Saturday, November 3, 2012


Do you ever feel like you have so much to say but because you have so much to say, it all gets muddled together into a big mess?

I feel like I need to write tonight, but I'm not sure what I want to write about because I've got so much I want to say. 

The theme of my life lately has been transition. Well, the theme of my life since September 21, 2010 has been transition, but now that transition is transitioning into a different type of transition. 

When I first graduated from Mercy Ministries, I was in a period of transition because I had to learn how to stand in the real world on my own two feet. It was very difficult, because I was still really learning what it meant to be free and how to deal with the curveballs that life threw at me. 

March 2011, I officially graduated high school. That was yet another transition. I was done my mandatory 13 years of education. I had to decide what I was doing with the rest of my life. Holy dang that felt like a huge weight on my shoulders.

Then came September 2011. I started my first year of college. Of course, that is another huge transition to undergo. That really was my first experience in the "adult" world. I was not even 19, and I was surrounded by 40 year olds in my classes. I'd always prided myself in being "more mature" than my peers, but to be thrown into a world where my peers were at least a decade older than me was terrifying to say the least. 

What two things do those three transition periods have in common? Simple. 1) The Unknown and 2) My eating disorder.

Each time that I walked into a season of transition in the past, I would get so overwhelmed. I had no idea what came next and that terrified me. I tried with all my might to figure things out, but I just couldn't do it and every time, I went back to the familiarity of my eating disorder. I didn't have to face the changes that were taking place if I was fully engaged in the eating disorder, and quite frankly, I didn't want to. I was much more comfortable with the the familiar evil than the unknown possibility.

As a result of that, I ended up back in treatment this summer. I did a day treatment program at a hospital nearby. I was there for 8 weeks. Ironically, the program that some people enter after they complete the intensive day treatment program is called transition. I didn't participate in transition though. 

Coming out of treatment once again, I entered another period of transition. This time, I was determined not to go back to the eating disorder. I had to figure out what life was going to look like for me, and that meant not going back to school this semester. It meant finding a private therapist to see every two weeks. It meant working at a flower farm. It meant letting go of all the friends that I'd held onto that were holding me down. 

Yeah, it's scary. Yes, I'm having to face the unknown. Yes, I'm up against a lot of circumstances that are beyond my control. And yes, the pull of the eating disorder is getting stronger and stronger lately, and I'm not going to lie and say that I haven't let it back in to an extent. So how is this time different, you may ask?

I can't put my finger on it exactly. I think it's just got something to do with the fact that I'm growing up. I'm 20 years old now, and while that is still very young, I'm really an adult now. There's no running from it, and I don't want to run anymore. I feel different. I feel like I'm equipped with all the tools I need to stand firm through this time...because I have no doubt that at some point, this season will end. After all, that's what seasons do. One ends, and another one will begin. 

I guess in the midst of the chaos of this season, I'm standing firm in the knowledge that I don't have to make everything go my way in order to call it a success. There's less pressure from myself to do it the "right" way, but rather, I'm just allowing myself to go with the flow. I'm trusting God that I'll end up where He wants me eventually...and I don't need to run and hide from all the changes. 

I don't even know if this made sense...because my thoughts towards this subject have yet to be fully formed...but I feel better having written it, and I guess that's what matters. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

An Issue of Identity

Man, I feel like I'm obsessing over this idea of authentic community. I literally can't go a day without thinking about what it means, and how it relates to my life in the moment and in the future.

I'm pretty sure that I'm getting myself back into that rut of analyzing things and running them into the ground. There's no possible way I can force anything to happen just by thinking of all the potential outcomes of a situation. I actually have to get out there and act on my revelations otherwise it's all for nothing.

I keep finding myself going back to friendships that I've had since I moved here and wanting to make them work when quite frankly, it's just not going to happen and I know that. Yet, I still go back to them and set myself up for failure and disappointment time and time again because that's what's familiar. It's my comfort zone.

I think I've been believing the lie that I can't experience community until I move away from Hamilton. That feels so true but only because I'm not being intentional about branching out and meeting new people in the area. I'm so focused on getting the heck outta dodge that I've been consumed by researching other places, other schools, other cities...and neglecting the opportunity to build relationships and community right here.

I don't have to move to a different country/province/state/continent to find solid, Christian friends...I just need to take the blinders off and open my eyes to the different people (who I most likely have yet to meet).

One reason that I haven't been following through on my desire for new friendships is because it's a lot easier to handle being rejected when I know it's coming. Going to a new church, making new's all unknown. While that is exactly what I want, it's also incredibly terrifying. I'm scared that I'm going to put myself out there and have my heart trampled all over my an entirely new group of people. I honestly don't know what it means to legitimately be a part of a thriving group of friends. I've always felt as though I'm just riding on other people's coat tails; like I'm just tagging along but don't actually belong.

It's more than just that though. I've never felt like I belonged how can I develop meaningful friendships if I am constantly self-sabotaging? I think that at the core of this whole issue, it all goes back to finding my home in His heart. Until I feel like I've found where I belong and am secure in that, I won't be looking to friendships to find where I belong. And I won't be constantly surrounding myself with people who don't want me around because I don't want to be around.

That really is what it comes down to. I need to be secure in my identity as a daughter of the King, secure in the fact that He is my only constant, my Home. That's the only way I'm going to experience anything remotely similar to freedom in this any area really...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Late Night Ramblings About Loneliness, etc

Tonight, I`m struggling.

I`m not entirely sure why. I`ve had a decent day. Spent time with God this morning, went in to Toronto for a bit, came home, visited a friend, then had my dance recital, but in the midst of it all, that loneliness I`ve been so accustomed to began to set in again.

When I`m here in Hamilton, I often feel as though I`m on the outside looking in at the rest of the people I`m surrounded by doing life together, but I`m just...not included. Now, don`t get me wrong. I know that I am to an extent. I`m sure part of what I`m experiencing as loneliness is simply just me adjusting the yet another major transition in my life, but I`m also aware that the reality is that I honestly don`t have the same level of friendship with people here in Hamilton as I do in Nashville and California. I`m not known on such an intimate level, and I miss it.

I have the desire to know and be known. I have the desire to be in a community of believers that desires my presence instead of ignoring it. Tonight as I lay here in my bed pondering life, I can`t help but wonder when it will be my turn to be included, wanted, loved, and accepted for who I person...on a consistent basis.

I have this awful tendency to place more value on the relationships I have with other people than my relationship with God. As I wrote in my last blog, He is the only one who is always consistent, loving, safe, and secure. Since I wrote that blog, I really have been spending time seeking Him and trying to find my place in His heart. That is surely the most important thing I will ever do.

However, I would love to have a tangible person in my life. Someone who I can call friend who is able to do as it says in the Scriptures. "As iron sharpens iron, let one man sharpen another." I want a Christian friend who will love me so much they won't hesitate to call me out on things I shouldn't be doing or encourage me in hard times, or celebrate and rejoice with me when life is going well. I want our friendship to be reciprocal.

Maybe this blog sounds a bit like a pity party. That's not my intention. I suppose that this is me being real. I'm struggling with loneliness tonight. My emotions are all over the place and I'd rather shut down and block all of this out, but that would be allowing them to control me.

As Grandma Joyce says, "Feelings are fickle." To have emotions is a very natural, human thing. I would even go so far as to say it's a good thing to be able to experience emotions, but when they take over your life in any way, it's too much. I don't want to be a slave to my ever-changing emotions, but I do feel as though I need to acknowledge them because pretending they don't exist never gets me anywhere.

So, I'm feeling lonely.
Fact: I'm not alone. Not even here in person. I have people in my life here who care about me. They do the best they can with where they're at right now, and I will accept that. God is with me also. Always. God is always with me, therefore I am never alone...even in the loneliest seasons.

Random though that relates to this topic that just popped into my head...I think I've been expecting perfection from my relationships, not just from myself. I've been placing a standard on my friendships and if they don't meet that standard then they're not "real" friendships. Really, Alexis? Really? I've been limiting myself and cutting myself off from some people who really don't need to be cut off...because although they didn't meet my standard, these people genuinely want to be my friends.

Tonight, I'm setting aside my expectations. I'm setting aside my standards (not compromising them. They're still there...). I commit right now to opening up to the idea of imperfect friendships. I mean, after all my talk about authentic community, you'd think I'd already come to that conclusion, but apparently it took until to 2:30am this morning to realize that in authentic, real is not perfect.

Man. I feel like I'm all over the place tonight. That being said, good night world. I'll see you in the morning.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

His Heart is My Home.

I haven't posted on here feels like forever. I would apologize for the inconsistency, but I'm not writing this blog for anyone besides myself so I won't. :)

As I was reflecting on my last few posts just now, I'm realizing that I'm still contemplating the same things that I was when I wrote the posts. Community and home...except now I feel as though it's evolved a bit.

I'm in California right my friend Monique's house. It's been really great to be here because I feel like I'm learning so much simply by watching her interact with the people that God has placed in her life. Her community. I have honestly never experienced anything remotely similar to the kind of community and friendship that is so evident in this place.

The authenticity of their relationships is like a breath of fresh air. I would love to develop relationships like that. They don't hide who they are. They're just...real. They are the truest example I know of what it means to do life together. Even the church that they pastor...the congregation is full of some seriously messed up people, but they don't hide it. I'd rather be in a church where people are real about their flaws, addictions, issues, etc than be in a church where everyone hides behind a facade and pretends to be the perfect Christian.

I know that I've definitely been guilty of hiding my true self because I feel ashamed of my struggles. I feel ashamed that I'm not the perfect Christian, but really...who is? The only perfect human being that ever walked the face of this earth was Jesus Christ...and even He was tempted. I'm tired of the religious, stuck up, fake Christian. I'm tired of being that person.

Depending on the people I'm with, I feel as though I have to put on a different face with each group. With the "Church" people, I feel the need to be perfect. With another group of friends, I feel like I have to be super depressed and sick. The truth is...I don't live in either extreme. I'm not perfect, obviously...but at the same time I'm not completely hopeless. I feel like I live somewhere in the middle. Sometimes I lean further in one direction than the other, but I'm never on either extreme. I have the hope of the gospel, but if I'm going to be completely honest, I'm struggling with some things that I've been dealing with again very intensely for the past year or so. I'm tired of hiding where I'm at. I'm tired of living a life with multiple masks and with no one seeing who I really am.

At the same time, I know that I can't trust every single person and just pour out my burdens on each person I come in contact with. Not only is that not conducive to building healthy relationships, it's a very dysfunctional way of interacting with the outside world. Boundaries are in place for a reason, but I don't have to turn my boundaries into impenetrable fortresses either. Right now, I don't feel like I have many super safe people in real life who I can even begin to build that trust with. BUT...I need to remember that I do have people in Nashville and California who are more than willing to put in that time to build solid relationships with me. I've got big sisters who will hold me accountable, and I've got friends who will be there to laugh with me and rejoice with me and cry with me.

Now that I've seen a true life example of what authentic community looks like, I know what I'm aiming for. It's been really cool to see it in action.

Now onto the second topic of the night....home.

As I posted in my last blog, I've really been struggling with the thought of home. Trying to define home has been a great challenge for me, and I've struggled with setting an official definition of home for myself.

Today, I was talking to my friend, and she shared a revelation that she had a little while ago while thinking about the concept of home as well. It's just a simple sentence, but it packs such a punch. There's so much truth in five words.

His heart is my home.

If I'm walking with in His will...dwelling in constant communion with God, then I am home. If I want a home that is consistent, loving, safe, secure, and constant...the only place that I can be sure to find that is to find my place in His heart.

I've always been so focused on the physical location of home, or the things that I want in a home, or other earthly, temporal things that I desire but the truth of the matter is that anything that is not....God...will ultimately end. People may reject me. I may move away from a house...but God is omnipresent. He's never going anywhere. I can trust Him fully to provide the best home for me.

He knows my deepest longings, darkest secrets, faults, failures, hopes, and dreams. He loves me in spite of all the times I mess up, and He has a great plan and purpose for my life. In order for me to find my home, I need to seek His heart more than I ever have in my entire life.

God's Word says that He's able to provide abundantly more than I could ever ask, seek, or I think it's time that I start seeking Him to find my home. He'll provide me a better home than I could ever imagine.

As I embark on this lifelong journey of finding my home in His heart, I challenge you to join me. Spend some time seriously seeking His heart and finding where you fit. I promise you...He has a spot prepared just for you.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What is Home?

I've really been struggling with the concept of home lately, and I feel like I'm going to be exploring the concept some more, but here's the first thing that I wrote about home.
The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
~ Maya Angelou

For my entire life...I've moved from one house to another to another. I've had many different bedrooms, schools, groups of friends. Each time, I have had to adjust to a new "home".
Unfortunately though, I've never felt safe at my house, my school, or with whatever group of friends I have had at a certain time.

I have never had a true home.

You make ask, "What? How could you have never had a home?"

Well, to me, a home is a safe haven. It is a place where I can go escape from the troubles of my world and just be myself. It is a place where I know that I am loved unconditionally and I will never be rejected.

To me, a home is consistent. There is a sense of continuity - a place that I am comfortable enough to put down roots without the fear that everything will be torn out from underneath me. It is not a place where I don't know what to expect from day to day. I have never felt safe enough to settle and put down roots.

There is a sense of privacy and boundaries are respected, but there is also a supportive environment that enables a person to grow into the best person that they can be. There is balance somewhere between having to be independent and take care of myself and being smothered and overprotected.

A home should be a place where kids are allowed to be kids. They shouldn't have to take on adult responsibilities in elementary school. Age appropriate expectations are so important.

I have lived my entire life in fear - of my parents, of my peers, of lack, of myself.

Throughout my life, I've come up with different ways to keep myself safe and meet my need for security. The most consistent method that I have used is my eating disorder.

My eating disorder has been there for me to fall back on in times where everything seems uncertain. It is the perfect place to retreat into when I don't feel safe. Through my eating disorder, I was essentially able to say that I don't have needs, so I wasn't disappointed when they didn't get met. At the most extreme times of the eating disorder, I didn't feel anything. I couldn't think about anything other than food, and that was good. My life was crumbling around me and I was being abused and taken advantage of, but I was okay because I had my eating disorder. Thinking about it now, it's like the eating disorder became my protective became my home, and it stayed that way for many years.

The only other place that I felt safe was at Mercy. I allowed myself to come out of my protective shell and put myself out there. I still feel at home whenever I walk through the doors of Mercy Ministries. At Mercy, I fit. I belonged there. All my needs were met. I had support, and I created a family. Sometimes I get glimpses of "home" when I talk to some of the girls I was there with, specifically my friend Katherine. We may not be related by blood, but there is no doubt that we are sisters.

Anyways, now that I am going to treatment and the eating disorder isn't functioning in the role that it used to function in, I feel lost. I feel more lonely than ever, and this time, I don't know what to do about it. I kind of want to move - to recreate Alexis yet again...because that's what I know how to do.

Every time I have moved, I have gone into it hoping that I finally find a place to call home, but after all those unsuccessful attempts, I've come to the conclusion that it's not location that determines a home.

I have to find a place within myself where I am satisfied with myself in order to be at a place where I can maintain a "home" environment. I need to surround myself with the right kind of people.

It's not the location that matters.

It's me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


"I asked someone, as I often do, "Who's your community? Who lifts you up?" And this person -- who's had a life that would shake most of us to the core -- said, "Well, I'm talking to you!" I share this because sometimes we might be all the community that person has. That's sobering. (So let's be the best community we can be.)"
~ Barb Todd, All Saints Church-Community Centre

I found this quote as I was looking for placement options today. It really struck a chord with me.

All Saints Church-Community Centre has a drop-in program for women involved in the sex trade in Toronto - specifically in the Regent Park/Moss Park communities. I would LOVE to get involved with them in some way, shape, or form. I have a connection to someone who works there, and I'm definitely considering getting in touch with her.

Also, I'm trying to figure out a way to get to the Restore Toronto conference on Saturday. It's in Markham, but I would love to go. They're providing an opportunity for you to eat lunch with a number of different speakers/people from various organizations, and Barb Todd is one of them. I'm hoping that I can figure out transportation so that I can get there. I'd really love it.

Now...about the quote. Why did it strike such a chord that I decided to blog about it? Well, allow me to share. I understand what it's like to crave community, to desperately long to be a part of something. When the woman was asked, "Who's your community?" and answered, "Well, I'm talking to you!" it really got me thinking.

How often do I get so focused on being a part of something bigger, something better...that I forget to see the people who surround me on a daily basis? It's no wonder that I feel so lonely all the time. I'm always wanting bigger, better, more. I have yet to learn the art of simply being content with the people that I have in my life - whether I'm close with them or not. God has placed me in relationship with them, in community with them, for a purpose. I can't ignore that anymore just because they're not my ideal community.

Also, the quote got me thinking about how it's possible that I could be the only community that someone has. If I'm so focused on me, me, me...then who's to say that I'm not contributing to someone's sense of deep, profound loneliness. What's the point of striving to rid myself of my own sense of loneliness while contributing to another's sense of isolation?

Instead, I need to shift my focus from me to them. From me to you. I need to stop looking for community, stop looking for where I fit. I need to start investing in people and being community to them. I need to be the best community I can be, not out of a place of selfishness, but a place of selflessness...and then as I walk in that selflessness, I'll begin to benefit myself.

How profound.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

All I Ask Is That You Make Time...

And now for the real reason I reappeared on this blog!

I posted something on Crackbook (as my dearly beloved prof from last semester, Percy, calls it [for good reason]) about an hour ago. Just a short little status update, but it holds significant meaning in my life right now, and apparently it struck a chord with a lot of people.

"If someone matters to you, you make time for them. It doesn`t matter how busy you are, or how chaotic your life is. If you want them in your life, you will make a way. It`s as simple as that."

To be honest, it was just a venting status. It wasn't intended to be some wise or profound statement. I just wanted to speak a little bit of truth in a fairly kind way that probably wouldn't be interpreted with as much...anger and frustration that I'm feeling at the moment.

There are some people in my life right now who say they care and that they want to get together and that I am so precious to them. Honestly? I think that's a bunch of freaking BS. I've gotten my hopes up time and time again that I might be developing a real, healthy friendship with someone, only to find out that really, I don't matter to them at all.

I'm tired of being around people who say they love me but when I try to make plans, they say they're busy or they'll get back to me when they're free. I see these people making plans with other people in their lives on a spur of the moment whim, but I'm not important enough to them for them to give up one hour of their precious, valuable time to sit and chat with me about random things at a coffee shop?

I really don't want to hear anyone say, "Well, clearly you're just not pursuing them enough." Or, "You just need to try harder to be more social." I've been working my freaking ass off even when I feel like complete and utter crap to get out and do things and be social. I'm doing the opposite action (to throw in some DBT speak ;))and I'm trying really hard.

When someone means the world to me, I will make time for them. If someone says they need to talk, I will drop everything (and I understand there are some responsibilities such as work that cannot be dropped at their own convenience) to be with that friend when they need me.

I don't know if it's too much to ask, but I'd really like to be afforded the same type of value in a friendship.

It's really discouraging to me to know that the very people that I want to be in relationship with...just don't feel that I'm worth the effort.

Pride Comes Before A Fall...

I haven't blogged on here in a long time...and it's not for lack of trying.

Every time I start to write something, even if it's just an update about school...I freeze. I have to delete everything I write because it feels fake. It doesn't feel genuine in the least. That's not what this blog was ever supposed to be about, so I just haven't written.

I suppose the only thing that has really prevented me from posting on this particular blog has been pride. You know that whole statement, "Pride comes before a fall"? Well...I now know for certain that it is true.

I was convinced that I would be able to make this year different from every other year of school I have ever had. I would have to say, I definitely succeeded in that. Last semester blew my mind. I pushed myself to my limits academically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and then I pushed past those limits to previously uncharted territory.

I finished a semester of school. Handed in all of my assignments on time. Got 100% on practically every assignment (except in one class...but there weren't even any assignments in this was just attendance and it just so happened that most of my important appointments landed during this time period.) My final GPA was 3.65. I'd say that's pretty dang good for someone who wasn't even expected to graduate high school. the midst of pushing myself past my limits, I pushed myself over the edge of exhaustion. I wasn't sleeping. I wasn't making time for food. I wasn't even really making time for God. Oh, I pretended I was doing just fine...until one day I realized that I wasn't. Needless to say, I'm back in counselling.

Looking back, I think I was intentionally setting myself up for failure. I expected to fail academically (though i was busting my ass to stay on top of things), so I would just prove to myself that I really couldn't do this. That I couldn't succeed...because ultimately, I'd rather not try at something than try and fail. Awful, I know. But true. Very, very true. When I didn't fail academically, I kind of freaked out. I was already vulnerable because I wasn't sleeping, and I wasn't really eating properly. I was convinced that SOMETHING had to give. So...then...I made it. The eating disorder escalated again. I thought I could control it and be okay, but then I started getting really depressed too. Eating disorders + depression + lack of sleep + intense perfectionism = an absolutely miserable young woman who really just wants nothing more than to give up and crawl back into a little hole and never come out.

I spent my break trying to figure out what I'm going to do to get back on track. No. That's not true. I spent my break trying to figure out if I WANT to get back on track. I've come to the conclusion that I do...most of the time. How I intend to do this? Well, that has yet to be determined. For now, I'm waking up each morning, spending time with God, and taking each day one step at a time.

I feel like I shouldn't be posting this. I feel like I should be keeping this all a big secret. I'm ashamed of this hole that I've dug for myself. The thing is...silence isn't getting me anywhere. Of course, a few people know that I've been struggling and really, that's the only thing that's super important anyways...but still.

I want to continue to post on this blog as I feel the desire to, and I don't want to feel that I can't because I'm struggling. It's my blog. These are my words and these are my words. If you don't like it...please, just...leave. Thanks. :)

And now that I've posted this blog, I can get on to the actual blog that I wanted to post tonight. Yay. I don't feel like a complete fraud anymore. :)
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