Are you ready for this? It's kind of intense. Hey, I warned you. I would really like your input, advice, and opinion on this one!
"Expectation is the root of all hatred." (See Expectation post.)
Isn't that the truth, though? When we expect specific actions, attributes, or achievements from another person, we are constantly going to be let down. My expectations, particularly at this point in time, are rather high because I want others to solve the pain and the things I can't quite figure out on my own right now. It's almost as if I want someone else to fix everything. I look for someone else to do everything right, because I can't seem to do it sufficiently. And when others do something wrong or hurtful (as they usually do unknowingly) it's abnormally devastating to me right now. Logically, I am fully aware that this reasoning is completely irrational and ridiculous, but my heart can't seem to cope any other way. When that person (whoever that person is) does not meet those expectations, often it turns into anger. People differ in their expressions of anger. Some yell, some cry, some avoid. But I have found that anger, ultimately, is the aftermath of expectations not being met. And sometimes that is a scary feeling. Although anger is an emotion that we have all felt, it is also the easier route to take. Because anger usually exists when another emotion is present, but that other feeling tends to be hidden even deeper in the internal structures of our body. We either don't have the tools, capability, or courage to go and find out what that other emotion is. When grief hits, when expectations are not met, anger tends to be the first emotion felt. Why? Because it is a lot easier to be angry, than to be fearful or to be hurt or to feel any other deeper, scarier emotion. Anger, like expectations, exists due to a lack of needs not being met. Recently, anger, for me, has stemmed from those expectations of others not being met, but more importantly, it has arrived due to my imperfections in coping mechanisms. Then again, there is no perfect way to grieve. Everybody does it at their own speeds and in their own ways. But a part of me gets frustrated, angry, or confused with myself because I feel like it is silly to continue to be this sad. How in the world am I supposed to be feeling right now though? What is considered the "appropriate way" to deal? What is considered the right amount of time until all this pain dissipates? When will it be easy to talk about Holland? When will my family be "normal" again?
This Christmas Holiday has been okay. It's difficult to be home because the last time I was here was for her funeral. And so, through this "homeward bound" experience, this is what I have realized: Anger is easier to handle than grief. When I am angry, I can make everything about someone else, something else. I can even make it His fault. I can focus all my energy on punishing, refusing, or ultimately leaving an entire situation (metaphorically or literally). I have found that I am comforted by anger's sharp, precise lines and it's definite road map.
Grief, however, is a more complicated matter. It is something that I cannot direct. At all. It is about MY loss; everything I once cherished and believed in. It has a component of fear and one of regret--of wishing I could turn back the clock, to more vigilantly try to change things. Pay more attention. Love more fully. Be more available. When the grief hits (which it usually does, particularly at times when I am not even examining or recognizing it), I find myself looking inward, blaming myself for somehow feeling this way and allowing my emotions to rule everything; to destroy everything. Grief also has a disorienting effect, offering absolutely no game plan whatsoever, leaving me one option: to suffer there in the moment until it is usurped or taken over by anger or some unsuspecting emotion.
In midst of this roller coaster of anger, I have found that it is much easier to avoid others and cope internally. I am what psychologists like to call an "avoider". It's not that I'm avoiding my feelings, I'm just avoiding explaining my feelings. Mostly because it's too complicated to attempt to explain in the first place. I have been extremely cold and distant in the past few months (well, that's all relative. Cold and distant for me is rather different than someone else's cold and distant!) It is easier for me to be alone because in the quiet moments I can somehow feel a semblance of all the different paths my heart tends to be taking. I am trying so hard to figure out "what is going on with me." It's hard to be around others because I cannot fully explain what I am actually feeling in that moment. Emotions are not black and white right now. I'm not feeling "sad" or "lonely", I am feeling every single emotion piled into one. It's too difficult to explain because it's too difficult to pinpoint the particular emotion. The complexity is confusing though. It is not just a shade of one color. It's as if my emotions are an uneven amount of gray that can't decide if it wants to be black or white.
It also gets confusing because sometimes my grieving entails aspects of me; it's not even about Holland or Lexie or Nick anymore. I become sad and find myself in that rut; in that floodgate of multiple emotions, due to a loss of something else in my own life. Grieving is not just the loss of the specific people who have died in my life, but a loss of everything that I feel is missing. So now, I am not only grieving for Holland, or Ryan, or any others who have passed on before me, but I am grieving for the lack of companionship, drive, etc. in my own life. See how it turned around on me. And how is that fair? How selfish is that? It bothers me that grieving is such a selfish process. I don't mean to be emotional or selfish. My head tells me to get through it, to stop those particular actions. But unfortunately, after all the reading and research that I have done, that is not how the process goes. It's "normal" to go through all of this. Survival takes a portion of self absorption and it, in a way, has made me strangers to a lot of people because they could not relate.
Yet, It's a constant circle of destruction.
Because all of that emotion, all of that confusion, is then directed to the Lord. Even though I don't necessarily mean for it to.
And it's not because I am asking "Why is this happening?" Because I realize that all things are for my good. That there is a reason all of this is happening. But I ask, rather, "When will this be over? When will the pain subside?" And you know what? You know what I have learned?
That sometimes it's okay to be angry with the Lord; it's okay to feel the way that I have been feeling.
I know that makes me sound like I possess a lack of faith, but I think He gets it. Truly. I think He understands when I am a little frustrated. I know this because I have felt Him say that to me. I have felt Him say, 'It's okay, Sierra. You're okay. Just don't go too far. I am here. And I am sorry." He gets it, as long as I don't go too far for too long. He loves me. Individually. My self worth, my confidence, was lacking for a little while. I felt as though I didn't deserve what was best for me. I don't really know how I was feeling (shocking) I just knew that I was doubting myself, my abilities, and my strengths. But through the many many many tears, I know that He loves me and has given me so many wonderful attributes. I know that. I have re-learned that over the past four months. It's been lonely, as cliche as that sounds. And even though that loneliness and anger is sometimes directed to the Lord, He has also been the only one to get me through this entire situation. With roommates that I feel are abandoning me, with family that is all grieving on their own so they are unavailable, and with Tanner on a mission, the Lord has been the only constant in my life.
It's amazing how I can feel everything and nothing at the exact same time. My head and heart seem to be in a constant battle. Sometimes I try everything in my power not to cry because if I start, a floodgate of tears then follows. And sometimes I just can't handle that. However, I have also learned that emotion is not a bad thing. I was reading my dear friend, Erin's blog, and she said exactly what I had typed the day before. (Great minds think alike, Erin!) Emotion is not bad. It's just how you deal with it. It's what you do with it. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to be angry. You just cannot allow those emotions to rule your decisions or stay ever present. I'm not saying that I ignore my emotions. I can't do that. But I can take the sadness with me, keep moving, and integrate it into my life. Eventually that burden will get lighter over time. I have learned that I am a person who has learned happiness through those moments of sadness.
Coming home has been exactly what I needed. I am surrounded by people who love me unconditionally, just because they are blood (and they have to! Ha!) and because it's a safe place. It's hard for me to want to go back to school, actually. The past few weeks as I have watched my family members grieve and deal with everything in their own special way, I consistently remind myself: "This too shall pass."
I wanted to get this out before New Years because I am ready for a fresh start. I am ready for a new beginning. A New Year. How awesome is that? We always get second chances in life.
Happy New Year (even though I strongly dislike this holiday) everyone!
Thank you for your love, patience, and kindness through this roller coaster.
Hey, never a boring day in the life of Sierra, huh? :)