I know how you looked in the mirror the moment you woke up and the pain flooded in.
I know exactly how you felt.
Saw you lean in close to the bathroom mirror, almost could hear you whisper “God, please help..”
I know you felt disappointed with your reflection, seeing an image unchanged from yesterday. That everything you picked apart, everything you loathed, still remained.
I know you felt the moments slip by so fast. Knowing that church would begin only an hour hence and that hair wasn’t really working.
Your stomach was sticking out, your blouse felt too tight and you wished you had been born with the instinctive flare for fashion that all the pretty people seem to have.
Oh, those people — yes, to be one of the beautiful ones.
For the hundredth time this morning, I could hear you say “why cant i just feel ok?! Please help, God!”
It wasn’t all about looks. Maybe barely about that at all. It was just about, being a little bit broken today..am I right?
You pulled on your boots.
I know the dread and fear and anxiety had slowed your hands, and I know the tears were welling up.
But I also know you walked out of your bedroom and down the stairs.
I want you to know, that was brave.
I know it took so much..so much.
In the car, the knot of fear began to tighten at your throat, I know it did.
For the sake of your car mate, you probably struggled through normal conversation and fought against pulling down the mirror, knowing it was invitation for devastation.
It didn’t matter, even without the mirror the thoughts began again, didn’t they?
I saw it all cross your face.
The patchy morning sunlight through the windows, illuminating it all.
Fear, pain, hate..as the old tape began to play.
“You are a fraud. They don’t really like you. They see your scars, see your pimples, your thinning hair, your widening waistline. They know you don’t have it together, don’t know how to be trendy. That you might say things wrong. Or embarrass yourself. They know. They talk to you out of pity. When you walk away.. you’ll wonder what they think..”
And on and on the words go.
Crying now, and you likely see him look at you.
You know you seem crazy but the words to explain, they just don’t come out.
A million words inside but all that comes out is “please just drive. I can’t. I can’t go in. Please.”
It’s new for him. New for you.
Who knows how the panic and anxiety attacks started?
It isn’t his fault.
But it isn’t yours either.
Now I bet the tension builds.
A new dance within that car.
Your fear and guilt.
Guilt causes you to say “Ok. Drive back”
He does. He parks. You make it ten steps and say “I can’t. I can’t go in there. I’m not..enough. Not good enough. Please. I just. I need the keys.”
He leaves too.
And now I know you struggle more.
Guilt and the anxiety love a good fight.
They duke it out to see who is the strongest. Who gets to take you down.
Reason. Logic. Lost.
The fears may not be justified but they are real.
Reason may be lost but the physical manifestation of panic is completely present and accounted for.
If your heart would stop racing, you could tell him you were sorry. But it doesn’t stop, so angry sobs fill the car.
Angry at yourself mostly, I’ll bet.
For needing more.
You are the last person you think deserves anything and yet you need more.
You need kindness.
You need grace.
You don’t want to be told, “you are perfect. Just go. It’ll be great. Don’t ruin this for everyone.”
No. You need more.
You need love to see you.
To hear everything you can’t say right now.
You need someone to say “Hey. You tried. Thank you. I know you can’t control this. We can go. It’s ok. Let me pray for you. It’s ok to cry. You cry and breathe, I’ll drive and pray..alright? This isn’t a big deal. Let’s talk about something good. That’s over, that’s good. You’re good. You’re ok. Let’s talk about something beautiful.”
Or maybe what you needed, was someone to write it out.
Maybe you needed someone to write something that started with “..I saw you today, in case you thought your pain is unseen – it isn’t..”
And so I just did.
And if it helps, maybe you won’t need to speak it. Maybe you just ask them to read the words right here.
And maybe they will get it.
Maybe they won’t.
But someone does.
Many of us do.
We get it.
I get it.
You’re good. You’re ok.
It doesn’t matter.
Let’s talk about something beautiful.