Raw // Jagged // Uncomfortable // Defiant

***For the sake of the audience I know visits my blog, I am censoring this post to a degree. But I am also going to be transparent here, and what I am sharing is real life, and some of it may make you uncomfortable. This is my disclaimer, because life is messy sometimes, and I know I need to be open and authentic about my journey. So please feel free to leave now if you aren’t looking for that. Part of me, the old perfectionist/people pleaser, can’t believe I’m actually writing this. But we are all so human. And if these words resonate with one person, my pain has had purpose.

“You fu**ing put me here. I hate you.”

Those were the only words I could scream to Him. To God. I sat up in bed, panic attack in full swing, choking on sobs, watching one large, dramatic drop of mascara hit my white comforter poetically & pathetically.

It was all piling up. All of the loss. The heartbreak. The change. The excruciating transformation in my life. No one ever told me that redemption was such hard work…that growing pains weren’t just uncomfortable, but sometimes a crippling kind of hurt. The kind of feeling that makes you almost believe you can’t keep going.

After a few failed attempts at calming myself down, I reached out to my friend Elizabeth, a gentle soul overflowing with truth and wisdom. This incredible woman encouraged me to dig deeper, to look in, and she begged the question, “Is it really yourself that you hate in this moment?”

And of course it was. This deeply rooted pain and anger was coming from MY life, my own circumstances. The months and years that were spent feeling so isolated, so misunderstood, so judged, so broken. Fighting to let go of the darkness, to never again live in a place like that, can actually feel incredibly lonely. That’s what I was telling God…that all of this hard work, energy, effort, and time I was pouring into making the tough choices, being a light, choosing good…it left me all by myself. Or so it seems at time.

The only place of refuge I find sometimes is in mediation and creation. My art is how I stop the panic. My mind goes elsewhere. My soul is in it’s place of worth. My heart knows where it belongs. It can speak there. It is free on that piece of paper. The ink allows it to run wild.

I was telling my dear friend, Nancy, that I’m afraid at times to share my art/my sketches because some people believe they are “too dark.” Her impeccably powerful and eloquent response was this:

“Dark and scary aren’t words I’d use with your stuff. Raw, jagged, uncomfortable and maybe even defiant… In the face of it all, the art is defiant.

The art itself, while depicting someone inside a hurt, is defiant in the face of cowardice or shame. What those who often face, the art meets head on, face first.

Look, if you ever went on raging benders where I thought you were harming yourself I’d chain you to a radiator and detox you myself, but this is art. And your drug, thankfully, is expression.

Hit it. Hit it hard. With everything you’ve got. Leave nothing there that could ever make you think you didn’t reach down far enough or cry hard enough or tap into something deep enough. Donald Miller didn’t call it “Close” he called it “Scary Close.”

Today would have been my two year wedding anniversary. And as I sit alone at home, pondering all of the ways life has twisted and turned, full of unexpected beauty and chaos, I actually mean it when I say I am grateful for today. I am grateful for the art and expression that saves me. I am grateful for having a voice, even one that God can handle at my worst. I am grateful to be pouring my soul out through a sketch pad and a pen tonight…defying the lies that want to consume all of us. It doesn’t win, you guys…the darkness, I mean. We are so strong. We are defiant. Keep going.

6 thoughts on “Raw // Jagged // Uncomfortable // Defiant

  1. So much love. I adore your honesty and your willingness to tell us your truth. And, in my opinion, your sketches are breathtaking. Their simplicity is what makes their messages so much more powerful. Stripped back. Essential. Being about 10 years older than you, I can say with the certainty of age and experience that life is full of unexpected challenges, hurts, grief, struggles you never thought possible, but through it all He is moulding you and shaping you. You can feel in the depths of despair (and I’ve had enough panic attacks to know. More people need to talk about their mental health and panic attacks btw. If we knew how many of our friends were curled up on the floor shaking, sweating and forgetting to breathe, just like us, we’d all be able to support each other more) but you are surrounded by light. And if you keep following, no matter how rocky the road is, you start to notice it. And that’s where the healing happens. If I didn’t live on the other side of the world I would be inviting myself over to give you the biggest hug. xxxx

  2. That’s right, the darkness does not win!! Keep going you beautiful woman!! The fight is worth it, the lessons, though grossly difficult, will prove their worth, and releasing perfectionism brings such freedom. I love you!

  3. I’m so glad I kept reading. I have been your biggest fan since the start. I was there 2 years ago, and though I’m not a close friend, I feel like I connect with you in so many ways. I have always said that your honesty, keeping it real, is your biggest asset. Thank you for pouring your heart and demonstrating struggle, pain, grief, love, excitement, joy by using the gifts & talents God has blessed you with. Your story is far from over. God has been in it from the beginning and will be there in the end. The in between, which is your now, He is unfolding day by day. No matter what, He can handle it. What an exciting place to be in, even if it is challenging. I can’t wait to see the great things God does through you and for you. The sky is the limit. God is sovereign. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. I love you dearly, your biggest fan, Estella

  4. Hugs…comfort & a warm comfy-cozy blanket to crowd under until you feel all our love & warm embrace to face the world again …you are not alone

  5. I appreciate your honesty. I have been there. God can handle our messiness as I have only learned very recently in my journey as a Christian. ” Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. ” – The Wise C.S. Lewis

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