Excerpt from Unpolished Journey

Unpolished Journey takes the reader through a raw and uncensored look at what recovery from an eating disorder, depression, and PTSD look like on a daily basis.  The book is a collection of journal entries spanning the course of six years where through poetry, short stories, prose, and a jumble of other thoughts in an honest portrayal of the realities of mental illness are unearthed.  

Release Date: December 2nd, 2019

02/08/16

At birth, every person in this world is a flawless slab of glass. Clear, smooth, a frame of translucency and fragility. But as we move through life, nicks, cracks, and sometimes even bullet holes mark up our glass, leaving areas damaged and dangerous. Dangerous, because it is a known fact that glass, when broken, cuts. Now, some people experience more cracks in their slab of glass than others. Some even come to a point in their lives where their entire slab is shattered and not a single crevice resembles the original flawless glass that their existence once was.  

People make cheesy statements about how “you have cracks so the light can shine in,” and “people who have more cracks are able to shine brighter.” Or the quote “she never seemed shattered. To me she was a breathtaking mosaic of battles she had won”. I can say that I agree with these cheesy quotes, not because I have seen them personally play out in my life, but because I have to believe in them in order to keep moving. Because the moment I stop and decide that my shattered piece of glass is just broken and will always be broken and there is no way to find beauty in it, I lose all hope in my pursuit of emotional healing. 

This doesn’t negate the fact that being a shattered slab of glass hurts. Sure, you can paint it in attempt to create a stunning stained glass window out of your brokenness that has ten times more light peeking through it than the person next to you who only has one little crack in her slab. But still it hurts to be a stunning stained glass window, to be cracked, to be a beautiful rendition of what was supposed to constitute the end of your existence. There is something incredibly powerful about rebuilding your slab to reinvent it from the pure, perfect existence it once was into a collection of nicks, cracks, and bullet holes that now are uniquely complex and direct reflections of your experiences. Still, we all know that broken glass cuts. So those of us who feel as though our past experiences have shattered parts, if not all of our existence, it is because we know that each movement hurts.  

The waters of our showers are acidic. The mattresses on which we sleep are lined with nails. The backpacks we walk to work with are loaded with five insanely heavy boulders. The days are hard. Arbitrary tasks become burdensome. Breathing becomes exhausting, but no one knows. Because to everyone around, we are a beautiful mosaic of strength. We are overcomers and survivors caked in resilience. The pain is in the space between the mosaic pieces—the cracks whose edges are marked by sharp shards of blood and tears. Those are the parts that cut at the light streaming in; those are the parts that leave us hurting. But those are the parts that become a beacon of hope to everyone else.  

There is a reason why we search for emotional healing, whether from past traumas or mental illnesses such as an eating disorder, or depression, or anxiety, or tragic losses, or chronic illness, or anything in between. There is a reason why it is the very nature of humanity to create, fix, render, and grow—we want to understand the meaning of all this pain. We want to understand why some of us have more cracks than others. We want to make sense of it all. So we take those cracks, and reframe their meaning. They are the spaces where light shines through. They are the spaces that act as the foundations for mosaics and stained glass windows created from our pain. And somehow, the reframing of the brokenness makes it all bearable. It makes the acidic showers, nail-lined mattresses, and boulders on our backs somehow less painful. It makes all of this hurt we have endured worth it, to have someone else look at our glass and think it is beautiful.

 

03/12/17

It’s like walking through a minefield after the battle is all said and done. The guns have stopped firing, the cannons have all been shot, and only you are left standing. As you begin to walk around, you come to the realization that each casualty is staring back at you with a familiar face. There are dozens of pairs, glazed over, crystalized, frozen staring into a warzone aftermath. Only after surveying face after face, do you come to the startling realization that you had been aiming at yourself this entire time. Each pair of eyes staring up at you was a pair of your own. But, if they were all dead and they were all replicas of you, then how was it that you were still standing? The you is me, and this me is left untouched. 

We can live a million lives, be shot down a hundred times, and still walk out of the war unscathed, because no human weapon can kill a soul. The soul will always remain your own because it is guarded by the very hand of God.