one of the biggest traits i retained from the kidnapping was learning how to act like everything was ok.
within the first few hours of being kidnapped, the kidnappers, bohlo knife in hand urged us, “don’t cry…or we’ll kill you.” from that moment on, i began to perfect the art of proving to everyone, no matter what was going on in my life, that i was ok.
so here i am 15 years later, with towers of smiles to cover up the chaos and enough issues for my very own miniseries on lifetime. and as i write, i can’t help but scream to myself, “the jig is up nOwie – everyone is going to know you’re crazy.” but i will push through because for once, i am giving myself the freedom to be what i am – complex.
my pukang power playlist has been on repeat these past few weeks and i was listening to one of my favorite jessie j songs, “who you are.”
while most of her lyrics resonate with me (especially party in the usa haha), one in particular moved me to tears. “it’s okay not to be okay.” and there it was. my inner conflict summed up into one sentence. just be okay with not being okay. because really? i’m not.
my dad has stage 4 brain cancer. as a family, we have been fighting, giving in, praying, & living at the mercy of this damn illness. and it’s hard. really hard. living in a cancer house is a mix of tragedy and beauty. while on some days, we are enjoying the simplest of things like my dad’s taste buds working or giant cupcakes or simply waking up to another day .. but on most days we are hanging on death’s door. wondering, hoping, crawling. we, as a unit, operate as one to simply survive while inside the house but outside, you probably would have no idea of the chaos we live in. my cousin and i will smile, make jokes, buy you a drink, celebrate life and never once flinch at the constant pain that is the subtext to our waking lives.
and here’s why. that’s what we do. for a family that has seen endless amounts of crazy, my mom says, “we cry hard but we party harder.” its complicated. i don’t wan’t people to feel sorry for me. i don’t want to ask for help. i rely mainly on the Lord’s strength and comfort for hope. sometimes i just need to get away from anything related to my house. i don’t want to be vulnerable. i don’t want people to think i can’t hang. i don’t want my crazy to show. but you know what? it’s not quite working anymore.
i’m noticing my crazy slipping out in weird ways. the chaos of a cloud that follows me is starting to rain on people around me and i’m starting to drown. and with that simple line, i realized, that its okay. it’s okay that i’m not okay. it’s okay to let some people in to share what i’m going through. it’s okay to not always be the happy one or the fun one or the one who’s got everything together. it’s okay that i haven’t figured everything out.
i’ve got a God who loves me and loves this family. He has blessed us with mounds of surprises during this time but the one blessing i refuse to accept is the people who love me and the beautiful complexity of this situation. so here i am, ready to unlearn a trait i’ve hung on to for so many years. ready to accept my chaos and to maybe let that chaos be something i can work with instead of against. i mean, all the best artists are kinda crazy anyway right? …..riiiiigggght.