When I lived in California I would go to Del Mar beach as much as I could, with my camera in tow. I was taking a photography class so I finally had an excuse for taking so many pictures. Being behind the camera has always made me feel safe, I remember feeling lost, restless, confused and just walking along the beach thinking. The fresh air and the sound of the crashing waves calmed me, I felt a sense of peace near the ocean. I let my camera lead the way, following whatever caught my fancy. I often walked near the train tracks taking pictures from up above the beach. It may sound unusual but the sound of trains/coasters relaxed me, a sense of distraction from my thoughts.
I never thought I would get past the words written in this journal. Words driven by fear, anxiousness, emptiness, confusion, and countless tears pouring out onto the crisp white pages. I wrestled with the fear of being alone, and doubting my existence. My mind dripped with despair, my heart literally ached. The only way to feel some relief was writing out my thoughts, and praying. I constantly wrote about what I wanted, characteristics I desired in the allusive perfect man, and where I wanted to be in life. The only problem was, I was just writing my concerns, fears down, I wasn’t giving them to God, and actively seeking Him.
Why is being alone such a huge fear in young women? It was a question I often wrestled with, and it may not be true for every woman of course, but how often do we make decisions influenced by our fears? Fears of being alone, fears of failure, fears of rejection? Fear of (add your own here)
A few of my past fears:
Forgetting who I am.
Settling for less than I deserve.
Not being good enough.
Staying still, never feeling alive.
If I had realized that being alone isn’t a bad thing, it’s okay to not be in a relationship or have a man in your life. Just because you don’t have someone constantly reminding you of your beauty or accomplishments, it doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy. We are worthy in the eyes of God. I was in a relationship a few years ago with someone out of the fear of being alone, but also the fear of being left with my feelings. My feelings of regret, emptiness, shame, if I was with someone who made me laugh, and told me how beautiful I was, maybe those feelings would go away? How dumb was I to think that?? I was stuck in a rut of looking for temporary happiness, I was attracted to receiving shallow attention. I needed internal growth, I didn’t need to grow from experiences of bad relationships, and wrong decisions. Although I certainly have, but I needed to turn to God during those experiences, seeking Him with my brokenness, not covering up my wounds with more dramatic relationship problems.
Your smile brought me constant comfort, you had the ability to make me laugh so uncontrollably I’d snort, then we laugh together because I snorted, and then snort again because we laughed. You taught me to think more with my heart, and to love without hesitation. Showing me what it’s really like to be loved before and after the guard is down. When your eyes locked into mine, the world around us ceased to exist, your love for me was bold, unafraid yet gentle. You often uttered the three most precious words that every woman desires to hear, yet you didn’t need to. The way you stood up for me, always had my back, the way your eyes softened in my direction, every action spoke louder than those delicate eight letter words ever could.
Doubting your love never crossed my mind, I felt secure knowing I would be forever Loved. You were everything I thought I needed, and desired. My darkest thought, every shameful occurence, drunken regret, times of emptiness were all accepted in your eyes. It didn’t matter if I spoke in hostility, or acted on impulse, nothing would ever cause your love to run out. We were there for each other, through the pain you felt remembering your close friend’s struggle, and demise of addiction. I watched as the tears streamed down your soft cheeks, as your heart became completely exposed. The moment I realized how privileged I was to witness this side of you, and to comfort you through it.
Your embrace was the epitome of feeling secure, cherished, and truly vulnerable. You wiped away mascara filled tears, the salty streaks of black running down my pale skin, as I laid on my kitchen floor completely unravelled. You had a way of calming me down when my flare for the dramatics took hold, all the right words left your supple lips, even your long repetitive jokes triggered a smile. You knew every good, and awful thing about me, loving me anyways. You radiated with sheer confidence of a future of exchanging vows, embarking on new adventures, enduring every hurdle that would come our way. How were you so sure, how did you know I was the one? It broke my heart knowing that I couldn’t give you that kind of assurance. You told me how you knew you would never love someone again the way you loved me. Why couldn’t I feel the same way? I loved you, but I guess sometimes love isn’t enough. Or maybe it is, but maybe it wasn’t the right kind of love? Maybe I need to seek God’s love, and fully accept His love before I can truly give and accept love from within a relationship.
I’ve always felt a strong connection with horses, feeling safe, yet aware of the risk, trusting this 1000 pound animal with your life. Being on a horse is extremely exhilarating, freeing, captivating, and literally breathtaking. A beautiful escape into a carefree perspective, the everyday doubts, worries, unbearable stresses just fade away into the sand.
I’ve been getting my horse acclimated to dogs barking, kids playing, sirens blaring, and to my frequent stops, taking pictures of the beautiful nature. I love the perspective from the back of my four legged 1000 pound companion.
It is necessary in life to find something that refreshes, and recharges you, a hobby that gives you clarity, and new perspectives. Horseback riding and photography are outlets for me to step back, think, and process life’s obstacles. What are your outlets?
All photos are taken by me.