Love/Hate

Company in the Wilderness

Today I listened to the @cities_arts podcast, an episode about being in a creative wilderness. There was so much wisdom in the conversation between @judithhougen and @addiezierman, and mostly, I just felt so SEEN. It felt like company in the wildnerness.
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Today reminded me why it’s so important to me to be vulnerable about the lonely, heartbreaking parts of the creative life. The shame we sometimes feel loses power in the light.
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Like Killing Butterflies

I have a scene I’m so excited to write that I’m psyching myself out!
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It’s like how Ann Patchett described it: “This book I have not yet written one word of is a thing of indescribable beauty, unpredictable in its patterns, piercing in its color, so wild and loyal in its nature that my love for this book, and my faith in it as I track its lazy flight, is the single perfect joy in my life. […] When I can’t think of another stall, when putting it off has actually become more painful than doing it, I reach up and pluck the butterfly from the air. I take it from the region of my head and I press it down against my desk, and there, with my own hand, I kill it. It’s not that I want to kill it, but it’s the only way I can get something that is so three-dimensional onto the flat page. Just to make sure the job is done I stick it into place with a pin. Imagine running over a butterfly with an SUV.”
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Yet this is somehow better, friends, because, one, it EXISTS, and two, it is shareable. The perfect book or scene or idea,  only in the writer’s mind, is not superior.
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So. I will pin that scene to the page today. Then I will somehow make it shine.
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This is What it’s like to be Human

If any one of the sweet girls I look out for had the week I had last week (full of every big emotion, sleeping SO much, eating unhealthy, etc.), what would I tell her?
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Dear one, this is a season of uncertainty, and there will be days (and weeks and months) like this, when all you’re feeling can’t be contained, when we reach for any comfort available–and, surprise!–this is what it’s like to be human.
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Be gentle with yourself. Rest. Breathe deeply till it doesn’t feel foreign to do so. Pray. Ask for help. Remember you’re never alone. Coping is something we do as people in a fallen world. Quit being cruel to your lovely, hurting heart.
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So I am saying those things to myself today too.
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The Year of Small Spaces

2020 has felt like four walls, at varying times moving closer to me or away. Usually closer.
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I have claustrophobia. It shows up most often in my nightmares, but any space that feels too small makes me feel like giving up, like hiding, like I can’t breathe.
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This is the year of small spaces. Of walls closing in. Of masks. Of anxiety and loss pressing hard on the heart, making even the chest feel like a smaller space.
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And I’d be remiss to ignore all my brothers and sisters crying, “I can’t breathe.” Not a metaphor, but an actuality.
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Jesus, bring freedom, healing, and space. Amen.
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OCD Resources!

As a gentle reminder, my policy is to no longer engage in one-on-one conversations about OCD (that’s the job of a therapist, which I am not!).

However, I do hope you’ll find lots of resources on my site.

For more guidance, feel free to email jackieleaocd@gmail.com with either OCD or HOCD in the subject line, and you’ll get an auto-response full of resources.

You are beloved, friends. If you have even the slightest suspicion you’re dealing with OCD, get a book about exposure therapy and dive in. ERP, though frightening, is the key to your shackles.

Love,

Jackie

Can’t Sleep

This is the second night in a row I’ve been up till after 3 am. I’ve been working on revisions till midnight and then apparently my mind can’t settle itself.

It’s probably not fair to assess one’s wellbeing at 4 am, but I feel ALL THE FEELINGS. Shame. Fear. Gratitude. Hope.

Someone told me tonight he pictured God using me to go into a dark dungeon to love people back to life and release them to God. It’s so beautiful. I want that.

Then I think how silly and foolish and sinful I am. I know His power is made perfect in my weakness, but OH, I am SO WEAK.

Anastasis

Anastasis, noun.

1. Recovery from a debilitating condition

2. Rebirth

3. Resurrection

All three are on my mind this Holy Saturday.

This virus has ravaged the world and pinned us to cardboard like moths, even those who don’t have the disease. I can hardly bear to read the stories from actual sufferers. All I’m asked to do is stay home, and I feel the claustrophia of it even though no stone is rolled against my door.

And yet, it’s been beautiful to see so many rise up. You know the stories. You’ve seen the songs from balconies, the kitchens feeding those without homes, the notes on doors telling neighbors, “Just call me. I’ll get whatever you need.” I feel a companionship with the entire planet.

This has been an unusual holy week; sometimes I’ve forgotten what day it is. Palm Sunday snuck up on me like humility, which, of course, it is.

Yet somehow I so deeply relate. Surrounded on all sides by fear and suffering and death, I long for the resurrection of “regular life.” Tomorrow will unlikely be the miraculous end of COVID-19, but the resurrection joy I await is so palpably symbolic.

Easter has snuck up on me like hope, which, of course, it is.

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