I ask myself that question so frequently. And It continually appears, most likely because I repeatedly struggle to understand the way some people are.
I’m open to understanding them. I want to understand why they are that way and work on forgiving them. But, at times, it can be so, so hard.
The people I’m thinking of are those who have often been my enemies; the condescending, mean, one-sided, nippy, ignorant, accepted ones. And yes- accepted. I envy how their whole lives have been filled with an abundance of acceptance; because they like the popular toxic things, because they’re hateful and judgemental. There’s more of them than there are of people like me, and that often equals unfairness; since majority usually wins, right?
Yet, then there’s the hypocrisy I speak: Haven’t I been hateful before? I’ve certainly been judgemental. So, are we more alike than I often presume otherwise? Yes, and that’s why allowances are needed in order for us to be fair and kind. They can be like “us” and we can be like them.
Mutable. Humans; you and I, are more than ‘this’ or ‘that’.
So, we are able to look within ourselves and see that we possess qualities we don’t like, and realise that we are just like those we tend to point at.
I plead with you, and myself, to make a habit of this more: to look within before judging.
Everyone does bad things: we would do well to remember that from a different point of view; we are their enemies too.
I thought about it this morning: How anger controls the person using it.
Throughout history, many have attempted to harness anger, yet they always fail. Anger is uncontrollable when you get to the upper echelons of anger. The arrogance involved in trying to harness anger is generated by a fatalistic choice for the easiest solution; push my way through. Those that lead with anger may be feel empowered by the anger they release, drawing from it as a source of presentable confidence. Though, when they cannot control it, it reveals its true nature, turning on the wielder. How do we engage using anger? By choosing to. If we do not choose to use anger then how can it ever be our enemy? Though, it will, despite our decisions. Everyone who exists, exhibits anger, therefore everyone at one point or another is conquered by it.
In my own experience I have used anger often as a child to control my environment. Not getting what I want? Anger. Not winning? Anger. Being unable to accept criticism? Anger. My point is, when anger is your answer to an issue; You do not resolve it. You only bring anger into the issue, possibly firing up the issue into an even bigger one. At times, anger feels as if it can work, but in my opinion; it is an illusion.
Fighting wars for example, what ALWAYS happens? PTSD and Guilt. To kill another is to harm yourself. If people were always viewed as people within wars, armies wouldn’t exist and neither would the wars.
A lot of people experience loneliness in my generation, and it’s ironic because we don’t need to send letters that take ages to arrive any-more. Objectively, we can be pretty lazy, but that doesn’t mean we’re all failures in this generation. Truly, every generation has failed in some way, sometimes through ignorance, sometimes hate and bigotry. We’ve all done bad things. From the beginning of time we’ve all failed in many ways. We’ve failed to realise our dreams, aspirations, expectations… we’ve all failed miserably. That’s a sort of motivation: Everyone who has ever existed, has failed. We’ve all failed our families and friends, we’ve lacked the things we needed to succeed, but then gained them through failure. That is a point; how are we to truly learn, if we never reflect on our mistakes? We have so much in common with the people of the past. Sure, some folks in the past have been horrible but that just shows us that we’re not the first to mess up and be horrible.
Just imagine the scene of every possible death of the past 2000 years… what have we all done? We have all, done all. We have died hating each other and also loving each other. We have died to ourselves, our morals and values. Sometimes we reassess ourselves after it happens but sometimes we don’t; sometimes we arrogantly believe that we are in the right. That is humanity’s greatest enemy. We must practice self reflection and repentance if we are to improve on the past. Think about it, what if you lived your whole life, were about to draw that last breath and then…you realise; I was wrong. How could I have done that? How could I act that way? Is that me? What was I doing?? Peace in death is hard to come by, peace after death is a guarantee if you’re going to heaven and not hell. To get there, you believe in Jesus. I encourage you to do that. Peace right before death is a rarity and I don’t think we can prevent that. We should learn to accept that. To chase control is a fools attempt at peace. In conclusion I’d like to say: Acceptance and understanding lead to peace, not control.
I haven’t posted since January so I thought I’d give a wee update.
I’m doing okay, corona lockdown has been going on in the UK for a bit and I’ve been using that time to spend time with friends and write stuff offline. Read books too. I’m reading through Ephesians in the Bible again and I read 1984 by George Orwell recently, I’m now on to Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Marukami. Practicing Keyboard has went well, I learned quite a few songs and I’m getting more natural at pressing keys. My animals have been alright, my little dog was very quiet for a few days and we we’re kinda worried about him. He seems to be back to his normal self. For the first time during the Covid Lockdown I’m going outside for a walk with the dogs. It’s sunny today so it’ll be a decent jaunt; hopefully no mud.
So I’ve not posted in a while and I’d just like to say I’m still continuing stuff on here, I was taking a break from trying to do so many things at once. Don’t think I’ll make any new videos on Youtube for a while now, lost the liking for it. I prefer writing. Oh and I begun a new story, it doesn’t have a name yet but it’s inspired by the lamp post outside my window and that’s all I’ll say.
Been nice to do a little update, thanks for reading and God be with you all.
I can’t do it alone. Live, that is. I need God and I need people. I need advice and I need kind words. I need things outwith myself, and that’s hard for me to accept at times. I wish away alot of things, that I didn’t need to eat to survive; that I didn’t have to experience hot and cold weather; or dry mouths and mucuos’y windpipes. Yet wishful thinking does nothing. Your thoughts can change you, but your thoughts alone cannot change reality. If thoughts alone could do, then we wouldn’t have books or schools. We spend pretty much all of our lives learning how to keep information in our brains and then figuring out how to get it back out, onto paper.
Not just I, but WE cannot do it alone. I’ve watched tons of films and shows and one of the most common plot points involves someone trying to do everything on their own. Through a survivor of the zombie apocalypse or as a single mum.
We need help. We all need help. To deny that is to neglect ourselves.
“Where did you go? Remember when we were little? You were so funny, you were so alive. Where did you go; did I tell you to go? Is that why you went? Did I say “I don’t need you” and throw you away? My first friend was you wasn’t it? There was a time when I told you to go, wasn’t there? Why do I forget that moment, yet feel the memory?”
“Are you here right now? What do you think?”
“It’s scary but maybe we can do it”
“I don’t know… don’t you want to escape too?”
“Yes I do, but what if we don’t belong there either?”
So, I decided to make this post due to a habit I have that I want to address. I seek to please others; often disregarding my own health.
I anxiously avoid disappointing anyone, constantly.
I feel extreme shame and guilt for being absent from an event I’ve been invited to. I hate to say no. I like helping and supporting people (I always will) but I can’t do everything. I really should be admitting to that instead of guilt tripping myself for not being there for everyone.
Shame is a very strong feeling and I feel it way too much.
I feel it most when:
I let someone down because I don’t attend something they think I should go to.
Someone is disappointed in me because I don’t do what they want me to do.
That’s when it comes shooting in, right through my body and soul. I start thinking: “I should feel horrible because I let down their expectations”.
Truly though, just because someone has expectations for me doesn’t mean I should reach them. I’m not condemning people who do this. I want to say: it hurts us both. Let go. My life is not your life. I understand the empathy and I thank you for that but don’t make me feel bad for ignoring what you want me to do.
There’s a line that people cross alot: the line of Care vs Manipulation.
Caring is a great thing but when you cross that line and it morphs into manipulation? Stop. They can make mistakes and you can watch. That’s healthy. Judging everything someone does and meanly inserting your own strategy into the situation? That’s abuse. You may know the best course of action if it was you, but you aren’t living their life; how can you sit there and act like you know what living their life is like?
What is freedom if we cannot make our own choices without feeling awful about it? Constantly afraid of the expectations of others? We tend to judge people all the time and I’m not saying that you’ve to be perfect or never judge again. I’m saying: Don’t let it cross that line.
I’d rather write this in my physical journal but I don’t tend to do posts on mobile and I’d like to. I tell myself alot that I can only post if it’s refined and extremely checked over but it’ll be healthy that I just post something very raw and this is going to be one of them.
So what’s on my mind? Someone fell downstairs today and it was the first thing I heard when I woke up. I thought about how strange it is that accidents happen all the time and later on I was listening to a podcast and the guy had the same thought. He was talking about transportation accidents. I’m learning how to drive and it’s a scary thing to learn when it’s a fact that most deaths are by car, I mean; what if that’s going to be me at some point?
Anyway, it’s night time, this doesn’t seem good enough to post and I’m tired BUT I will post it anyway. Take care. Read a book before bed, it helps me sleep so it’ll probably help you? Bye bye
I’m afraid to do this one but just like the title of a book I read last year, I will “Face the Fear and Do it Anyway”.
I was talking with a friend today and the conversation encouraged me to regain my focus on what I want to do.
What I want to do is live, improve and cease dwelling on the past. I want to be an amazing writer. I want to drive. I want to learn more, I want to trust God’s plans for my life.
My friend told me a story about how he didn’t want a job he was offered; he thought he would hate it, that it would be pointless. He took that job and years later loves that job. He got 2 degrees and makes enough money to support his family and more. Y’ see, Fear is seductive in telling us that the opportunities we are offered are not good enough for us. If someone told me that they got me a season ticket for all the Rangers FC games next year I’d probably give it to someone else.
“Football isn’t *my* thing, why would I want to watch that?” I would say.
Our arrogance prevents us from discovering people, hobbies and items that we may love further down the line. God, the bible, church and all that was that kinda thing for me, “Church? I’m terrible at socialising, nobody likes me and I’ll never be good enough for God” Look where I am now: I now know a lot of the people in my church, I socialize pretty well and people DO like me. Yet back then I thought I knew the outcome.
We don’t know everything and it’s a scary fact for me to face that we aren’t all-knowing like God is. From our perspectives, things are most certainly “this or that, right or wrong”. Though honestly, do we have the cheek to say that we know what’s best for us? We do, and that’s forgivable. We work with what we know, so of course, we’re going to fail at predicting “Where we will be in 5 years time.” God knows. That’s probably the only thing I know for absolute certain. I have no clue what will happen in 5 years. A friend mentioned how ridiculous the prospect of having a 10-year plan is.
“Not everything goes to plan.” He said
4 years ago I thought I’d be in University and working in the care industry. Though really, how wrong was I? It’s amazing that our next big mistake could be tomorrow and we wouldn’t even know until it happened. Uncertainty in some regard is a given. I’ve tried to be certain of everything… it’s really hard! I used to think I was like the nicest person ever, ha… how stupidly arrogant was I to think I’d never do an evil thing? Very. I’ve been resentful towards my old self because I knew every mistake the Past Me has made and wish he done better, you could even say I hated Past Lewis.
“Why did you do that you absolute daftie!? Are you stupid? You’re the reason I’m here now and I hate you for it!”
Hating yourself, I have been doing that for a long, long time. It feels like a betrayal, I trusted myself and I let myself down. I betrayed my values.
In my mind, there are many iterations of Lewis; the cheeky, the crybaby, the immature, the angry, the failure, the kind, the sensitive, the caring, the smart, the unforgiving, the creative, the dramatic, the quiet – one.
Those are 13 ones, but they don’t add up to 13. They add up to 1.
Before Christ, I was still me yet I didn’t embrace life. I had just gone through a lot of big changes, all of my own doing; I felt defeated and worthless. Just like I was at the start of my “fresh start” at 17 when I moved from Larkhall to Bathgate to live with my Dad. In the years before I wasn’t attending school because of my mental illness: Depression. At some point in those younger years, I started dealing with feelings of hopelessness, thoughts of death and hatred towards myself. In my eyes, I wasn’t good enough for anything. Nothing seemed to matter anymore, why live? So I can learn, work, marry then die? I wanted to escape and there were a few attempts.
I cried a lot and it was healthy to cry but every tear I wiped away I thought: “I’m pathetic, why am I crying, I’m supposed to be a man.” In my eyes, I was disposable. I often thought about the past and how I had messed small things up. I had, and still have a really hard time being gentle with myself; I thought that being horrible to myself would motivate me, of course, it didn’t. I ignored my potential and focused on safety, so I quit school. I had chosen subjects I wasn’t all that interested in, I only picked them because my friends were there, for how could I handle being alone and lacking familiar company? I could have, but I didn’t believe in myself.
I was bullied in school like many others, my experience wasn’t that bad, people had worse but it was valid. I felt lesser than others, and that wasn’t only because of the words or actions of others, it’s due to the words I said to myself too. A lot of the time when I said no, people didn’t care, it was “just a joke”. From their point of view, they had the right to mock me, to make me feel lesser and the excuse was “it’s just a joke”. So it was a joke when you kicked the back of my legs? Threw all my stationery from my bag in the bin? Spat in my face? Said you would kill me?
When it came to all of this, I blamed myself. I was too weak, too sensitive and I deserved it.
So School was horrible and I was tired of it. I didn’t care anymore, my number one objective was to distance myself from those who hurt me and those who may have. At this point, every other day was an argument with my Mother and Gran. I told them how I felt but to them, it was simply: excuses. I see their point of view now, I’d be angry if my son gave up on everything too.
I was honestly excited about death, how I would do it; when I would do it. Googling “celebrities that died from suicide” Sylvia Plath, she was one of the first people I looked into. Thinking about her doing it made me doubt back then and now, years later I’m still alive and realise that I and Sylvia didn’t want to die solely because our lives were the worst in the world. No, it was our perspectives, it was what we felt, how we thought, how we saw our failures and our achievements. Downplay the good, accentuate the bad. Due to our focus on the negative, on the past, we dove into exactly what we wanted to escape from: Pain of all kinds. Emotional, Mental, Physical. I can’t speak for Sylvia here but I think I focused on the bad so that I could avoid it. If I knew where it was, then I could move out of the way. And that is what drove the desire to enter isolation.
I went to a psychologist at CAMS a few times, his stance was that school, the thing I ran away from, was what I needed. So I stopped seeing him. The thought I was most afraid of was “Everyone looks so alive, but I don’t feel alive. How could I ever connect with people who were in the light when I was in the dark?”
I spent the next few years in my room, barely ever going outside, only for hospital appointments. My mother did everything for me. Food, video games, support, money. I regret those years when I’m talking about the time I wasted, but maybe I had to go through it to learn from it. I still look back at that time with disgust for myself. You probably know the adjectives.
One of these days, I got a call from my Dad: “Move here, al help ye oot”
When I heard that I recoiled, my future was nonexistent to me. As I began to consider it, there was a lot of fear mixed in with hope. Nobody would know me there. Fresh. Start. Alright, I’ll do it.
At my Dad’s I got better gradually, went to a doctor, got a keyworker and a counsellor, started going outside regularly. It was weird and hard but I eventually went to college. My future was finally apparent to me: this was not the end.
I eventually moved back after a few things happened and I was sorta alright with it for a few weeks but honestly, I was breaking again from the moment I stepped back into that room, the one I’m in right now. I was back in Larkhall, where all the hurt happened. I isolated myself again and when I met Jesus, I was back into the light. The healing began.
How? It’s kinda simple and I’m afraid It won’t be anything spectacular, my progress more so shows the most of it. So, one day I messaged a girl who I had known back at high school. I feel like she was one of the ones that saw how I really felt. She’s that intuitive and caring type ya know? We spoke on and off and one day she invited me to her church C7. I viewed their Instagram profile and asked her if I could go even if I wasn’t a Christian (At this point I was still into Taoism) She went “Oh aye, of course, my friend picks me up on Sundays and can get you as well?” I was pretty stunned… just an invite like that? Alright. So I went but it turned out that she had issues and was in the hospital for a while. She asked me if I’d still go with her friend and I hesitated. Being picked up by a stranger? Honestly my worst nightmare, back then at least.
Her friend was named Marissa, we met, I was quiet; she was talkative. That day my journey with Christ began. I had enjoyed singing hymns like “Away in a Manger” and “He’s got the whole world in His hands” at primary school assemblies. So I knew him but not really, just in a sorta adorable childlike way ya know? In Nativity plays, I always wanted to be Joseph but was consistently refused for the part. So I was always the wee shepherd, holding my sheep. I came to love playing that part because I was a spectator of the plays and didn’t memorise very much, so I was happy.
It took us a while to get to the church because it was all the way in Glasgow but of course Marissa made up for that with her ever-constant talk. That makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy it but I did! She asked me lots of things that I, timidly answered with mumbles. She wouldn’t give up either, normally people just give up on conversation but she just kept talking! It came as a surprise to me because I was very isolated and afraid of socialising with others. I honestly didn’t want to talk, I was afraid I’d say something weird ya know? The thing was though, I wasn’t a weirdo to her and I wasn’t a loser. That’s how I saw myself but she saw me through a different lens.
Back then I had a lot of harsh thoughts and self hate circling around my head. I struggled to see the positives in myself and I didn’t believe life was worth living. It was just a game I’d lost and I was eager to die already. I thought I had no reason for being here. I truly underestimate myself continuously, it’s daft. You’d think I’d get the point already. I’m getting quite teary-eyed typing this because, well… I used to be so sad and consistently suicidal; yet now I’m not. I’m not one of those guys that changed dramatically, but I changed a decent amount, maybe I’m being modest but I still have so much to work on, and I don’t want to stop.
I went to C7 a few times, met some folk; Sam, Louise… others: I can’t remember the names! At this point I hadn’t chosen to follow Christ yet, I still walked around with my Taoist necklace, I still had all sorts of spiritual stuff non-related to Christ. Eventually, Marissa felt like going to her Father’s church instead, she asked if I would go and I said: “yes, of course”
So we went together and I met her Dad, big Wi-. Wee Willie Watt, her sister Sharon and her husband Mark. I sat and spoke with Mark quite a few times and I remember asking him questions and getting many answers. It was bright, they were kind, I belonged. Willie asked if anyone new wanted to follow Christ on that day. I put my hand upon the count of 3. I was given a mug and a Bible (the bible I still use). After the service I spoke with Mark again, I remember talking about being a conduit/vessel for Christ. The whole “we are all part of the body of Christ” thing. It was cool. I was accepted and I was now connected to the Saviour of the World. “What? But I’m Lewis… I don’t deserve that! I’m not good enough to be friends with someone so important. I’m just Lewis.” My whole body shrieked in response to the proclamation and thus: I had a hard time accepting Christ’s sacrifice, that it was for me as well, not just for everyone else.
Willie’s sermons saved me and still save me and Marissa brought me to them. Mark and Sharon, Tom, Helen, Ellen, Jack, Ellen, Nancy, Pauline, Margaret, Mark, Sophia, Dan, Hannah, Robin, Steven and many many others were all my brothers and sisters now. Family, Grace, Forgiveness, Love, Patience and Peace. I was accepted and it was honestly quite weird, I hadn’t felt accepted in quite the while. I’m still not used to it entirely.
Now… I still struggle, everyone does. If the Church taught me something, it was that it was okay for me to be faulty. There was freedom in that truth. I can see that I have a future, a point. I know that I don’t have to escape now. I will die eventually, but Jesus is with me in this world. I’m not alone.
Y’know, there’s hope and then there’s hope in Jesus, hope that even in this sin-stained world; there are great people and things to accomplish. I sometimes slip back into thinking all these things are lies but we all fail, we all go away and come back. Everything takes time and it is a process.
The hope I have in Jesus is greater than simply hope on its own. There are good things here, not all good yet that doesn’t matter to me. Of course, everything is not good!
The peace I now have is like holding a loved one’s hand: you feel comfort, security, confidence and thankfulness that you can actually feel something. Jesus was hated, I have been hated, we have all faced hate, but we can win with the brightness of the power of Jesus Christ. The Journey is not over for me, not for a long time. I’m 22 and sometimes I feel old when I look to the past, in a rush to catch up with everyone else but patience is a virtue.
Remember, your worth is not determined by the opinions of others, your worth is immense. The shining light that says those words is our Lord God.