sleeping with the light on.

Some nights you sleep with the light on. 

Some days are followed by nights that demand more than a metaphorical light piercing the darkness. So you leave the light on. A tangible weapon to defend yourself from the darkness that threatens to overtake you. 

Tonight I sleep with the light on. 

Bombs dropping. Children murdered. Cities in uproar. Lives being taken by hands of others and lives being taken by our own hands. 

Oh God, it’s dark. 

And as much as I would like to stand up against it all as a beacon of hope…tonight, I cannot. 

Headlines are one thing. Reminding you over and over how everything seems to have gone to hell. It’s a whole other thing to see the demons staring back at you in the mirror. Depression stole another {prominent} life this week. And you heard about it. Chances are your phone buzzed multiple times letting you know that a life was no more. And we wept. And rightly so. It is a tragedy. 

But. What doesn’t make the front page of your newspaper are the not so prominent ones who choose to take their lives each day. Your phone doesn’t buzz. Video montages are not readily available. No one dedicates a twitter feed. And you don’t see a slew of Facebook/twitter/tumblr/Instagram posts proclaiming that the world “lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings.”

I sat in my car tonight, alone, and I thought about my story. My name would never make CNN or Foxnews or your Facebook timeline. But my story isn’t that much different. Depression is a relentless bastard. Caring not of tax brackets or job title. He doesn’t give a flip about how many movies you have made or how well you manage your home. He lies and cheats and steals. He steals your hope. Your joy. Your sense of direction. He leaves you feeling trapped and suffocated and alone. And after he has whispered those lies for a good long while, he whispers that there is a way out and all too often we choose to believe him. Because, honestly, we just want the shit in our heads to stop. 

So. Tonight I leave the light on. 

It’s the only thing I have right now to combat the darkness.

It’s the only thing I have to tell the whispers – the lies – to stop. 

I leave the light on because the headlines are too much and the despair is so heavy. 

I leave the light on because, while I cannot be a beacon of hope, I believe one still exists. And this lamp is just a reminder. 




I like to be in control.

This surely cannot be a surprise to anyone who actually knows me.

My books need to be alphabetized by last name of the author and I have been known to pull every single one off the shelf only to place them back in the exact place they were previously housed. They need to be just so and I have lost hours upon hours making certain they remain that way. My DVDs are the same. They have a home and they need to live there for all their days. If roommates take one down, I’ll know. Then I keep a watchful eye making sure it’s journey ends right where it began.

I count things.

I know exactly how many steps it takes to get from one room to another. I know how many stairs led up to each one of my apartments. When I am reading, words jump off the page in groups of three. (So, that sentence, without punctuation, looks like this in my head – [when I am] [reading words jump] [off the page] [in groups of] [three] – so therefore, that sentence is not appealing to me. That dangling word makes me cringe inside.)

My shampoo bottles need to face north. The lock button on my keychain gets pushed three times every time I leave my vehicle. And I never set my alarm on anything that is a double digit, a multiple of five, or an even number. (Think 7:53. or 5:27)

Over the past several years, with the help of medication, these OCD tendencies have {externally} quieted down a bit. I remember when my counselor first asked me if I thought there was a possibility that I have OCD. I literally laughed in her face.

And then I began paying attention.

She said that often times people who self harm also battle OCD and that the two are usually linked. Mind blown. It makes sense though, doesn’t it? The need for and search of control.

~ ~ ~
The first one to catch my eye was dated 1937. I quickly ran to retrieve a penny of my own so that I could buy this one for myself.

My obsessive collecting of pennies began that day.

Each day that I was charged with counting down the drawers I searched. I dug through hundreds of pennies just looking for the right dates and the lovely wheat that stamped it’s back.

I began keeping change in my pocket so that I could easily buy back any penny I found to be of some worth to me or add something of value to my collection. This quickly escalated and I found myself rummaging through the pennies any time I opened the change drawer.

It was slightly out of control.

~ ~ ~

Just weeks before my first penny discovery I broke up with the razors that had, for so long, been my companions. OCD or not, I knew that if I didn’t do something – if I didn’t stop trying to control things – I would control things straight to my grave.

At first I started counting days. Days of “sobriety”, I would say.
Then, counting days was just too difficult.
Each morning I was convinced that I would not make it until tomorrow.
So, without even thinking about it, I started counting pennies.

~ ~ ~

I can’t help but think that God collects pennies, too.

He searches out and buys back. 
He picks the ones marked and stamped and different. 
He digs through the mess and brokenness to find the ones forgotten by time.

I can’t help but think that God finds great value in the ones the world considers worthless.

And if I think that, I have to believe that it applies to me.

He searches me out and buys me back.
He picks me, the one marked and stamped and different.
He digs through the mess and brokenness and finds me, the one forgotten by time.

God finds great value in me, the one who the world may consider worthless.

~ ~ ~

So today, I am choosing to not be in control.
Because I believe God collects pennies, too.

I am not going to count. I am not going to rearrange. I am not going to attempt to work things out on my arm. I am not going to collect. I am not going to meticulously order and reorder things.

I am simply going to be found. 
I am going to be bought back.