Cry Baby

Cry Baby March 28, 2015
Image by Kaleesha Williams
Image by Kaleesha Williams

by Kaleesha Williams cross posted from her blog The Lost (and Found) Mind of Kaleesha Williams

Who are you crying for?

Me. I weep for myself, for the me that was.  Part of the grief process, I suppose.  The stark contrast between my life now and the life I was living two years ago continues to jump out at me at occasionally and I end up in tears.  The scars are all there…

 

All the times I’ve ever felt like I was special to no one,
All the times I wondered if I was beautiful,

All the times the man who was supposed to love and cherish me, to have and hold me, left me doubting that love existed or would ever exist for me,
All the times I laid alone at night wondering where he was,
All the times he neglected to return my embrace,
All the times I wanted nothing more than for him to hold my hand, to give it a squeeze, to reach out and caress me,
All the times we didn’t see eye-to-eye on important issues, like how to raise the children,
All the times we didn’t see eye-to-eye on unimportant issues,
All the times I just wanted to share something with him and for him to share with me,
All the times I just wanted to be near him, to share a moment, and he acted like I wasn’t there,
All the times we just didn’t connect, didn’t understand each other,
All the times I wasn’t worth fighting for… 

 

And what about God?  What about all the times I cried out, soaked my pillow with tears, wanting to feel his presence, to feel some relief from physical or emotional pain?  All the times I sought comfort, direction, love, all the times I sacrificed and waited…  with nothing in return.
I had a good cry with Denny a while ago, overwhelmed yet again by the realization that those pains really are behind me.  I am no longer bound to an imaginary deity and Denny has brought healing to every other personal wound I can think of, just by being himself.
I don’t want to forget.  I don’t want to take this life and this relationship for granted.  So, I remember.  And I cry for the Kaleesha of the past.  I don’t waste my time with regret, wondering who I would be today or wishing things had been different, but I allow myself to grieve.  It hurts me to think of anyone feeling the way I did so often.  Are there worse things in life a person can suffer?   Of course, but one pain does not diminish another.  My pain was real.  The same pain in another person at this moment is very real to them. 
A few years ago I was receiving a monthly magazine for women based upon the fundamentalist patriarchal view of the Bible; women exist to serve men, to have lots of babies if possible, and they must deny and sacrifice themselves however necessary to make this happen.  I enjoyed the magazine and, with a few exceptions, I found it encouraging.  This morning, as I was crying for myself, an article from that magazine came to mind.  It had stuck with me because over the years I had found myself shedding tears aplenty regarding the neglect listed above.  The word picture in the magazine was of a woman crying.  A stranger approached her and asked her not why was she crying, but for whom was she crying?  The author proceeded to admonish us young women to lay aside self pity, not to waste tears on ourselves, and to trust God’s will for our lives.
I found the article and read it again this afternoon.  The author made some good points about self-pity, I’ll admit.  I won’t say we’re sinful for wallowing in self-pity (she doesn’t either, but the implication is that it doesn’t glorify God), and I think some things come out during our pitiful times that we really need to consider, but I certainly don’t think it’s a condition anyone should live in.  The real problem lies in the author’s answer to the self-pity issue:

 

May God help us to change our questions to those that will help to bring us into growth, rather than leave us in the rut, or the pit of despair. God loves us too much to leave us where we are. He is not content with letting us stay the same. He wants to lead us on. He wants to change us into the likeness of Christ, from one degree of glory to another. If God did not allow difficulties to come to our lives, we’d stagnate instead of grow.
Let’s ask this question continually, “Lord, what are you saying to me? I am listening as I read your precious Word. I want to hear you speak into my heart. What are you telling me through these circumstances I am going through?’

 

Do you know what’s going to happen if you ask God these questions, if you look to him for answers?  The same thing that will happen if I look for answers from the invisible pet dragon in my living room; not a damned thing.  That said, ask questions.  Examine the pity and ask yourself if there is something you could or should do to better yourself or your situation.  If it’s completely out of your control make peace with it, draw upon your inner strength.  You will discover good things about yourself, you will grow, but it probably won’t be enough.
        Reach out to another human being.  I can’t stress this enough.  You do not have to go through anything alone, but you might remain alone if you don’t reach out.  Talk.  Share your pain.  Let someone hold your hand.  That’s real.  That’s tangible.
The only thing that hurts me worse than the injuries is the knowledge that there are people out there right now being told to stop crying for themselves, that this is God’s will for their lives and to just accept it and ask him to give them strength to get through it.  They are being told, “I will pray for you.  God won’t give you anything you can’t handle.”
I used to pray for people.  I’ve found my new response to the suffering of others infinitely superior.  First, I hug them if I am able.  I say, “Here’s my phone number; call me any time, day or night, if you’re feeling alone or scared or you want to talk or you just want a distraction.  I’ll come over and be with you if you want and I am able.  Let me know what your needs are and I’ll see what I can do.  Maybe you need a pecan-topped brownie or some strawberry cheesecake.”
I’m not entirely joking about the food.
Anyway, we are real human beings with real pain and real needs.  We need to be real for each other.
       I’ve found the best cure for my own self-pity is to look toward others, not so much for sympathy as for perspective and distraction.  Maybe I can be an ear for someone else, maybe I can ease their pain somehow.  That’s the idea behind the question, “Who are you crying for?”  But if the answer is, “Me,” don’t trip on it.  You’re only human, after all.

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Did you know that Kaleesha has written a book? – Free To Be by Kaleesha Williams is available at Amazon in Kindle or paperback versions and can also be ordered through her website!

Read everything by Kaleesha Williams

Kaleesha Williams accomplishes her musing, writing, and goat-wrangling
in rural southeastern Missouri–that is, when she has time between
homeschooling and adoring her seven children, gardening, making goat
milk soap, planning projects with Denny, and trying to get her
sourdough English muffins to cook up properly.

Kaleesha has been blogging for over ten years and has written for
various farming and astronomy magazines.  You can check out her newest
book, “Free to Be:  How I Went From Unhappily Married Conservative
Bible Believer to Happily Divorced Atheistic Humanist In One Year and
Several Complicated Steps” at her website, www.kaleeshawilliams.com.
You can also keep up with her on Facebook.

The Spiritual Abuse Survivors Network

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Friend

    Kaleesha’s solution—a hug, a phone number, an invitation to get together—is just wonderful. “I’ll pray for you” and secular equivalents (“I’ll be thinking about you” and “Stay in touch”) can sometimes be code for “Let me outta here.” Regardless of our beliefs, we need empathy, compassion, generosity, and depth—as well as time and a listening ear.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I’ve come to believe that the term “self-pity” doesn’t refer to anything real: Abusers just use the phrase to mock and invalidate their victims’ pain.

  • Friend

    Yeah, and it’s also a handy term to teach those who are suffering, so they can invalidate their own feelings in their spare time.

  • Except when it’s not.
    .
    Oh, I’ll admit that I’m not the world’s greatest when it comes to being able to actually *help* people, but I do think about those I care about, and I do worry about them and want the best for them. I’m just not always able to actually *help* in such tangible ways. And it sucks. It really sucks.
    .
    I agree that people need things like empathy and compassion and time from those around them no matter WHAT their beliefs may be, or may not be, and I agree that sometimes people just don’t want to put that much effort into others. They want a script that allows them to speak coded phrases that have no meaning so that they don’t have to actually *invest* in anyone. It’s heartbreaking, really.

  • Friend

    You’re right, there is a difference between offering good wishes and actually meaning them—but I think most people in a crisis can tell who cares deeply. That care, even in absence, is strengthening.

    Maybe the most important thing is having just one or two folks to call any hour of the day or night. That offer can turn off a lot of the endless “what-if what-if what-if” that goes through the mind of a person in crisis.

    This wasn’t exactly a crisis, but it sure felt like one: I got sick during a day trip and had to spend the night out of state. My neighbor the big Marine went into my house and faced down my dog, the world’s most insane miniature pinscher. Somehow he wrestled the leash onto Mr. Batsh*t and took him out into the yard. I was infinitely grateful.