Ebbs and flows

Depression, for me, is a combination of apathy and self hate. It is a dwelling upon singular instances that become my entire existence. It is an amplification of every negativity I have ever been the perpetrator of or perceived myself as being responsible for. It is the reaching out of the past grabbing me in the present. It is the crushing weight of my perceived failures when, really, they were all simply lessons I had to learn.

Time seems to ebb and flow like waves gently rolling in to a sandy beach on a sunny day. Other days it passes by in a blur, so fast it is gone in a flash. Sometimes, it seems to fold in upon itself as the past reaches out to grab the present, intending to influence the future.

Some people like time is a linear line that goes straight forward from point A to B. They have a set plan for everything they do, not realizing that only works until life throws a curveball and sets you off the predicted trajectory. Some people get stuck on a singular moment in their lives, forgetting to live the moment they are in now. They lose all the opportunities that come to them in their grief, in their shock, in the longing for a reality that no longer exists. Yet others seem to treat time like a joke. Its nuances and expectations hold no interest for them. They live only in the moment, never planning a single thing, never moving forward, never remembering a lesson learned.

Most people experience a little of all these different aspects of time. They plan for the future. They live in the moment from time to time. They grieve over a loss they suffered occasionally. All of those things are normal. It is only when one gets focused on just the one aspect of an incredibly intricate series of events that become a life story that they stop living.

Death becomes an escape from the sheer monotony of one’s apathetic existence. It seems to be the only road left to walk on when the darkness shallows you whole. The demons that live inside rejoice when the inclination to live, to love, to allow that you are worth loving, to grow, to change, to Be ceases to be. They proclaim the only relief to be found is in the arms of death. They assure me that it will be a relief for everyone else in my life too. They will finally be free of suffering me.

I have learned over time that life goes on. Whatever is crushing us in this moment will one day become a bearable memory some day, if only we have the strength to continue. That strength doesn’t come just from oneself. It comes from the friends that are with you through it all. It comes from the family you were lucky enough to either be born to or have built yourself. It comes from faith and hope. 

Time waits for no one. It marches on even when the world is ending and you don’t think you will ever breathe the same again. It goes on even when there is not a shred of light in your life. It keeps going when the most horrendous things happen. Change is not a deterrent for time. It is simply the result of times passing. Time passes by stagnation as easily as it passes by entropy. 

It doesn’t matter what life you live or who you are. There is one truth that gives me strength and I hope it will give hope to anyone else suffering from heartbreak or depression.

Life is change. This too will pass. I promise.

Bombing…

Bombing, bombing everywhere
Kill them all, instill fear
In the name of God, you say?
When you were all killers anyway

I weep for you, victims of this blight
I weep for you, who lose your light
I weep for you, who lost it all
I weep for you, whose futures were stolen

You who say this is in the way of God
You are the very evil you speak of
Satan, devil, devil spawn
Live inside you in your own form

These lives you keep taking so lightly
The joy you keep erasing so blithely
The rivers of blood, all the youth dead
They aren’t enough to pacify your rage

The world isn’t at fault, it is You
The innocents you killed deserved so much better than you
The homes you destroyed, the lives you ended
They will never return, their souls forever cursing you

Hell to the unbelievers you say
Hell to the inhuman heathens you are I say
My religion is the Way of Peace, not your bastard faith
I hate you for sullying the name of God this way

Bombing won’t get you anywhere
It won’t land you in Heaven, I swear
But understand that Muslims everywhere
Despise you, wishing ruin on your prayers

To all of you who don’t think your pain I can imagine
Know that these people have killed my people too
They don’t care for the value of life or their own principles
They have no idea what real Muslims do

We must suffer for the actions of these unschooled fanatics
These thugs and criminals wearing the face of Islam
But know that you cannot hate them as much as I
For the many lives destroyed in the name of my God

I weep for the loss of the innocent
I weep for the loss of human potential
I weep for the loss of families
I weep most for the loss of humanity

A Second Cup, A Second Chance

Of second chances and coffee, and the different sides of human nature.

Many Houstonians may be unaware of this but Houston, and Texas in general, is the largest center for human trafficking in the States. Why am I bringing this up today? I suppose it might be because I know what it is like to be thought of as property and an investment rather than a person and a human being. 

Thankfully, I do not carry the scars of the molested and the raped and enslaved. But I know people who do. As a woman and as a human, the thought that somewhere near me at this very moment many people are being treated like cattle for sale, as though they carry no thoughts of their own, as though their lives and their stories do not matter and they exist only to please their sick masters…it makes my blood boil.

I imagine myself or my loved ones helpless, held captive, taken somewhere strange, used and abused by my jailors and their customers. I imagine the loss of hope and the embrace of the dark despair that resides in every soul as it holds tight and refuses to let mrgo, much like the horrible excuses for human beings subjecting me to that torture. I imagine being a pet, or less than a pet, kept barely alive and unaware of where I am, eventually forgetting everything from Before and forcing myself into believing I was willingly involved in this just to keep my sanity. I imagine being grateful for any morsel thrown my way. I imagine wanting death over life. I imagine giving up. 

I imagine all this and am grateful that I am not in that position. To all of you who have been through this inhumane ordeal, I do not know the scars you carry but I do know that if you were strong enough to survive it all, someday you will be strong enough not only to survive but to thrive. There are many people out there who can and do exploit others for their greed, their malice, their petty pride. On the other end of the spectrum,however, are people who cannot understand why anyone would be so horrible to another human being. They simply want to help heal. Some of them have been through what you went through or are going through. I know that it isn’t easy to accept help or trust in the words of a stranger, but the other side of humanity does exist. Some day, you will come to know that. Until then, there are places for you to go and find solace. I visited one of these locations recently and received comfort of my own.

Unimpressive from the outside, “A Second Cup” is a cafe run by volunteers who do everything from make coffee and food to clean, trying to help survivors of human trafficking with all the proceeds from sales. In addition, they help spread the word that help is out there; an entire wall is dedicated to groups that help everyone from young children to adults.

Comfort is evident in the many colors, both bright and mute, the couches and tables placed meticulously in a spacious room. Even the bathroom door has words of encouragement. Another feature that isn’t common in other cafes is that they have a fully functional shower. For those feeling threatened or those who haven recently been  rescued, this is a huge source of comfort. Knowing there is somewhere you can go and just relax after the constant hostility of survival in a brutal environment is the greatest feeling of all. 

Some of the volunteers at the cafe are survivors themselves who have gathered enough courage to help others. To top it all off, they make great coffee as evidenced in the picture below. May I say that it was delicious enough that I am still thinking about it more than a week later…

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Hazelnut Latte, yummy!

A Second Cup is tangible evidence that second chances do come around and that you can and should take advantage of them. 

Not only was the experience refreshing, it left a lasting impression on me. If any of you are ever in the Houston area, be sure and stop by Second Cup. Maybe someday, somewhere, someone else will help you with your second chance too!