Welcome. You are about to enter my world. I hope you are mentally prepared to find out the things about me that I’m about to reveal to you. Im opening a can of worms that has been shut tight for many years. I’ve always been very guarded so imagine the stench of all my secrets. I decided to let it all out so at the end of this, I might be digging up a hole in the earth to hide forever in shame. People say they love me but they have strange ways of showing it. Which is why I haven’t let anyone in since my mom died and I became a daughter of the system. I have a fort, a bubble, a shell, whatever you want to call it, its my own little world. A safe city that I have created in my brain and deep inside my heart that makes me untouchable and unreachable. I wake up at 5:30am just so I can bathe in peace. It’s impossible because my brain just wont shut up, especially when I am alone. I submerge my entire head in the water just to make it stop. The sound of water is so soothing. It quiets my soul and I finally hear nothing. Not breathing feels good and not feeling anything is amazing. Can I please just stay here, I ask Him. I hear Him say, “You already know the answer to that question”. I get my head out of the water and gasp for air. I take a few deep breaths and close my eyes and say: “Lord, Help me”.
I turn on the ignition of my car and off to work I go. My name is Constance. The irony of the name. It means constant, steady, grounded. The total opposite of how I feel most of my days. I feel hopeless, empty and constantly spinning out of control but when people ask me how I feel, I suck it all up and turn into Tony The Tiger: I say, “Im greeeeeat!”. What I really want to say is “F my life and F you too!” (Sorry Lord). I’m really good at painting a nice smile on my face. I wish I can just say that sometimes it hurts to be alive and that everything I do hurts. Granted, I have been blessed. Yes, I have found true love in the man I married. I do have two wonderful children. But smiling, small talk, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, doing endless piles of laundry, babysitting during Sunday school, typing memos, pretending that I am happy, it all feels like a lot. But I can’t say that because I’m involved in ministry, people depend on me and my good mood. What would they say if I start to cry over my sandwich, if I flip over a table or send my boss to hell. They would only judge what they see with their carnal eyes. I give all of me all the time even though I get so little back. Everyday I fight with these negative voices I hear in my head. Sometimes the fight is so constant that I feel the tiredness not only internally but also in my physical body.
I arrive at the office before anyone else and take off what feels like hundreds of layers. I dread the winter every single year and every year I plan to move down south but it never happens. I plop myself down in my desk chair with my coffee in one hand and with the other I open the Outlook icon. I’m reading my emails while I feel this heavy sad hole in my soul. Ephesians chapter 4 says; “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God”…and that is exactly what I have done. I feel like garbage. I have let down the God that gave me everything and all I give Him is complaints. Why can’t I just tell Him that I love Him and I miss Him. A knot starts to form in my throat, my face feels warm, my eyes begin to water and… “Good morning Constance! How are you doing today?”. “Hey! Good morning, Im good!” I answered, smiled and lied (sorry Lord). I missed my calling, I should’ve been an actress. Here comes my boss with a stack of resumes of new hires in her hand and grabs another chair to sit next to me. We tackle our Human Resources duties in a couple of hours then its time for lunch.
At the office lounge I eat quietly while I hear all the conversations about parties outside the office, hangovers, gossip about the people in neighboring offices and so on. I am so quiet that many times people forget that I am here. I don’t mind, Im used to being invisible. People forget about me so often that they always end up saying more than they should in my presence, unintentionally revealing a lot about the kind of person they are. That can be good and bad. Not being a talker has allowed me to be a good listener and an expert observer down to the smallest detail. I can read my co-worker Pearl when she has started her day on the wrong foot. I can tell by the tone of her “Good morning”, by the dragging of her feet, by her facial expression, by the way she puts down her bag on her desk. I missed my calling again, I would’ve been an awesome detective. Pearl respects that Im a die hard Christian and she always defends me when other co-workers mock me because I don’t party or drink. She comes to me for advice when she’s having trouble with her marriage. I listen attentively and in the end I offer to pray for her situation. She thanks me and expresses what a great person I am. It’s my responsibility to be a light, to keep a good testimony and be a witness of God’s love to those around me. I don’t take this lightly but I’m human and I secretly struggle to love my life. In public I shine but in secret I drown.
I am constantly surrounded by people yet I'm incredibly lonely. Its my own fault for keeping this wall up. I let no one in because plain and simple: Im cynical. In my eyes everyone will eventually hurt me. People say one thing and do another, they say they won’t hurt you today and hurt you the next day. I had to build this place to be safe and protect myself from all that pain. I know this place isn’t real but it keeps me going. From the outside you can see my smile, my success at work, my beautiful family, my growing ministry and my squeaky clean reputation. What you can’t see its the amount of insecurity I carry. The amount of scars from years ago that still bleed. The amount of angry words that I kept to myself and turned into hidden hatred. All the past years of abuse in foster homes, the many times being returned like an item. Many years being called a “useless piece of s***” have stuck to me like glue, it became my middle name and a strand of fiber in my being. God has cleansed me and delivered me from some of this but the path on this journey is long. My prayer is to be free but I also have this stubborn need to be perfect, always smile, be supermom, be the good wife, the savior, the employee of the year. Sometimes the old habits rule more than God’s love but I don’t want people to see me that way. I need to cover up all of my mess so that I can be loved and wanted.