M.J. is a self-made artist, who continues to learn through countless defeats & hold on to hope when hopelessness abounds.
Fear & Pain-the Beginning
Have you gone through life, feeling like the pain, just never ends? Has something in your life caused you so much fear, that no matter how hard you try to block it out, no matter how many times you tell yourself its not real, and no matter how long you search for happiness, that fear just cripples you? It screams at you, endlessly, makes you believe that your life is pointless, and you start to question yourself, your sanity, who you are as a person? You start to go down this never ending spiral of questioning every life choice, everything that's ever happened to you, every person you've ever hurt and that's hurt you. You become clouded by self-doubt, and eventually self-loathing. You try to breathe through it, but that weight just pounds down on your chest, and it becomes so heavy that you cant breathe anymore, and all of a sudden, the only thing that you can now think is how much you want this feeling to end; when will it be over?
When does it get better?
If you are like me, then this scenario frequents your life, and it can be so exhausting. Well, this has been my life cycle since I was a little girl. I grew up religious, incredibly religious, actually. My family raised me Jehovah's Witness. The thing about that religion, is that the people among the organization, they are good, kind hearted people, who are just looking for answers like the rest of us. They want to be good people, and religion gives them that sense of belonging and peace and security. However, the life long effects that the religion have had on myself and many others, have certainly changed my view of organized religion. In fact, it's changed my views and beliefs about everything in life. Everything I was raised to believe about the world around me, is false. I do not agree with the using God and "his" Love to induce fear. They had me so terrified that if I did anything wrong, no, anything human, that God's loving hand and spirit would no longer be with me. I was scared, scared as a little girl who didn't have much of anything but her love of God; that I was going to utterly disappoint "him", and that he was going to destroy my soul. Simply for being human, for living my life, and making mistakes.
I grew up without my father. I never met him. My mother, bless her soul, was sick, and she too was filled with much pain, from the things she suffered through as a child, as a baby even. I know now that she did her best, and I have since gained an understanding of her that I honestly never thought that I would have. She married quite a few times throughout my childhood. And then divorced. There were times that I was taken from her, and there were times that she'd be gone for days and it was just me and my brother. I grew up fatherless, and I grew up with half a mother. I often felt neglected and rejected, abandoned and forgotten. I quickly started to feel the weight of worthlessness. I wondered why my daddy never wanted me, why my mom was never the same person, why I wasn't good enough for her, or important enough for her. It seemed to me and my child mind that she always chose men and drugs over her own kids. And all the failed relationships, and all the hardships we faced, were always put on me. It was like I was her emotional punching bag, and in the very next instance, her little angel. I was my mothers stronghold, her shoulder to cry on, her big strong girl. It was so confusing to me to feel such conflicting feelings towards and from her. When I was finally separated from her for the last time as a pre-teen, I started to feel this anger, this resentment and animosity towards her. I hated her.
Working Through the Void
But, there were things I couldn't see as a kid, and there were things that I just did not know about my mom, and I wouldn't know about them until my early 20's.
I remember the void. I always talked about the void, from as early as I can remember, there was this void; this empty black hole in my chest, in the very center of my being. And I didn't know what from. I remember thinking that it was because I had never met my father. So growing up, I leaned upon My Heavenly Father. I clung to him desperately. I Loved him so dearly, and everyone could see it. Every witness in any hall that I went to, would come up to me at the end of the meetings, and tell me how inspiring it was to see the amount of love this little girl, barely in school, has for the Divine. As I got older and started to really develop and cultivate that relationship with my Heavenly Father, the more people would tell me that I was "spiritually wise beyond my years," or that they "have never seen such a strong faith and closeness to 'God' in all their years," and that they could all "see and feel 'God's' immense love for this child." And to be completely honest, those comments, they were the only thing keeping me alive, for countless years. Knowing that I Loved God and God Loved me, kept my hope alive. But as I grew older, I started to feel something very off about the witnesses and the organization as a whole. I was no longer feeling that sustenance and that protection from being amongst "God's Worshipers". I felt controlled. And I hated that. It killed me inside to constantly be told that in order for "God" to hear my prayers I had to do this and I had to do that, that I had to have unwavering faith and obedience or else he would turn his ear from me. And that just went against everything I had felt in my heart to be truth, against everything I had believed. And they just kept repeating themselves, and they got louder and louder and louder and I felt more and more distant from the one Being that I had only ever felt close to in my entire life. I felt so truly alone, like I was losing my only friend.
Choices That Changed Everything
It was around this time, I was a teenager, almost an adult, that I started making my own choices and my own decisions, and went against my families rules and the religions rules. I had already been in trouble a few years prior for making these same mistakes, but at that time I was too young to go out on my own and quite frankly, I was too scared. And my family definitely used fear in order to get me to "repent" and "change my ways" and to beg for forgiveness. I was told so much as a child and a prepubescent teen that, whenever I would make mistakes, or hide things, like any kids my age did, that I had no conscience, and "do you even love God?" I felt emotionally torn apart for so many years. I just didn't fit in and I did things weird and I was overly eccentric and my family disliked it. So they tried to emotionally beat the "normal into me." So fast forward to me finally having enough and starting to go against my family and the organization I was raised in. I was banned from the organization, so to speak. I was "disfellowshipped" basically meaning an announcement was made about me to the people in my congregation, which spread like wild fire by word of mouth, that I was no longer recognized as a Jehovah's Witness; meaning no witnesses, including my family, are allowed to have any contact and association with me because I am now "bad association."
But, I chose that. I was tired. I was tired of being manipulated and controlled. I was tired of those in charge playing god. Something had felt so wrong for so long but being surrounded by the fellowship like I had been made it impossible to see things from a different perspective. It's like I was suffocating and drowning and the only way to make it out alive was to swim away from their land and try to find new land. And trust me, I swam, I swam so far away, I couldn't get out of their quick enough. I gave up on religion and on god, I had lost my faith. It was time for me to live. And live is what I did.
My Path to Self-Love
And living led me down the path of Self-Love. Prior to this, I had hated myself, I was filled to the brim with shame and guilt and self-hatred. This all manifested itself in the form of drug addiction and self-harm, and that is how I "lived" for a good length of time.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am still young. I am still learning, still growing, still working through my traumas, and still in the process of re-wiring my brain. And that alone is a process that takes time. Unfortunately, it can't be done overnight.
I have made many mistakes, mistakes that I now see as lessons. I have put myself through a world of pain. However, I have gained so much from that pain. I have gained life experience, which may be my favorite part of this human existence. I have gained clarity and understanding about my life, about the people I love dearly, and about the world around me. But most of all, I have gained clarity and understanding of myself; who I am as a person, why I am the way I am, the dark parts of myself that I used to destroy or run away from, I now do my best to embrace. Because those dark parts, they are just as much a part of who I am as the light in me. The things in me that I used to see as extremely negative, are the same things that teach me, that help me grow, and that help me love-not only the world around me, but especially myself. I have learned things about myself that I was once so confused about, like being extremely codependent (a topic for a later time), that now help me see things clearer, that help me in my relationships with those around me, that make it easier for me to be understanding of they way life plays out, and why some people do the things they do. What I have gained, and trust me when I say that it was gained from the deepest, darkest, scariest, and most painful crevices of my being, is awareness, and acceptance.
I suffer from extreme paranoia, and it comes out in several types of ways that are often near impossible to talk about and describe, and when it strikes, it often leaves me crippled, and so scared that my entire world changes and I fear for my life. This is something that, even to this day, I still struggle with, and I do often fear that it will never leave me. But even dealing with this, I can come out of it knowing that it is only a delusion, it's really just an overly drawn out fear, a fear that will one day be worked through. This fear though, this endless fear that has had its grips on me for so long, is the result of spiritual and religious "mental abuse" and at least I am now aware of its roots, and aware of what it is, and know that, through the help of my friends and family, and the professional and spiritual help that I now have. And my belief in myself and my resolution to endure all things, to Hold On, because Pain Ends, has helped me start trusting myself, and realizing my own strengths, and even more so to get closer to the people I love, the ones who truly care about me most, and has helped me to put my trust in them.
I have always been one of those people that doesn't really ask for help, mostly because I grew up having to do most things for myself, and because I have always been the helper. This though, eventually became a very negative thing in my life, because I was ignoring my own needs for the sake of those around me. In fact, for a very long time, I believed that not only were my needs not important, irrelevant, but that I did not deserve to have my needs acknowledged and taken care of. This led to an incredibly unhealthy way of living, and I eventually got to the point where I felt, like I had so often felt throughout my life, that my life did not even matter, and that I would be better off dead. I gave up on life, I gave up on myself, I gave up on others, and I gave up on love. I tried to end my life through drug overdose a few different times, obviously to no avail.
Now, though, I have come out of the most challenging parts of my life, with an understanding of myself and life and others, that I want to be able to share in a positive way. Because I know I am not alone in my battles. I know that I deserve Love just like the rest of the world, and I know now that I am the only one capable of giving myself the ultimate Love that I deserve.
Finding My Light, Sharing My Love
I wouldn't trade this life for anything, even if I had the choice of drawing a different hand in life, I would still choose this one. Because my mind and my heart are now open; open to the wonders and the possibilities of the world, and open to the Light, Love, and Beauty that exists and surrounds me, US, in this world. I have gained the tools needed to help myself when I fall, and know that I have the strength and ability to pick myself up and start again, and I am able to share my experiences with people that ask me for help, or that share with me their struggles and ask how, despite my upbringing, and the challenges I faced, the hardships I went through and the hardships I put myself through, how I have managed to hold on to hope, when it seemed like all hope was lost, when it seemed like there was no where to go, and it seemed like the light would never shine through the seemingly never ending darkness.
The words I share with the ones closest to me, and now my readers, are of my own experiences, and of my own truths, my own findings. They may be what works best for me, but that doesn't mean they are absolute, and it doesn't mean that what works for me will work for everyone else. No, my only hope in sharing my experiences, findings, and truths, is in hopes that, anyone who's reading this, can maybe gain some new perspectives, and that the challenges life presents us with, can be painted in new lights.
I hope that everyone can learn from their fears, learn to face them and conquer them. I hope that more people challenge themselves, to go out of their comfort zones, and that by doing so, find what I have found; that our fears can only control us if we give them the power of control over us. That we have the ability to change our patterns of thinking, that we can take back the power in our own lives. I hope that people can learn from the pain that they feel. Because it has only been through my pain that I have found the true joys in life, because I have seen and felt better, and I know that the pain is only temporary. Its there to teach us, to make us stronger, to help us grow. Growing pains were never comfortable, but those pains didn't last forever, did they? No, they were there for a time, and after a few, the result was a growth spurt. Its the same for emotional pain.
Don't let Fear and Pain control you. Learn and grow from it. Challenge it. Conquer it. Take your control and power back. Accept the parts of yourself that you used to try and change or deny, because they are a part of you, and those dark parts are what make you genuinely beautiful. We are all equal parts light and dark, good and bad, positive and negative.
These are my Experiences.
These are my Findings.
These are my Truths.
This is my Life.
I'd like to expand upon perspectives. If you liked this piece of my writing, and it spoke to you or touched you in any way, or simply made you feel not alone, please stay tuned for my next piece, which will be all about my perspectives and how they changed and why, and how that has changed my life.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post, it means so much to me, and I really hope that it has reached someone out there.
You are not alone. Hope endures all things, remember to Hold On, Pain Ends and that "this too shall pass." Nothing in life is permanent, nothing lasts forever. The sun doesn't stay forever in the sky, it eventually sets, and will rise again.
You have the ability to make it through anything. So believe in yourself. Let fear and pain be your motivation, and may it lead you down the path to true Self-Love.
With Much Love - Melody Jade
© 2020 Melody Jade