June 29, 2014


I hate that word, "Stay." It holds every last plea, every last ounce of energy you can ever hope to give to a person.

I remember uttering it to my mother when I was seven, begging her to please stay home and put me to bed instead of going to work.

I said it to my dad when my parents divorce was finalized.

I begged for my first love to stay even though our hearts didn't fit together anymore.

My best friends asked me to stay before I left for Savannah to go to college, and again before I moved in with Justin.

A boy asked me to stay once. He asked me to stay and my heart broke into a million pieces because I knew I couldn't. I had to go home, so he walked me out to my car and gave me a crooked kiss through my open window. And a make up kiss after that to apologize for the crookedness. He was cold and distant, always on the edge of letting me into his fragile heart.

"A heart can be blind," he said to me, "acting upon feeling without the knowing of what is good for itself."

Because of him, I don't know how to lead with my heart anymore. I don't know how to lead with the heart that urged me to chase the dream of a seven-year-old Anna of attending art school. I don't know how to lead with the heart that always whispered to just hang on, keep putting one foot in front of the other for one more day because it will get better. I don't know how to lead with the heart that told me to speak up about my sexual abuse, that told me to tell my mother, and then the school counselor after that, and the my real therapist after that. I don't know how to lead with the heart that used to trust so completely and deeply that it formed all of the best relationships I have ever known.

So in place of leading with the heart that doesn't know which direction to go in anymore, you start to lead with the mind. You make informed decisions, using logic and reason and there is no room for emotion. But what happens when your mind becomes ridden with anxiety? What happens when there is no room for decision making because you're stuck on all the "what if"s? What happens when your mind follows the same path as your heart, wandering down that lonely street into the unknown because it's so deathly afraid of the consequences that could happen if it choose wrong? Then what are you left with?

I hate that word, "Stay," because it represents all the times in my life that I was weak enough to selfishly ask for someone to give up their own path to happiness just so I could have mine. So my mind could catch up and process everything that was happening before the defining break in my heart occurred.

When I chose my one little word for this year, I didn't fully realize how much of an impact it would have on me. Zora Neale Hurston wrote, "There are years that ask questions and years that answer." So far, 6 months in of Unafraid has taught me that 2014 has been a year of answers. It has been a year of realizations. It has been a year of growth, and I am so full of thanksgiving for that because it means that I have survived. It means that I have endured, and that I have come out stronger on the other side. It means that I have learned to embrace my vulnerability that I used to banish to the back and only seek refuge in it when I was sure nobody else would know.

2014, you have been the answers to the trainwreck that was 2012, the year I started out by hiding in a camera room and bawling my eyes out because my life was a mess. Now the answers are all falling into place and I am growing as I should.

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