Empathy

“Will I always fall asleep to dream to of mending up my wounds,

then wake to spend the day reliving every bruise

for the sake of a sad song, or a sweet repose,

or seeing the blood flow from the stitching

like it were a cavalry of demons in retreat, promising to leave me alone?

And I search for ways to define myself by some skeptical lack of trust,

because if I can’t trust in anything, then I’m not to blame for my lack of movement,

and I can abuse everyone’s pity, and I can convolute it.”

True words that help define my life by Levi The Poet.
I don’t write because I have anything new to say; I know that there is nothing new under the sun. I don’t write for attention, or pity, or to wallow in self loathing or to boast in my accomplishments. I write so that some might find a source of empathy within the stories I tell and the emotions I feel and the life I am living. I know that struggling, as painful as it is, brings forth new, beautiful things.

Sometimes, though, I take advantage of it. I become addicted to the bruises on my body and the scars on my wrist because they give me something to rejoice over when it’s all said and done: more room for empathy, more room for unexpected beauty. And I abuse it.

When I was a child, I never had a lack of knowledge when it came to loneliness. I lived with my mom, in a tiny apartment with my sister and my hamsters. She and my dad had just divorced, and it was unnerving to me when my mom stopped smiling and started acting funny. I was six. She would come home fine, then drink some stuff I wasn’t allowed to touch. Her uncontrollable laughter would only last for about an hour before she would start sobbing uncontrollably, screaming at pictures of my dad, telling me she hated him. That I was her world. That she thought she was a terrible mother and wanted to die.
My innocence was quickly replaced with sitting up with her all night, watching her sleep so I could make sure she didn’t hurt herself or my sister. And I was lonely. I didn’t understand.
One night my mom and dad got into a screaming fight on the phone while I was supposed to be asleep. Things had stared getting better, but I knew that tonight would turn sour. I got out of bed and went and sat in the arms of my giant teddy bear and just cried and cried, asking God to please help me.
And in that instant, before I could even finish my prayer, He wrapped me in his arms and told me that He was my protector. I fell asleep instantly.
Sometimes that lonely feeling is still so real to me today, and it haunts me in my sleep when I’m too tired to push it to the back of my mind. But it’s amazing to me that the comfort I received that night  is even realer, and that any time I think about that moment I cry out with a thankful heart.
Unfortunately, I am human and prone to fail time and time again. God gave me a moment of love and empathy; a gift I had never received before. I spent many years throwing myself into terrible situations, desperate for any small amount of that kind of love. I searched everywhere, telling everyone my story in return for a short-lived high fueled by people feeling sorry for me. And then I would feel lonely, so I would repeat the process. I still do sometimes.
And I’m wrestling with myself right now. I know that type of fulfillment only comes from God, but every time I catch a glimpse I become too afraid of loosing it to live a joyful life. But I do know the truth. Someday it will set me free.

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