"i don’t know how you house the sin
but you’re free now
i was never sure how much of you i could let in
am i free now
won’t you settle down baby here your love has been”
(thx, again, Justin Vernon)
i’ve thought of a million words to use to address the systems in place here, now.
i’ve thought of a million ways to attempt to express the ways that they have pushed on me and the ways i have allowed them to do so.
nothing feels adequate and nothing feels complete but, nonetheless, i believe that the part of freedom that i am endeavoring to understand is something that must be shared. at the very least, i am putting my heart out in the open in the hopes that someone will see it and benefit.
i’ve always wanted to be pretty, as far back as memory permits my mind’s eye to see. i’ve always desired affirmation from others and to be seen and understood as beautiful. i know that i am not alone in this desire. the understanding of that desire changed greatly when i began losing my hair in 2011 and since that time, i have been radically challenged and stretched in my understanding of what it means to be a beautiful human as, over the course of roughly three years, i have lost all hair from my body. it’s strange and uncomfortable and when i try to make it normal and casually insert it into conversation, i feel awkward. it is awkward to be sick and to look different than most everyone within one’s circle. it is awkward to possess opposite characteristics than what is deemed acceptable and admirable by one’s respective society. i live that awkward most everyday as i watch the eyes of the people who see me. i ride within pockets of that awkward as i attempt to understand my physicality and, more importantly, my soul within my body and the meaning it all carries.
there are levels upon levels of complications that come along with being a soul inside of a body, and i am only merely exploring one or two pieces of these complications in this season. i doubt i will ever fully understand the soul or the body on this side of eternity. even still;
change came gradually. this specific change which i am addressing; it came behind closed doors with tears and it came in simple daily routines that ultimately broke big pieces of what was once whole inside me.
this is about eyebrows. eyebrows, yes. something i lost approx. 2 years ago after having for roughly 16 years. once i began losing my eyebrows, i immediately learned how to draw them on with makeup. i have done so almost everyday since i was 16 (almost 19 now). i wake up in the morning, turn to the mirror and see a problem to be fixed. (i use present tense because i am not sure if i have walked away from that line of thought just yet.)
the problem that i saw needed fixing was there no matter the day of the week, the activities in order, the people i would come in contact with that day. the eyebrows must be drawn on because without them i will not be beautiful and i will not be acceptable and will be scary to look at. the eyebrows are what i have always known and i will not be lennox without them.
i missed camping trips and late night ventures and freedoms of all kind because of my fear of my face. my face that is different than the one i grew up with in many ways, my face that doesn’t “fit in”. this was fear of people seeing me for what i really am. makeup-less and vulnerable because of being different. really, truly, i hid. really, truly, i have been hiding. i am so scared of this face because it is foreign to what i have known and is not what i am comfortable with. i am not sure that it is beautiful, especially because i am not sure that i know what beautiful means when i look into the mirror. this summer, a heart-friend challenged me to see myself when i looked into the mirror, instead of a problem to fix. i felt the wear of drawing on my face more than ever these last few months. i knew i was running but i didn’t know how to stop because the fear was too great. i have fought identifying with my makeup-less face because i don’t want it to be true because i am a mix of insecure and prideful.
cliche’s like “you’re beautiful inside and out” and “God made you beautiful” sting more than they feel good because they feels like a bandaid for the greater problem: freedom vs bondage.
we are often bound people. existing in the midst of this world is binding and lie-filled. the truth that i am learning is that being bound doesn’t have to be a reality. i feel so tied down to physical security, despite having lost my hair and thinking i’d made it to ultimate liberation and understanding of the Creators love for us and gift of freedom (ps, i totally have not made it to that point, wow surprise). i go back and forth between thinking that i can take on this task, of stepping into believing the truth about myself and accepting freedom. it is easy when i am not looking at society straight-on in the face. society, for me, looks like college. it looks like people proving that they are stylish and have good aesthetics. society for me looks like people wearing attractive clothes and just being straight up cool. this society is nerve-wracking for me when i imagine re-entering it with a face that is different.
when all is boiled down, freedom in this context means understanding that the physical discomfort of being a human is only a moment in the scheme of what we are all looking for, of the great perpetuity that will heal everything. i have been broken down and healed more in the last few days as i have stopped the makeup routine and gone out into the world and looked people straight in the face with my own face, my own real face.
people these days love the idea of self-love. i do, too. i just believe that loving oneself means fully accepting the freedom to be named something great. to be given a name and a purpose far exceeding one’s abilities.
i am scared to truly begin to be seen, but i want to accept the freedom to be the way i have been created because in that i can shout the name of the One who rescues. a love for all faces, even the most “different” ones comes only from the One who makes them. and in true trust, i am stepping out to believe that even though i feel bare and vulnerable and, many times, ugly, no one walking in freedom can be tied down by lies. i want this for everyone. i am choosing to beg for freedom than to beg for comfort, and most of the time i am too afraid to do so, so instead i beg for the ability to plead and ask for liberation from our messed up societal values and standards.
"cause I’m a known coward in a coward wind
but you’re free now
you turn around now and you count to 10
to see you go now
well i know now honey that i can’t pretend”
26 Think about the circumstances of your call, brothers and sisters. Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position. 27 But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong.28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, 29 so that no one can boast in his presence. 30 He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Cor. 1:26-31
everyday you teach me what it looks like to be made new in different ways. everyday i am more amazed at you’re coolness and simultaneous rich and deep love for me and for life and the one who gives it. you are my person (one of a few) and i cannot comprehend a world where that isn’t so. mom, you’re a boss and also a deep well of love. happy birthday 2 u😘❤️😘❤️
bare face me sitting in denver with froyo and salad in my belly
today is so many things
today has years worth of meaning
I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.
"What was the happiest moment of your life?"
"I have cancer and the chemo has probably made me infertile. Before the chemo, I went through a fertility preservation treatment process to freeze my eggs for later. I cried tears of joy when I found out they harvested more of my eggs than we had expected.”
"How is your treatment going?"
"I’ll find out tomorrow. I recently had a stem cell transplant and I’m going in for a scan to see how that went."