how bound by fear I was, more specifically, fear of Failure.  As of recent, another big one has been surfaced- one in which I am sort of embarrassed to even say- BUT I’ve got to be transparent, because anything left in the dark, will remain, but what’s brought to the light, will be dealt with. The Fear of Rejection.

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This one has haunted me, again, all my life.  So many of my reactions & responses to people I truly care about have been rooted from the fear of rejection- these reactions and responses I am oblivious to, I do it habitually not even knowing until someone tells me. When it comes right down to it, it is annoying. It’s like always trying to escape from something that just won’t budge. Being that it has been built in me, my every thought, word, body language and even actions come from it. It’s literally like being tangled up in something and it’s blinding- because you won’t even realize your working out of it, it’s second nature.
So to those that know me personally, I want to apologize, and please bare with me as I journey through this- this too I shall be free from!! 
This isn’t an easy feat- but I know God is my helper, my deliverer and my healer. I bet He’s waited for this day for me to see it, be tired of it and want to be free. Whew. Here goes to stepping on some more fear, FEAR WILL NOT WIN! 
Until next time,
Amanda