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Buried Lives

Posted by on July 16, 2018

Life has a way of burying us. Layers of dirt and grime, fear and hurt, disappointment and lies, silencing our voices and confining ourselves to a box until we forget who we are. If we aren’t careful, those layers will eventually kill us.

Because when life buries us alive and silences our voices, we self-destruct.

It’s the journey I’m on. I could say it started in 2017 when I chose IDENTITY for my word for the year. It went along with Fearless and Bloom from the previous years. Perhaps it began the year I helped Nadine Brandes with her Called2Speak blog tour. But in reality, it’s been going on for a lot longer than that. I just didn’t realize it yet.

I’ve been digging deeper, stripping away the layers, trying to set my soul free, trying to discover who I really am. Not without my moments of self-destruction, nor moments of flying high. I admire those who can open their hearts and be real, sharing their struggles and victories. It reminds us we are not alone. Because when we think we are, the voices get louder and the layers get deeper.

And then I find stories and movies that resonate with me, it shows me I’m not alone. They also show me what happens if I keep allowing life to bury me. If I keep burying myself.

No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending by Esther Fleece hit it square on the head for me. Here was a book that gave voice to my own struggles. I have been shutting down my emotions all my life. Even when I thought I was reaching out for healing. It was only surface level compared to the depth of the iceberg beneath it.

When I finally watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and saw what became of Credence because he tried to squash his true identity, it was a visual representation of what was going on inside of me. The darkness created by words held back, thoughts caged, pain silenced, feelings denied until it exploded. Not without consequences. It was warning me. If I kept denying who I was, I would self-destruct. I could feel it.

Last week I was reading The Story Peddler by Lindsey A. Franklin, and there was a scene that reminded me of Credence. A lady who had buried her true identity, and it was destroying her. Another warning of what happens when we try to squash our true selves.

The same message, three times, and within a year! And what was I going to do about it?

I am tired of the fear, the lies, the layers of dirt and grime burying me, silencing me. Our art, stories in my case, is the expression of the soul, and if we allow life to silence us, then our art fails. And what better message our stories can show than this: we are not alone.

I guess this is what happens when I choose a word like identity for my word of the year, or more like decade. The journey to delve deeper to discover has been wildly challenging, and I have yet to find my voice. But I’m getting there. One step at a time. I’m not sure where this journey will take me or what the next step will be. It will probably get messy. But life is messy.

Isn’t it beautiful when the stories we read can resonate so deeply with us? What’s a story that has resonated with you and your journey?

5 Responses to Buried Lives

  1. Kessie

    Everybody I know is going through an identity crisis. Things change in your 30s, I guess. My brother and sister in law are rediscovering themselves. My husband and I have been rediscovering ourselves this year. Seems like it’s just the age we’re in. Kind of a mid-life crisis, I guess? Two years ago, I looked up from nursing the baby and told my husband, “I don’t know who I am anymore. Can you help me find out?” And he was delighted. So I started doing the things with him that we used to do, like play board games and video games together. And lo and behold, this started a very positive chain reaction in our marriage. I feel like I have a long way to go. And reading Dean Wesley Smith’s Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing has been massively, massively refreshing to me. You want to excavate the layers, man, Dean does it with a bulldozer and dynamite.

    • J.L. Mbewe

      Yeah, I agree, it comes with the territory for our age. This is something I’ve been struggling with since I was a kid, too. So, it’s a double whammy. Ha! I think it is awesome about you and your husband, though. I’ve visited Smith’s site, but will need to go deeper. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. storystorming

    A recent novel that spoke to me was “My Fault” by R.J. Conte because I felt, in some sense, that I WAS the characters. In high school, my word for myself was mediocre, and I’ve been struggling with feelings of inadequacy ever since… every time I struggle to come up with ideas or write… every time I receive criticism, even constructive. But God is teaching me to fight the thoughts that tell me I’ll never be enough. Thanks for sharing your struggles to remind us we’re not alone.

    • J.L. Mbewe

      Thank YOU for sharing with us your own struggles. I’ve heard a lot about “My Fault” by R.J. Conte. I’ll have to check it out. I’m so glad that you’re fighting to overcome those thoughts. Thanks for stopping by!

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J.L Mbewe - Author