For many writers, the truth is hard to put into words. This Taos wordsmith is no exception. While it’s easy to hide behind a laptop and hammer out random musings, when issues hit too close to home the tension mounts, my heart races and sweat slowly runs down the back of my neck like lava from a volcano. It’s almost too much to bear.
In order to survive, yours truly can turn into a turtle—a hard-shelled reptile who only sticks out her head when the coast is clear of impending danger. If pain or hardship befalls me, my loved ones are well aware their friend will be missing in action for a while. For sure, I came to the conclusion years ago that whenever I experience fear, it makes more sense to keep quiet and stay inside my safe shell where only a few brave souls dare to tread. God bless those people. You know who you are and I love you for it.
I’ve been in my shell for a long while and many have noticed.
From caring Facebook messages to phone calls and texts, hundreds have expressed their love and concern for me, gently inquiring while refraining from bluntly asking, “What in the world is going on with you?!” This blog post will not be too lengthy, as I do try to keep my personal life private and I thank everyone for respecting that.
This past year my marriage of 18 years came to an end.
I am not immune to hardship and heartache and many have felt the sting of this type of disappointment as well. No one plans on getting divorced. When vows are taken and we walk through this life with a friend and spouse, we don’t anticipate parting, although we fully realize the statistics are not on our side. Still, most of us are insistent on defying the odds. But occasionally life just doesn’t play fair and we are blindsided by false truths and false feelings. Rather than scream, “I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore!” we begin to stuff everything inside while smiling on the exterior. From food to fantasy, from alcohol to deep-seated anger, we stuff so much inside that there’s no room for sane thinking, let alone time to contemplate our very existence. We simply smile through the tears and say, “Everything’s fine, just fine.” As Little Big Town’s song Sugar Coat implies, we put our makeup on, smile with a lump in our throat and tell ourselves that someday we’re going to take off all those fake trappings and burn them to the ground.
I get it.
This past year has been crushing for an artist who just happens to possess a candy-coated turtle shell. After all, Facebook makes everything look syrupy sweet, correct? But just like most sugary treats, if we don’t come clean after consuming large quantities, decay soon sets in and the holes in our story become too large to ignore.
As one who writes a personal blog and designs jewelry based on feelings of brokenness, I had no choice but to bear the truth bravely. For sure, ending a relationship is never easy, especially if one is married for a considerable amount of time. Couples rear families together, cry together, cheer on one another and even rejoice in God’s house together. But the fact remains, some hardships are simply insurmountable and exhaustion sets in to the point individuals can barely breathe. The silence becomes deafening and we allow our hearts to bleed in order to ensure there’s a small part still alive.
So what then?
If you’ve endured this kind of turmoil as well, I plead with you to turn to friends, your church, a therapist or all of the above. I chose the latter, for I know God has put many incredible people in my path for a reason. If you’re telling yourself, “I’ll never get over this,” dear one, let’s have hope together. But we must also be prepared: life will feel like a roller coaster gone rogue and we’ll beg God to let us to cash in our tickets and get a refund. Trust me, I’ve pleaded too many times to count. But each day the ride becomes more tolerable.
I feel confident you'll notice beautiful aspects of life that you may have totally missed before, as you were too busy just trying to survive.
At my age I was initially terrified of being alone, for fear I’d look at the New Mexican sunsets in quiet despair. But through lots of grief work, time with friends, and a harder look in the mirror at what Miss Angie wants and needs, (and yes, there’s a big difference) I’m learning to view my new life as one of freedom. It’s all a matter of perspective.
I’m feeling positive about 2020 for a variety of reasons. While life has drastically changed, I also see incredible beauty and acceptance as never before. That in itself is a special blessing that I dare not take lightly.
Just as a friend reminded recently, “Don’t ever say you gotta go to Plan B, Angie. Simply use your past to steer you towards a better Plan A.” No truer words. She also mentioned there’s a reason why a rearview mirror is so small and yet the windshield to look forward through is so large.
Again, a matter of perspective.
As a writer who hails from Kentucky, I was taught how coal is formed from an early age. Millions of years ago, plants and other life forms drifted down to the bottom of the swamps where they were compressed and decomposed to form peat. Coal was then formed due to the compression of the peat at extremely high temperatures and great pressure in the earth’s layers. But know this: coal will never become a diamond. It will not, for although it has carbon, it has lots of other impurities that prevent it from becoming a diamond.
So what forms those glistening diamonds in which we all admire? LOTS OF PRESSURE AND HEAT. So much that it can typically only be found 90 to 100 miles below the surface of the Earth. You may be asking, “If diamonds form so far below the surface of the earth, how do they end up on our fingers?” Actually, the process started millions of years ago when volcanic eruptions brought the diamonds closer the surface. Erosion, geological shifts, other earth -shattering processes scattered them to where they are now more easily found. They’re still not easy to spot and often cost a pretty penny, but after understanding how they were formed and rose to the surface, perhaps you’ll appreciate them a bit more.
That’s exactly how I plan to view my life and I hope you will too. We may have had to endure heat that burnt us to our core and felt pressure so strong we felt permanently crippled, but have hope sweet friends. Allow God to enter in and bring utter joy to your new life. Who knows, perhaps He’ll shake things up so much that you’ll rise to the surface and shine like never before. Together, let’s go, grow and glisten..
Brightest of Blessings,