Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I love spring.

I can finally say that although I don't understand all of it, I am grateful for what I have experienced this past year....It was like I'd been hit by a train. Depression leaves you with nothing to live for, you hardly have the will to open your eyes, even though you have everything to live for.

the earliest stage of my depression
that smile is not real; I didn't know what was happening to me

I know how suffering feels. I know how it feels to be completely hopeless, to feel like you've lost everything, like you're garbage, to loathe yourself. I know what it feels like to believe that God has abandoned you, and that it's all your fault.

Christmas Day 2005
I don't know who took this picture, but I didn't feel I was worth
the lipstick on my face; I'll spare the pictures on the days I didn't
make an effort to get ready for the day

But what a glorious gift it is to come to the realization that all of that is lies, and that in your suffering you have actually come to more fully know God, understand what He went through, and become more like Him.

This comes from my journal, February 2006. I was realizing that I was overcoming a near year-long battle with depression and that I was going to make it. As a result, that spring was especially meaningful to me. It was like as the world was coming back to life, so was I. I saw everything with new eyes. And every time spring comes around again, those same feelings and memories of being excited to live and love life again return more powerfully than they do at any other time of the year.

Some of the most important things that came to me as a result of this most defining time of my life so far was:

1. A deeper love and appreciation for family. I am not capable of expressing what I learned about how much my parents love me through this experience and how it brought me closer to each of my sisters and brother.

this is the picture that hung on the wall during my depression;
I remember looking at myself in the picture thinking
"where did that girl go?" I started to believe she wouldn't
ever come back

2. I met this boy not too long after

finding my ultimate definition of happiness after so much despair

and 3. I emerged with the assurance that GOD IS ALWAYS THERE, present, mindful of you, even when you are convinced He isn't. This understanding has helped me every single day as well as through other difficulties that have come.

The following song on this video brings me to tears when I consider it as a prayer. My sister Hailey discovered it when she went to Lion King last year, and I want to thank her for being a giver and letting me share it here, because I know it is meaningful to her as well. To anyone who has ever experienced an endless night. If you are still there, may you find the strength to hang on because I promise dawn will come.

It almost makes me uncomfortable to write this last part because I don't know how to say it, but there may be some of you reading this that remember this period of my life and you were part of the answer to many many prayers. Your concern, your love, your support, and unconditional friendship helped me to make it. Thank you.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Kept a Daily Journal for Five Days

The other night I tried starting a daily journal writing habit. It was on the computer which was supposed to be appealing because my hand wouldn't get tired. I kept it up for five days. Here's a sample of my first entry... and my last.

March 11, 2011
...I feel like I would like to catch what it feels like to live my life right now every day... in years to come, I want to be able to revisit this period of my life, because Danilo will eventually graduate from school and Grace won't always be a toddler, and I want to remember what it was like.

March 16, 2011
Okay... the honest truth is that so far this journaling isn't doing what I would like it to for me. I love love love to write and get a lot of satisfaction and fulfillment out of it. I pour my heart out a lot on my blog on matters that mean a lot to me... I guess I just feel like over the last four or five days I have stopped in and given a quick account of my day and not gotten much out of it. I will be making some decisions on how to continue....

So, I have a confession, or maybe a clarification, or a change of direction to make regarding this blog. I started a blog with the intention of making it a way to share what's going on with the Collado family. But as time has passed, I've found it really a satisfying way of saying things I feel like I need or want to say before I burst with excitement or love or gratitude or passion for something. So I think my blog is serving an important purpose for me. A good question is why I keep it online where people can look at it. I guess I hope that something I write can be useful or inspiring to someone I know or don't know and give them a little push in the right direction.

So while I'm posting things on the blog titled THE COLLADO FAMILY, I will really be writing things as Brittney sees and feels and experiences them. I guess that's what's been going on the whole time. I just feel better now that that's clarified. OF COURSE Danilo and Grace will be mentioned frequently because they are the stuff of my life. I just won't have to worry about how I'm trying to write about how I felt about the primary election or my love for my grandpa's hometown under the guise of what's happening in the Collado family. I feel better now that that's out. :)