Just a Sappy Love Poem I Wrote

Two Hearts Beat as One

I reach up into the dimming dusk sky,
pluck out the nearly full moon,
pull it down and place it in my chest.
It replaces my heart—
a heart I give to you.
I hope you will be gentle with it,
set it next to yours,
let them beat and pulse in time together.
When you return it
I will put the moon back,
feel the warmth of your heart against my chest
and hope our hearts find each other again,
beat together forever.

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Roses and Thorns

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Roses are my favorite flower. I know it sounds cliché, but beyond the fact that I find them very beautiful, the symbolism attached to them is meaningful to me.

I love symbolism. I suppose that is the literary nerd in me coming out! One of the things I love about my religion is all the symbolism. I don’t always understand all of it, but the imagery is amazing, and again, the symbolism means something to me.

Roses can symbolize various things. Love and romance are probably the first thing that come to mind. In ancient times it meant secrecy and confidentiality to the Romans. In the Middle Ages a rose hung from the ceiling of a meeting room meant everyone in the room was sworn to secrecy. For me, it’s about the flower and the thorns. I love roses because of their beauty and because of the thorns. It’s like life. Life is full of thorns, of hurts, obstacles, suffering. Yet life is so beautiful as well. There is beauty and love everywhere, if you can just allow yourself to see it. And maybe, just maybe, the thorns are part of the beauty. Maybe we need them to truly be grateful for what we do have. That’s why I love roses, thorns and all, so much.

A World of Contradictions

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Life is interesting. And full of contradiction. Society claims they hate the news because it reports so much bad in the world. “We want good stories, happy stories, inspirational stories,” we all say. On the flip side everyone talks about how much they hate social media because it gives a false perception of people’s lives. Everyone posts happy things, like life is never bad. “Show us reality,” we say. “Not your fake happy smiles.” So which one is it? Good or bad? Positive or negative? Depressing or inspirational?

With my blog I’ve found that I get way more views when I post a depressing piece than a happy one. And the happy ones aren’t fake. I’m open and honest all of the time. I’m always me and I always show that. But my posts about hitting low points and showing ugly crying pictures of myself always get more views and more responses than posts about how I’m doing well or how I’m happy and haven’t been dealing with my mental illness.

I’m certainly grateful I’ve gotten such a positive response from readers, friends and neighbors during my difficult times. I’m grateful they have been there for me, prayed for me, loved me and not been scared away. It shows me that people are learning, caring and seeing past the stigma of mental illness that has been around for so long. But people—everyone, with or without mental illness—still need love and support even in the good times.

So we want happy, but we don’t want fake, but we don’t want depressing, but we only care if it’s depressing. And around and around we go. I have no judgments about whether this is right or wrong or makes sense or not. I just find it interesting because it does seem like a pattern of contradictions. Do I keep writing even if I’m happy or should I only share when I’m struggling? What are your thoughts?

A Vent

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I’ve recently been reminded of why I hate Facebook so much and why I got completely off of it (deleted my account) many years ago. People love using it to vomit their opinions in a passive-aggressive way that they claim is them doing what’s right, what their conscience demands of them, when really they just want everyone else to know that what they believe, whether politically, religiously, socially or personally is absolute truth and anyone who doesn’t believe the same is a pathetic low-life who deserves to be trampled under the refuse of guilt and shame. Now these people will act like they are all open-minded and they aren’t trying to be aggressive or make others feel bad, but I’m telling you—that’s bull*#@%! In my opinion. Insert smiling emoji now!

The truth is that you are making people feel bad, and you know it. You know you’re creating controversy, you know you’ll anger people, you know you’ll start a fight and you don’t care because YOU ARE RIGHT, and anyone who doesn’t agree with you is an idiot. My question is, why? Why do you care so much about what other people believe? Just because someone believes differently than you doesn’t mean they aren’t educated, it doesn’t mean they don’t care, it doesn’t mean they haven’t done any research themselves, and it certainly doesn’t mean they are wrong. Maybe they are actually more educated, care more and have done more research than you have. Maybe we’re just all different. And maybe that’s okay. So why start the conflict? Why not show love and compassion for EVERYONE instead?

I came across a scripture tonight while reading with my kids that I feel applies. In my religion as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we have a book of scripture called The Book of Mormon. In it we learn that, after Christ was resurrected, He visited people who lived in what is now the American continent. One of the very first things Christ taught the people was that contention is of the devil. In 3 Nephi chapter 11 verse 29 He says Satan is the one who, “stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.” In verse 30 Jesus continues, “Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.” Facebook, lately, has been full of people who want to “stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another.”

Now I completely understand being passionate about what you believe in and wanting to share that, but this contentious way is not the right way. I know because that’s the way I went about it when I was a young, arrogant girl at college. Thank goodness I grew up! And thank goodness I learned that using your passion in the wrong way doesn’t change minds, it doesn’t build up, it doesn’t include. It does the opposite. It hardens people, it cements their own opinions, it tears down, it excludes and it causes anger, which is not Christ’s way.

Facebook has been a great tool in getting the word out about my blog here. In fact that’s the only reason I even got back on it last summer. But lately I’ve been seriously considering deleting my account again because of all the people who use it in Satan’s way—as a tool to hurt and tear down others.

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I feel as though I’ve tried and done a reasonably good job of teaching my children that it’s okay when other people believe differently than we do. As a result, my kids have a pretty wide variety of friends religiously, politically, socially, personally. And the great example my kids give to me is that those differences don’t really matter. Kids don’t care about changing someone’s opinion. They talk about their differing opinions in a very brief and civil (sometimes funny) way, then they move on. They don’t fight about it, they just move on. Their passion is about friendship, not politics, not opinions. Friendship and love.

Thief of Joy

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Recently, I thought of a quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt. I heard it from the general primary president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at our last General Conference in October. It goes, “Comparison is the thief of all joy.” Perhaps the obvious meaning of the quote is that comparing what we have to what someone else has, always thinking this person or that person has it better, doesn’t make you happy—it only makes you miserable. I think there’s more to it than that.

Some of the most miserable people I know or have met are ones who think no one has suffered the way they have, people who get upset when someone else talks about their own trials or hardships. I recently heard a woman share her outrage that her sister had the audacity to complain about how hard her life was—because apparently her sister’s life isn’t as hard as hers. I guess that means she’s the only one who has the right to complain! She said her sister has no clue how hard her life is. Well, maybe this woman has no clue how hard her sister’s life is. This sort of attitude robs you of happiness because you are dwelling on your own negativity instead of being grateful for what you do have.

Also, one of my biggest pet peeves is to hear someone say, “I’ve been through things no one else can imagine,” or, “If anyone else had been given my trials they would have given up or just died.” Well, how do you know that? How do you know how much someone else has suffered or what kind of strength they have in them to endure? Thinking this way certainly doesn’t bring strength, and it certainly doesn’t bring happiness. Maybe this will sound judgmental, but that sort of attitude reflects egotism, in my opinion. Ego definitely stands in the way of happiness.

There’s one other way I’ve found this quote to be true. And that is when we compare our hardship to others—not in a I’ve-suffered-more-than-anyone-else sort of way. In a I-shouldn’t-feel-so-bad-because-other-people-have-it-worse-than-me sort of way. A friend from high school helped teach me this lesson. It was after the second time in high school that I almost took my own life. I told her I felt bad for feeling bad—because really I had a pretty good life. I was just depressed, but I knew I shouldn’t be because there was real suffering in the world, and I was blessed to live in a first world country. She told me I shouldn’t compare my problems to other people. She said something along the lines of, “Something that’s hard for you might not be hard for someone else, but what’s hard for someone else might be easy for you. We’re all individuals, and we’re all different.”

As I’ve grown, learned, developed I’ve gained a strong belief in God’s love for all of His children. We are all important to Him as individuals, and I truly believe that He cares just as much about me as he does anyone and everyone else in the world. He cares about my own individual struggles. He cares about yours. If we are that important to Him, there’s no need to compare ourselves. Doing so only steals joy from your life. I think most of us, as humans, are pretty good at being hard on ourselves anyway. If you have mental illness, on top of that, you are probably an absolute expert! Now, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to become one of those people who says no one else has it as hard as you do, but we all have emotions, and those emotions are real. It’s okay to feel them and even, at times, let them batter and bruise you. It’s about what you do after that counts. Are you going to stay down? Are you going to wallow in misery? Or are you going to say, “Yeah, I have problems, I have trials, I have difficulties, and they are real, but I can keep going. I will keep going, and I will be grateful for the blessings I do have.”

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If comparison is the thief of all joy, then perhaps acceptance is the giver of it. Being able to say that you are good enough, that you are of worth. It’s hard. Believe me, these days I don’t feel like I’m good enough—for anything or for anyone. And I have a hard time seeing my worth in a world that seems to be full of people who are so much more amazing and better than me. But there’s that comparison—it really doesn’t help. It only brings me down. I need to work on it. Maybe we all do. And if we did, maybe we’d be a happier people, a happier world.

Focusing on the Blessings

I was going to write down all of the bad things that have happened to me in the last few weeks. Perhaps it was about justification for why I am, and should be allowed, to be so depressed. Then I realized that doing so wouldn’t solve anything. It wouldn’t make me happy, but would, if anything, give these problems and difficulties more power over me.

Instead, I’m going to write down the blessings I have received through this hardship. That is what I should focus on because that, in all of this, is what really matters.

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First I want to write what a blessing my ward (a local, Latter-day Saint congregation) has been. I’ve never felt like I mattered as much as I do in this ward. I’ve never felt so loved or cared for in any other ward I’ve ever lived in. The people here have been absolutely amazing.

So many people—ward members, friends, near or far, family, acquaintances—have messaged, texted, called, commented to see how I’m doing and to offer encouragement and support.

Friends are a big blessing. I have one friend who has let me cry and vent to her about so many things. We were roommates in college, and she has stuck with me through all of my struggles. I know she sees me for who I really am, and I can always be myself with her. When depression and anxiety make it so hard to make and keep any kind of relationships, this has meant so much to me.

A close friend of mine who lives in another state sent her mom to bring me flowers. After having just gotten home from a traumatic experience getting the oil in my car changed, I broke down and just started crying. (I know it sounds stupid, but on top of everything else going on I had reached my breaking point.) My friend’s mom hugged me and told me she was a good listener and very bad at gossiping if I wanted to talk. I didn’t feel like I could at that point, but knew she was being genuine and honest, that if I did need to talk she would listen and not judge.

One night I was feeling particularly bad and felt like I need some company, that I shouldn’t be alone. I texted a friend and asked if she would be able to get a drink (as in a diet coke!) the next morning. She said she could, so the next morning we went for a walk where she listened to me, but didn’t pressure me to say anything I didn’t want to say. She then bought me a diet coke before we went to pick our kiddos up from kindergarten.

Another night when I was down I felt like hurting myself—because yes, that is still where my mind first goes when I’m that low. I had been texting a friend, and he could tell something was wrong. When I told him how I was feeling he kept texting me until I got to a place where I felt well enough and in control enough to know I wouldn’t hurt myself. I was incredibly grateful that he didn’t judge me or tell me it was stupid that a grown woman would want to do that. He just talked—or texted—me through it. Definite blessing.

Another blessing was a friend who brought lunch one day, then sat and talked with me—or more like listened to me. I sort of spilled all my guts to her about everything that’s happened the last few months. Yet again, I broke down and sobbed through much of it. She just listened and gave quiet encouragement and support. By the time she left that day the load I had been carrying for so long felt lighter. I felt more like I could keep going, that I could do this, than I had all week.

I have to mention some individuals in my ward, as well. My Relief Society president (the Relief Society is an organization of all the women in a ward) stopped by one day with some beautiful tulips that are in full bloom right now! She also came in and cleaned my kitchen for me. It was simple and quick yet made a huge difference.

The second counselor in the Relief Society presidency also dropped by one afternoon with pizza and some of my favorite breadsticks to have for dinner! Again, such a simple gesture, yet it meant so much.

A woman in my ward reached out to me, and I told her how Sundays were hard when my kids were at their dad’s. Despite having her own struggles right now, she invited me over for dinner with her family on Sunday. While there we discovered our birthdays are close together, so she and her mother-in-law told me I should go over to celebrate with all of them—have dinner and cake. Her mother-in-law doesn’t even know me! We had just met, and yet she was inviting me to her house for dinner and cake—chocolate cake! Sometimes I am amazed, saddened, shocked by all the bad in the world. So many horrible things happen, people do terrible things to each other, yet there is still so much good. The world is full of everyday people living simple lives full of love, kindness and service. What a blessing to be reminded of this!

All of the prayers and people who have put my name in the temple—I have felt it. It has made a difference.

I was thinking about how I didn’t feel as though I should be receiving so many blessings. It’s not because I think I’m worthless or anything like that. It’s much more complicated, but not something I feel I need to go into here. It just didn’t make sense to me. Then I realized that maybe it isn’t about me. Maybe it isn’t for me. Maybe it’s for the sources of all these blessings—the people who have done so many good things for me—giving them another opportunity to serve. Service is one of the best ways we can become like our Savior. It’s what He spent His life doing. When we serve we are following His example and coming closer to Him. No matter the reasons, whether there be any or not, I am extremely grateful. Blessings are definitely the more positive thing to focus on!