Growing up I was a very angry child, I was angry at the world, myself, my family and God. I had no outlet for my anger that was appropriate so I lashed out at whatever I could. I destroyed play stations and controllers left and right, I punched holes in walls and I screamed, I cursed, I fought with my siblings and others. I was angry because of how I was treated; I was angry that I got bullied for being small, I was angry that my stepfather screamed at me drunk every night and called me worthless. By the age of 16, I genuinely hated the world and wished everyone dead. To me back then God was someone to blame, he never showed up to protect me when I needed it and I resented him for that. I hate police officers because when I called 911 to help me, they didn’t do anything. They were supposed to stand for something and they didn’t. They failed me, and I still hold great disdain for any law enforcement because of it. I was just a scared child who wanted to be protected, I deserved that at least right? To not fear the night, to not fear for my life, my sanity?
I harbored that anger and resentments for many years, and every time I felt weak and unprotected it only served to further these things. So, when I became an adult, it was my motivating factor to enlist in the army. I could make something of myself, I could become strong and protect those who couldn’t protect themselves unlike those worthless police officers. The cherry on top for me was dying in combat, but my main goal was to make a difference then die. I had such mixed emotions back then, on one hand I wanted to die because I was tired of suffering. On the other hand, I saw so much suffering I hated it and wanted to change the world or change something. Before I enlisted, I went through a phase of self-harm because my traumatized brain thought that was a good way to feel my anger healthily. I cut myself, I threw myself down the stairs, and one night I burned myself. I put 2 burn marks into my forearms just to feel something and the scars served as a constant reminder of where I was, where I've been. That was the first time I realized how destructive my anger had become and how powerful my pain was that I was willing to self-harm. I tried killing myself with sleeping pills, booze, and once even hanging myself over these past 10 years. God my higher power however had different plans for me.
In the army it only made my anger worse, fueled by alcoholism and ego run riot. I was put into a psych ward when I was 20 for threatening to burn my unit to the ground. Once again, I saw my leaders as people who failed me and I was sick of it. In those days my anger was seething, I could feel it burning me, and I would have moments of blackout rage. I left the psych ward after having been diagnosed with GAD, and was put into mental health services. I had to attend a 30-day anger management course and a class about dealing with my emotions. I learned a great deal and started to see my anger for what it was, it was there to protect me when I was hurt when I felt violated. My anger can help me if I let it, but I can't let it take over. It tells me to put up a boundary and if a boundary is violated to let that person know. I wasn’t listening to it before; I wasn’t ready to listen to it. It was just this blob of chaos I had no idea how to manage until I was taught how. Dealing with my resentments however took a much higher price to be paid.
At 21 I found myself in the army rehab for alcohol and substance abuse. I learned why I drank and what it was doing to me. I was forced to examine my childhood and see how my drinking stemmed from my hurts and my pains. How the disease affected my family and me as a whole. I become aware of a problem, but I never did anything to work on it. I wasn’t ready, and I held on to those resentments another 5 years. My story is one of many chapters that weren't ready to end because I chose to leave them open. When I found God, my higher power, again through the program and my sobriety I began closing the book, and turning the page. For so many years my anger and resentments kept me in a state of limbo, unable to move forward and perpetually stuck in the past. God had opened many doors in those years, but I was so lost in my pain that I didn’t notice some of them were closing all around me. Instead, I was fixated on the same damn doors in front of me that I could not bring myself to close. My truth is and always has been I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t ready for the love God had for me, I wasn’t ready to move on and accept my past.
God, my higher power, was leading me the whole time regardless. He put me in the places where a spark of hope could be found, and it planted a seed. Even if I didn’t know it back then, God was always watering that seed, patiently waiting for it to sprout and bloom. That anger and resentment burned a hole in my heart that I never thought could be healed. God healed my hurt, he filled in the spaces of that darkness with overwhelming light and love. I saw myself as a person beyond redemption but God showed me grace and mercy enough to last me a lifetime. Then it came my time to do the same to the people in my life for my resentments, and I was terrified of writing my inventory. I did it, I did the best I could over 5 days and I wrote out everything I had been hiding and holding on to. I was so exhausted mentally and emotionally, but spiritually I felt free. God had allowed me to lay down the hammer, lay down the anger, lay down the resentment and then said it's over, that’s not your pain to own anymore. Then he pointed to a shining piece of armor in the corner and said put it on, that’s yours to wear now. Overtime God has equipped me with the power, the strength and the defense to carry out his will and to save my own life. Next, he handed me a shield and said protect those you wanted to protect and be there to help them weather their storms. Lastly, he handed me a sword, or in this case a pen, and said now go out and cut down what blocks your path, be the sword to cut down those same roots, broken branches and thorns that are in others paths along the way. What grew from an angry, confused and hurt child was a large oak tree that God had planted many years ago. He turned my overwhelming anger into a desire to protect, just like my anger had protected me. He turned my resentments that kept me stuck in thorns, into a sword to pave the way forward for myself and others.
So, I pray for this, that we choose to seek out our truths in our lives in order to become the most authentic version of ourselves. I pray that God uses your stories and experiences and transforms them into what you need most, and to help others achieve the same. I pray that he gives you the tools to move forward in your life in whatever way that looks like. I pray that God helps you look past the pain, and the hurt to see a life worth living. Because me? I'm so very grateful to still be alive, and to no longer have a hole in my heart.
With Much Love,