Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Scarlet Letter[s]

Scarlet Letters

Definition: A visible symbol of something you have done and regretted, or a stigma of past mistake you made that follows you.
A stigma someone bears for a misdeed he or she has committed (sometimes against their will). The term refers to an ongoing, public shame forced upon a person as a means of ostracizing him or her. 

"She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom."
-Nathanial Hawthorne

"Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see? Under the shadow of our steeples. With all the lost and lonely people searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me. If judgment looms under every steeple. If lofty glances from lofty people who can't see past her scarlet letter. And never even meet her."

"We show off our different scarlet letters.
Trust me mine is better.
Cause baby I could build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me.
And everyday is like a battle.
Baby we're the n e w r o m a n t i c s. 
Come on, come along with me.
Heartbreak is the national anthem.
We sing it proudly.
Please take my hand &
please take me dancing.
It's so romantic."
-Taylor Swift, New Romantics

Don't let who you were talk you out of who you are becoming.

"Our flaws almost make us greater."
-Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

 When I was in therapy, my therapist made me do a "Masks Assignment" that reminded me of the Scarlet Letters we bear like weights nearly suffocating whether people assign us with them or we perceive them as such. These were my masks and my explanations...
The "Not Enough"/Scarlet Letters-Labels Mask
This mask seems permanent. It scares me. It represents all of the negative labels I carry in my heart to describe myself or how others see me. These labels spread through my blood like poison. It feels like these labels are tattooed all over my head, face, and body making it impossible for anyone to see the real Charley. The good. The strong badass princess. Labels like "Not good enough", "Not pretty enough", "Divorced", "Unable to have kids", "Depressed", "Failure", "Survivor of a Suicide Attempt", etc. This entails beating myself up so badly that if someone else tries to it won't hurt as much. It's been a game where I'm my own judge, jury, and executioner... over and over. It's involved putting up walls around me and my heart so tall they nearly reach the stars. I keep people out. I'm quiet because I fear rejection and ridicule. I use this mask like a safety blanket. I use to think it helping me by shutting people out to avoid more heartache. Now I know it's not true. This mask does way more harm than good. It causes me and my glimmer of self worth to decrease rather than increase. Scarlet letters like a noose.

The Conformity People Pleasing Mask
This mask stems from a fear of rejection and conflict. It's like I want everyone to like me and think good things about me even though you can't control other people's thoughts, feelings, and opinions. I'm not fake, but I am rarely completely real unless you're family or a close friend. While this mask has helped me avoid drama and contention, it's kept me from fully experiencing my true emotions and thoughts and expressing them. I've tended to put others needs before my own. I don't give in to peer pressure or things that go against my values. I feel like I have to be like and agree with other people in order for them to like and accept me. I am working on being my full authentic self, unapologetic, because I want people in my life who love me for me.

The Fake Smile, Always Positive, Pretend Everything's Perfect Mask
This mask began in childhood when my parents got divorced. As the oldest child, I felt I was the one who had to stay strong even when everything was going wrong. By repressing the bad emotions, you also suppress the good, the happiness. I have to fake smile. I feel like I always have had to pretend everything is just perfect and force positivity or they assume I'm not okay. This has been the most challenging mask to shed. 

No Mask
I am happy I am now the real and genuine Charley--no masks!  

This is the hardest, most difficult thing I've ever I've ever been through. It's the worst kind of trial, but I'm also realizing that this is the best kind of blessing. He [my ex husband] almost ended my life. . . and I saved it. 
This marriage would've never ended in happily ever after.
In the midst of this, I've felt feelings of utter worthlessness. I've felt like I am such a stupid girl. I've felt like I ruined my life. I've told myself no on will ever love me again. I'll be branded with the letter "D" carried around my neck for all to see; the divorced girl whose marriage lasted less than a year. Of "F"  for failure. A million other similar words. People are going to think what they want. The only judge that matters is Heavenly Father and the Savior. They, like me, know the truth. 
I know the truth sets you free.
No matter how many lies you try to bury it with, you can never hide the truth.
Truth is still absolute. Believe that. Know it. Even when the truth is hard and cold and more painful that you've ever imagined. And even when truth is more cruel that any lie. One letter I'll never bear is "G" for guilty.
I am not perfect.

I've never claimed to be. 
I am honest and innocent though;
with a perfect brightness of hope
I feel a responsibility to do what's upstanding and right.
I've heard whispers and people pointing out my flaws like I don't already see them.
Here's the thing... I refuse to let anything, anyone, and/or any situation take my progress away from me. When I just took my life back and made it mine. Who I was will never be who I am. My recovery and hard work, dreams and dedication to rebuilt a life worth living come first. Until you help yourself, you're no good to others. I am full of unconditional love, forgiveness, and support for all of my family and friends and you lovelies all of the time. However, I have to protect the positivity and light within me from any negativity and darkness caused by poor, careless decisions, actions, and words of others. 
I can't change others nor can you.
I am changing myself every day and trying to set a good example. 
While I am unable to change others (as much as I wish I could), I hope my story of my triumphs, rising above tragedies, overcoming trials, strengthening testimony, and transformation can inspire the world to change. 
There are so many things that amaze me such as life in general--the fragility, the possibility, the wonder, the beauty, the potential--that to list them all would be an impossible task like counting every single star in the galaxy. 
I have found love again that defies the past, the imperfections, the loneliness, the unfairness, the mistakes, the heartbreak, the hate, hurt, and negativity of others around me trying to destroy me and rob me of all the hope, happiness, love, light, progress, and positivity inside me, the fears that haunt me, and the excruciating, soul crippling, unbearable physical pain that was killing me second by waking second.
I am in love with myself.
The girl I've become and the girl I'm becoming. I love me. I love life. I love my life, this new blank canvas of a life I am living, building, and creating day by day, moment by moment.
Depression blinds you to the beauty of life and the miracle and purpose of it all.
It makes you forget how much you love life--even when it's bad, sad, confusing, and downright tragic.
Apathy takes over your heart. Fear hijacks your mind. Despair and misery slowly suck the life right out of you. This is just a basic description of what depression feels like.
My point is with the gospel, God, therapy, positive coping skills, good habits, time, and support from family and friends, I've conquered my depression, chose happiness, and took my life back.
Hope is always there and waiting to be found.
You may be lost, but hope never is.
The key is faith. Fear is the opposite of faith. Sometimes we hide behind our fears because we're afraid of change or failure. The truth is that faith is stronger than the whole world's fears combined. If we have faith, we need not fear. I choose faith. I have faith. In the words of Dieter F. Uchtdorf: "Faith is trust--trust that God sees what we cannot and that He knows what we do not. The purpose of faith is not to change God's will but to empower us to act on God's will. In the end everything will make sense. Faith comes to the humble, the diligent, the enduring. It comes to those who pay the price of faithfulness."


The people who brand us with these flaming, burning, searing scarlet letters are hurt people.
Hurt people hurt people.
That's how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation.
Break the chain today.
Meet anger with sympathy,
contempt with compassion,
cruelty with kindness.
Greet grimaces with smiles.
Forgive and forget about finding fault.
Love is the weapon of the future.

"Let someone love you just the way you are--as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are "broken", out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room."
-Mark Hack

"You need to learn to let go of whatever it is that makes you think you're not good enough. Because that's how you're gonna beat this. When you learn that you matter."
-One Tree Hill

THIS: "Tell me every terrible thing you ever did, and let me love you anyway."
-Sade Andria Zabala

"God's love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there."
-Thomas S. Monson

"Dismiss whatever insults your own soul."
-Walt Whitman

"There is no statute of limitations on starting over. Re-invent yourself every day. Be the girl who walks barefoot and listens to the blues. Tomorrow, wear a trench coat and speak fierce truths. Be a phoenix. Be ashes. Burn down. Resurrect. Let go of the idea that you must always be who you have always been."

"Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud."

"Who you are is who you choose to be. Whispers behind your back don't define you. You are the one who gets to decide what you will be remembered for."

 "You are good enough and God does care.
Love everyone. Including yourself.
Because when He thinks of you, He smiles.
Because you are OH SO beautiful in the eyes of God."
-Al Fox Carraway

 "The future holds everything for you."

 "Isn't life the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?! It is enchanting and sad and lovely and breathtaking. It's what you make it. It's everything and more. I love life. I can't wait for the day when I find the right man to love and share it with."


 "The happiest people I know are always evaluating and improving themselves. The unhappy people are usually evaluating and judging others."

 "It's really not good for your happiness or your state of mind to care so much about what people, who do not care about you, think about you."
-Taylor Swift

The only person who defines you is YOU.

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