The Amenable Poison

I think that if we were a little more ourselves and little less the people we think our peers want us to be, we might come quite close to knowing what whole feels like.

Just a thought that’s been roaming around this ever-tumultous mind.

Speaking of which . . . the other day, while administering needles into my naked bum, my acupuncturist says to me, “You must slow down. Your brain is always three steps ahead of your body.” Out loud, I murmured a noncommittal assent and pledged to try and downshift more often; however, in my three-steps-ahead-mind, I thought, “Lady, you have no idea.” (I think she heard me, though, because the next needle went deeeep.)

Do you relate? Is this you, too? Or do you fall in the other category? Body before brain, takes it as it comes, falls asleep the second cheek meets pillow. If this is you, congratulations and I apologize; because this post is not so much for you; however, take heart in knowing that you are likely a less complicated, well-rounded, stable individual. I invite you to enjoy this little blurp about us crazy people who think and think and think, and then take a moment to think about why on earth we are thinking so darn much.

Oh, if I could turn it off I would, believe me. But, this is how God made me and so I must accept even those traits I sometimes wish I could exchange for finer qualities — this is, essentially, what I mean about not feeling whole. When we constantly wish our character away, it’s as if we slap ourselves in the face. This mutilation happens during self-deprecation and intense self-analyzation. Stop these things. Right now; they are no good for you. Recognize the times, places, and people you are with when these thoughts occur and obliterate them. Not the actual people themselves, of course, because that’s a felony in most states. You could wind up in a penitentiary, or worse, solitary confinement, and that is quite counterproductive to the task at hand, yes?

But let’s talk about that for a minute. People, that is; the ones who, perhaps unknowingly, are responsible for these “episodes” I call them. And I call them that because they truly display and act much in the same way a seizure behaves, needing only the tiniest bit of fodder and spark to succeed in igniting a maelstrom of doubt, insecurity, and sometimes even a confusing self-loathing.

These are people, they are the ones we can never seem to impress, or worse, are repulsed by our endeavor to impress. Either we are pathetic, or they are apathetic, and both will most certainly drive a person to the precipice of insanity. In fact, I’ve visited enough times now that I’ve decided to purchase real-estate and am shortly on my way toward equity.

No. but seriously, try as I might to prepare myself, I cannot seem to avoid an episode every now and then, and usually they occur around the same people, or in the same situations, where therein lie some duplicitous allure or twisted magnetism in which I am reeled, like a fish to the rusted hook. This is because, within us all, exists the innate desire to please, to meet approval, to dazzle and charm, or to simply . . . be liked. Deny this if you feel it necessary, but it is true. Our humanity is strung up on a clothesline, where flailing things and study objects, simultaneously, flap and remain secure. I’m drawing an image here, stay with me.

We are better and wiser for acknowledging this truth; a precarious awareness is shades lighter than dim ignorance.

So, think of your insides as a wardrobe — your feelings, your thoughts, everything that makes you you exposed for the world to see. Again, this is for those of us that, quite literally it would seem, wear our hearts on our sleeves. So there we are, strung up by clothespins, anchored to a foundation both sturdy and firm. There are variables, however, unexpected ones: a gale-force wind, rapacious hands that yank and tear, scorching heat. These things we must endure along the way, but can we not protect ourselves?

Well, I believe that differs for each individual. I, for one, am one of those masochistic souls who cannot help but try one . . . more . . . time. The outcome, I know, is already determined, and Einstein’s words ring loudly in my ear: “The definition of stupidity is doing the same exact thing and expecting a different result.” I know this. I know all of this, but I cannot stop. I blame my thinker. You see, it’s my thinker that tells me maybe this time I’ll win ’em over, maybe this time they’ll come aware of that irresistible magnanimity I possess and want to know me, even if just a little. It’s a trap. And it’s one I both set and trip.

Why? Why do we do this?

To be completely honest, I am not entirely sure. I’ll have to think about it. (Did you catch that?)

For me, it’s usually three-fold: it begins with setting up goals and expectations, absurd ones mind you. Some consideration is put into how that person or peoples might be best won over. Then finally, it’s execution time. The double-entendre is well-suited for the scene, because, really I only execute myself when trying to be anything other than who I am. Taming my crude not-at-the-table humor, sharing scintillating excerpts of the world’s most interesting ongoings, or even just the simple act of speaking less — all these contrived motions separate me, drive a wedge between body and soul. The worse part: it never works. Not really. By all outward appearances it may seem as though you’ve sustained a victory, but then again you did so by being less of you, and how is that winning? This realization hurts only a little more than the moment the lie pointed its finger at you.

Hopefully I haven’t lost you . . . when I sat down to write today, I hadn’t thought about what I wanted to say. I am flying off the cuff here, my brain both interpreting and understanding this conundrum, presently.

What I’ve learned is that not all poisons don labels alerting consumers of their potential fatality. Some poisons wear smiles. Others smell very, very good. Sometimes, though we claim to only want to look, just a peek; and it is in that fleeting glimpse we collide with our ruin.

Know this: everything, all that is ever important will always confide in your heart long before your body or brain begins make sense of it. It is both map and compass.

The human heart. Ah, of this subject I am fascinated to no end. Its beauty, its power, its limitless capacity for courage, love, hope, passion. Oh, how I wish I could make you understand. I wish I could make me understand! Sometimes I wish I could curl around the center of me and just hold on and never let go . . .

This I do know; no heart is created equal. If you’ve ever seen a labyrinth you will know what I am saying. Our hearts our mazes, leading us to undisclosed destinations, guiding us half-sighted toward that which fills us, toward wholeness. And to be anything, anything but you, is a devastation beyond bearing. Heedless hands did not indifferently piece you together. You were made, fearfully and wonderfully, the only you to ever be you. Your unique ability to love is the seed from which you grow. Bury that seed, and you invite death’s pan and broom to your doorstep.

I suspect the day we — I — discover how important we are, is the day we need not search for meaning any longer. We will have uncovered His secret.

May your ears hear unspoken truths and comprehend complex simplicities.

Happy Saturday to you,

~ Cara


24 thoughts on “The Amenable Poison

  1. Cara- oh dear one. There are people so wrapped up tight in themselves. In their minds they are perfect and have all the answers. It is easy for them to pass judgement on you/me-us. Causing us to reevaluate our thoughts, opinions and feelings. We are the ones who fall into self loathing and depression. They are oblivion to what storm they create inside us. Now don’t be stupid enough to point out their flaws. They will deflect it back to you. I am teaching myself to love me no matter what flaws and all. Right now I have some wonderful anti anxiety pills. I take one and I sleep undisturbed. However my insurance doesn’t cover them. On the nights I don’t take them I lay in bed and will my mind not to think of anything. Some nights it works others it doesn’t. The fact is if our hearts are involved our mind can’t be controlled. Nor can we fix what’s wrong in the wee hours of the night. So get some sleep. 🙂

    • Kim,
      I can never be sure of how readers might perceive my words, but my hope in sharing these thoughts was to remind people of how greatly important they are, and that all those with a willing, open, and loving heart possess limitless potential for Good. It is by allowing others’ voices distract us or deter us that we come up against ourselves. The fight is never so deadly as when we start to doubt our purpose and believe we are not part of a divine plan.
      Knowing where danger lies is a must for those of us who feel things deeply. Kim, I know you are one who feels things very deeply; this blessing and curse can stir up confusion, and at times become so cumbersome that feeling anything at all proves painful. Coping takes all forms, and there is no judgement for those who are seeking to be healthy. I pray there is peace for you, both in wakefulness and slumber. As for me… I will not lose sleep, don’t you worry. 🙂

    • They do, that’s true; there is something about the actual sunlight that responds to the light planted in our hearts. But there is light in the darkness, too, I believe; for it is never truly dark; only that the light must be found.

  2. Hi Cara, I can relate (as one who tends to over-think and cannot always turn off my brain, like this morning at 4:00 am…but I digress. The more I get to know my Savior, the better I know myself through his eyes. Someday I will be free from the expectations, perceptions and judgments of others. Someday. Bless you today, Cara.

    • I agree, Judy; the more I seek him out, intentionally, and listen for His soft voice, the better I am able to discern between voices and the Voice. It may take a moment or maybe a month to detect whom is speaking, but the comfort lies in knowing that He is always . . . always there. I need only to go to Him.

      Bless you, too, my friend. Thanks for chiming in.

  3. Negativity is like a deadly illness that spreads to all it encounters. My former employers were those malignant thorns in my side for many years. No matter what I did, I was unable to win them over and it literally made me ill. When I was let go back in the spring, I was so relieved! It felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.

    Now, looking back I regret how I allowed them to have such an impact on my life. My loyalty and good intentions kept me prisoner in that unhealthy environment and I would probably still be there today had I not been released. Now I have been blessed with a wonderful part time job that allows me the time I need to care for my parents and for the first time in years, I actually look forward to going to work.

    I don’t know what makes us try so hard. Hopefully I will learn from my past and recognize when I am allowing others to poison my inner peace. I have to believe it works both ways and maybe some of the good Light within us will spill over into their darkness. Great post! Much love my dear – Lori

    • Lori, those words are both true and frightening. Negativity IS like an illness; leave it be, and there is no telling what will become if its host; not to mention those unfortunate souls orbiting nearby. Hearing how you were liberated from such a toxic environment gives me great hope; it reminds me yet again that our Maker is intimately involved in our lives, and willing to step in when necessary. What felt like a crushing blow was really the gentle hand of your Savior removing you from harm’s way. Blessed be the Lord!

      Ah, yes . . . I have some similar regrets; but then again those choices — or mistakes, I guess you would call them — made me the woman I am today. And I suspect that a fresh batch of mistakes awaits me. To learn and to grow — this is the process, not the either way around. I take heart knowing that He is both patient and gracious with me, allowing me to make bad decisions in order to bring me closer to His Son’s identity.

      I think the objective behind us trying so hard is fairly simple: approval feels good. The downside? It lasts but only a few minutes, or if we’re lucky a day or two; and then we are left empty and starving once more. The cure? To love from strength, not from need. I am learning this, oh so very slowly, but I AM learning!

      “I have to believe it works both ways and maybe some of the good Light within us will spill over into their darkness.” ~ LOVE!

      Love you, dear lady. Thank you always for your insight and thoughts.

      ~ Cara

  4. Dear Friend, may I suggest a non-fiction book that is helpful to me in my struggles? It is written by an Australian Christian who writes extraordinarily meaningful YA fantasy. I won a copy by commenting at this author’s website:

    The title is God’s Poetry, The Identity & Destiny Encoded in Your Name. Though this sounds frightening, perhaps deterministic, it isn’t, and it may bring another blessing as you continue to follow His lead:

    Praying for the Lord’s will for you as His dear one, His Cara,

  5. As I’ve gotten older, I find that the wheels aren’t turning as feverishly as they used to. I’m enjoying the mellower me, but sometimes I do miss the excitement of my fired-up former self!

    I hope you are doing well, Cara!

    • Something to aspire to, Elisa! I look forward to the slowing of the gears. Until then, I breathe slowly and fix my ears on the sound of Him and I.

      I am well, thank you! Blessings to you and your family..

  6. It is funny that when I was younger I was definitely over thinking all the damn time. I would think through the conversations with people before they even started and I couldn’t sleep at nights because I was planning things out for the next day. At some point it stopped, but I can still relate to most of those thoughts. Nowadays, when I realize I’m starting to think too much I just go for a good run or something, to get my mind away. Followed you btw. Good blog! 🙂


    • Hi Mari!

      It’s very nice to meet you!

      Oh, you certainly nailed it when you said, “I would think through the conversations with people before they even started.” This I do, assiduously, until half the night is squandered away in hypothetical scenarios. I am learning — for my own sake — to turn it off and focus on the sound of my own breathing if necessary. Exercising is my safe place, too. I never ever feel as strong, empowered, beautiful, clear, and capable as when I am challenging my my body to its limits.

      Thanks for following along — heading over to you!

      ~ Cara

      • Glad to find people who understand the hypothetical scenarios – last person I tried confiding in effectively told me off for wasting time!
        But it’s mostly when I’m walking, not trying to sleep. I’m surprise to find running can help – always worked on the principle that however far you run, you can’t escape from yourself.

      • Rosalie,

        It is a rare person indeed, with both the patience and equanimity to sit and listen to hypotheticals. “If it hasn’t happened, then what is the point of discussing it?” This is usually the perspective of someone without our struggle, and that is okay. We weren’t made to understand everything about everyone, but God is merciful in bestowing on us a few blessed souls who sing our hearts song. Those are the gems.

        Running, exercising, singing — all these things help to quiet the noise. I am grateful for distractions, but even more so for the ability to chat with my Creator any time I like. 😉

        Happy Monday to you!

  7. An eye opener to all who who reads with her/his heart. These are just beautiful my friend. They speak with so much truth, faith and honest self realization. I told my wife so many times that we need to stop worrying what others say and listen more to what our hearts always want to do as well as what our faith wants us to follow. God is the only one who knows everything that is good for us. Happy Holidays. Thanks.

  8. Dearest Cara- I can most certainly relate, as always, to your nonstop thinking. It is annoying and never ending, but alas, the way I have been made, too. Also, I was smirking a bit as I was reading about your “episodes” and about those people that seem to always bring on your “episodes.” I was smirking because I myself had just finished having an episode approximately an hour prior. And by episode, I mean a good 15 minutes of heavy sobbing in the bathroom floor due to a conflict of sorts with a coworker. I will echo to you all that I said to myself- “you are worthy, you are enough, and its okay to be sensitive :)” Thanks for sharing! – Amber

    • Amber, I feel you and are constantly surfing the same wave length. 😉 It’s nice to know — even if you’re a little ways east — someone out there gets the intangible things.

      Yes, yes, yes. I have been there, too, my friend. In public you put on a quavering smile, all the while you are hightailing it to a isolated place where you can unleash your sobs into a wad of toilet paper. My go to is usually the car . . . and it is there that you words reach me, spoken from the Creator’s mouth. Thank you for this reminder — especially the last part. In a world where everyone has an opinion about how people should behave and respond, it is good to know that it’s not only okay to be just as I am, but that the King of this world wants nothing less!

      P.S. Had I been there I would have joined you in that stall, preparing your tissue wads. 😉

      ~ Cara

  9. I wonder how much of this desire to please people is left over from childhood? I recently identified ‘a voice’ that holds me back from writing certain things as being the fact that I thought my mother wouldn’t approve.She’s been dead fifteen years.
    More subtle is the influence of someone who has played a big part in helping me forward in my Christian life and has issued challenges I know to be from God. How to know when their opinion is merely their opinion?

    • Oh, I would imagine the bulk of what we bear in adulthood stems from the lacerations and pummeling we receive during childhood. Your mother’s expectations and high standards executed themselves on you so strongly, that even when the words were no longer audible, you still heard them. Those bruises take much, much longer in healing. A child’s mind is very spongy; whereas adults tend to be selective with what they allow to “pass,” children, in their innocence, tend to accept ALL as truth and certitude. It has taken years of healthy relationships and intentional unlearning to help fade the marks left on me.

      Thankfully and magnificently we have a great, glorious God who, through His Son’s sacrifice, sees us as perfect beings, worthy of existing eternally with Him. And not only that, but He wishes to engage with us on a daily basis, to be our friend. God? My friend? This mind cannot fathom it, though I am grateful. The only opinion that matters, if I may say so, is God’s. Everything else is under Him.

      Hope you’re well, Rosalie!

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