By: Kristina McKenna
I was silent. He was loud. I hadn’t learned to speak; I didn’t know how to string words together to make the thoughts jumbled in my head into coherent sentences yet. He had found his voice and paired it with beautiful instruments and alluring lyrics to perfectly convey his heart. I was floating, I hadn’t learned to scrape my belly on the ocean floor and go deep yet. He was stomping, making a mark on everyone he met. I was unattached, overwhelmed and weak. He left a piece of himself with each person he met, impressing them with his willingness to be vulnerable and real.
He knew that I was the dawn, still surrounded by darkness but ready to break through the light. He knew I had not found my voice. He knew that I could not stand on my own. Leaning on anything that would stay long enough for me to consider it a constant. Incidentally, was the redwood, strong and sturdy, beautifully built. He enjoyed that I need him to stand.
So I fell for him, and when I did, he did not kneel down and sit with me. He instead crossed his arms, looked to the sky and said, “I know, I am really great.”
I believe that he had good intentions at the beginning but I also believe he saw that I was uncertain of myself and my world and wanted to take advantage of that. He wanted to be my Savior. I wanted to be saved.
He took me to the fair one night. It was sweet and spontaneous. Even though I was exhausted from running miles, never sleeping, endless school-work and attempting to love others all through the process I went over to his place because I had not yet learned how to say no and take time for myself.
He laced his fingers through mine, marking his territory, and pulled me around the fair. I stopped at the swings and mentioned they were my favorite and so he kindly gave the man some tickets and we hopped in the swings and pulled the bar down parallel to our waist. The ride started slow, really slow, then fast, faster, faster, too fast, out of control.
Too much, Too much. Too much. Too much time spent with this boy who does not know me. Too much time I didn’t spend with my family. Too many people who do not know about me. Too much I hide. Too much I don’t know about myself. Too much energy spent on things I don’t care about. Too much sleep I don’t get. Too many runs I cannot give my heart too. My was heart pounding, my chest felt like it was collapsing, my lungs could not hold any air in and my eyes could not hold tears in.
He was laughing, carefree, until he glanced over at me and said, ‘Holy shit, whats the matter? Are you okay?’ I told him I needed to get down, that I didn’t feel well. I was constantly trying to water my pain down so that I did not inconvenience him. We sat on a picnic bench next to swings. My heart was beating in my chest as fast as my thoughts were flying in my head. Tears raced down my cheeks. He put his hand on my chin encouraging me to tilt my head up towards him. He kept trying to make eye contact with me. I guess he was trying to see me for who I really was, but I didn’t let anyone in that far.
He told me I was involved in too many clubs, taking too many classes, doing too much, that is why this is happening. He told me I was doing too much. I was being too much. We drove home; he picked the music as I sat silently in the passenger seat. He filled my silence with all of his suggestions and words and thoughts and opinions. All I wanted was for him to listen. I wanted him to make me feel comfortable in my skin and comfortable being myself. You cannot find in that someone else.
It wasn’t until a year later, when he showed up at my house unannounced with an empty conversation and judgmental glances. It pierced my heart that he did not recognize me anymore and I could not understand him. So I drove until I parked in an empty lot sobbing uncontrollably that I realized this: My worth was not, is not and will never be determined by someone else. My worth is determined by something bigger than him and me. My Creator determines my worth. He has deemed me worthy of his love and this beautiful, adventurous life. This is more than the dumb boy who cannot celebrate me. I am more than the dumb boy thinks of me. Because my Creator, he knows me. He knows everything about me, how many hairs are on my head, what terrifies me, what brings me joy, why I love running. That dumb boy, he barely knew my favorite band.
I journeyed back to school with this newfound voice. I wore my insecurities, vulnerabilities and mistakes like an invitation to the world to be real. This realness and honesty was beautiful and I wanted to share it. It was like having the best ice cream in the world and then trying to convince all your friends to try it too. So I attracted other real, broken, beautiful people. We would sit across coffee, crisscrossed on beds, drive around for hours breaking this message down: You are loved. You are worthy. You are brave. You matter. What does this look life for me? How do I live like I am worth it? I am still digesting this. I am convinced that it begins everyday as if it was the first.
This realness and honesty of worth and love are life changing. It will transform the way you make friends, how you spend your time, how you love others and most importantly how you love and treat yourself.
I now know it is not about taking this out of my life but adding things to it. Add time spent with a blank page, pouring myself into words. Add days alone with my best friend who even when I didn’t know myself, she always saw me for who I was. Add miles with my Father, who matched my pace and never failed to encourage me. Add dinners with my family, where we are gathered around a table barely touching our food because we are too busy sharing life with one another. Add sunrises on the beach, where I watch the dawn burst into life as the heavens pull the sun out from the safely tucked horizon into the day.
I am no longer silent. I am articulate, careful with the words I choose. So that when I weave them together they cover people with love and acceptance. I have learned to take the thoughts in my head and transform them into truth on paper. I am no longer floating, I am immersed in life. I am cutting to the deep meaningful parts of our stories and lives. I am secure and strong because I am lifted up love warriors and my heavenly Father.