Living Loved

Alyssa: Interior design major, sustainability minor, casual photographer, lover of Jesus. Engaged to Joey. Occasionally funny. Reader, writer, thinker. Everyone's big sister. INTJ.
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I think I have felt invisible for my whole life, and I have spent twenty years wanting to be noticed. I am almost pathetically desperate for affirmation and attention. It seems too easy to blame it on my family situation growing up, but I don’t know where else I would have learned to deeply internalize these feelings of inadequacy and this fear of rejection. 

I think it’s inevitable that our parents damage us. They are only human with hurts and scars of their own, and they pass those damages on to us. We just have to try to hammer out the dents and keep surviving.

Here’s what I know about myself:

  • I have a constant fear of abandonment. I never believe someone will be in my life permanently, and I think that I will drive everyone away eventually. Even Joey. It’s been 5 years since we met, and he is going to marry me, and there is a part of me that still thinks he is going to leave me.
  • I am deeply ashamed of myself. My body, my voice, the way I can’t shut up when I’m nervous, my mannerisms…  if someone doesn’t like me, I agree with them. I don’t like me either. 
  • I am desperate for attention. Some kids in school would act out to get the teacher to pay attention to them. I had a different approach— first hand up, first paper in, highest grade on the test. It’s never actually worked, which just kind of contributes to my feelings of worthlessness. Like, I am in college and I’m getting told to put my hand down. 
  • I am jealous. I compare myself to everyone, fully knowing that I will come up short. This is dangerously present in my relationship with my sister. I have always been jealous of the way people treat her— everyone has always seemed to liked her better (no wonder; I was awful), she was prettier and funnier and nicer and skinnier. I was the kid in the corner with a book, and my family has never forgotten that. And so, even now, I have this deep sense of resentment toward her… it hasn’t gone away even though I recognize it and confront it.
  • I also compare myself to my classmates and am endlessly frustrated that I am never the best at anything. I am constantly passed up for things I would be really good at. If I ever run for anything, I lose. Class president in high school, hall senate president in college… interior design organization VP… whatever it is, I’m not going to get it. It scares me that I expect this.
  • I am prideful. I’ve always felt that the only thing working in my favor is my brain, and so I’ve put all my self-worth into my brain and get very defensive when my intelligence is challenged. 
  • I am afraid. Of being forgotten, of being disliked, of driving people away, of being unlikable, of failure… that people who I think like me actually despise me.
  • (I’m also a little paranoid.)
  • I am constantly trying to make my family proud. I don’t know where this slipped into me, but there is always an underlying current of “you are failing your family” in my head. I am always trying to make my parents proud, to like… prove that I’m worthy of their love and their monetary investments in me. 

There is something in me that very deeply does not believe that I am worthy of love or friendship or happiness, and I don’t know how to make it go away. Being in design school has kind of brought all these feelings to the surface, because I only ever hear “it’s not good enough” from my professors. Obviously that’s just directed toward my projects, but I feel it echoing around inside me, driving itself deep into my heart. No, I’m not good enough, I know. I know.

I guess I just never feel like I’m seen for who I am. Because as much as I don’t like myself, there is also a part of me that feels like I am a good student/friend/designer and can never understand why no one else sees that. I am always trying to befriend people. Mostly because I like them, but also because I really want to be liked. I am everyone’s big sister because my own little sister didn’t want me to be that for her. I feel like I have to prove that I am not unlovable.

I’m confused as to how all of these things can exist within me at the same time. 

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, 
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Joey is here and we ate funnel cake and my heart is so so happy when we are together. This is a bad picture but LOOK AT THE HAPPY. SO MUCH HAPPY.

Update: Joey’s tummy did not like the funnel cake. Joey’s tummy is the only one that is not happy.

Asker lilytrimble Asks:
you seem like a very beautiful person inside and out and your relationship with your fiance is really cute and inspiring!! it's such to see such a godly relationship, even if it is just over tumblr. :) i just thought i'd tell you that
liveasloved liveasloved Said:

I hope it’s okay that I’m publishing this, but it just really really made my day and I want to put it in my Tumblr happy box.

Thank you so much for taking the time to send me this message :)

Fall in Arkansas: the hammocks are out in full force. This is one of my favorite things about our campus— the amount of trees and the amount of students lounging between classes.

  • Me: Hi, I'm Alyssa
  • Person: Melissa?

Villa d’Este | Tivoli | Italy

Hi. I’m feeling unsure of myself today and confused about how I look to other people. What do I seem like/ look like/ make you think of?

I took this picture of myself in the tent on Saturday, and I think I look pretty even though I wasn’t wearing makeup and my hair is crazy from sleep and that silly curl is sticking straight out.

So I’m just going to leave this here.

I know it is very hard to accept a love without conditions, but I know it exists: that He loved me when I was useless to him.
Brooke Fraser

(via cafespirit)

Spotify gave me this song today, and I’ve been on this guy’s page ever since. What beautiful music. Plus, this song features Brooke Fraser, who has the prettiest voice in the world. 

Sacrificial love and submission in a relationship is something that’s not popular in our culture these days, but it’s something that my relationship absolutely depends upon. 

I can see why people don’t like the idea. It conjures images of subservient wives, unquestioningly obeying their overbearing husbands who don’t care about their well-being. And those relationships do exist, but that narrative really detracts from the beauty of sacrifice. It also demonstrates what happens when the sacrifice is one-sided and not based in the Biblical love demonstrated by Christ.

Sacrificial love requires a lot of trust, and that’s always been hard for me. I watched my dad leave my family as a kid, and I’ve dealt with the fallouts of that for a long time. I am slow to trust, quick to put up my defenses, and prone to feelings of rejection. I am the victim of a broken world and the very real consequences of sin. (I am also sinful; I am selfish and unforgiving and prideful at times.)

In order for our relationship to work, I have to trust that he will attempting to love me as Christ loves the church; I have to trust that he will sacrifice his well-being for mine, that he will turn to God for guidance, and that he will pursue me when I try to run. In return, I sacrifice my pride and my autonomy. I don’t get to selfishly pursue my desires anymore. I put those aside and trust his leadership and his relationship with God to direct our lives on a larger scale.  

Obviously we both fail sometimes. But the beauty of this relationship is that failure is an expectation. When we recognize our sinfulness, we are free to expect failure. He is not my everything. His sinful self cannot make me whole, and I cannot make him whole. That role is for God and God alone, thank goodness. 

So this only works if both of us are doing it at the same time. If I am sacrificing and he isn’t looking to God or loving me more than himself, we end up with an unhealthy power dynamic that reduces me to servant and elevates him to an unloving master. If he is leading, loving, and pursuing and I am trying to do my own selfish thing, then I’m dragging us both off course and invalidating his half of the relationship. 

We can’t both lead the show. Parts of me kind of wish we could; I’m a good leader, a capable adult, and a strong woman. We both know that. This isn’t about him being better at anything than I am. Nor is it about forcing us into roles we can’t fill; sacrificial love looks different to everyone. It is about us walking through life together in a relationship that is whole and good and turned toward Heaven.  

We are equals. He trusts my advice and asks for my thoughts, and I have no doubt that when we are married he will do an excellent job leading our family. That’s why I’m willing to let him lead— I trust him. I know he bears the weight of that responsibility with seriousness. In return, he knows that I will support him fully, that I will be his helper and his lover and that I will also be looking to God for direction. 

There is something really beautiful in relationships where both parties are attempting to make the other as happy as possible, to love them as well as they possibly can. I hear so many people talking about the way Christian relationships are crazy and how submission in marriage is outdated and sexist. I can’t change their mind, but I would love to point them to the relationships I’ve watched where both the husband and the wife are seeking after God, loving each other, and supporting each other. Those are consistently the relationships where the wife is the most loved, most validated, and is truly treasured.

I’ve watched it work. I know it does. And I’m so, so looking forward to being part of a marriage that seeks to glorify God. I can’t wait to love Joey as fully as I possibly can. We have been practicing our love for a long time, but it won’t be fully realized until we are married. I’m glad we’ve been practicing, though; I’m happy that we are working on good habits now so that we can have an easier time when we are married. 

May 2016 can’t come fast enough.

(Note: I’m writing this from a Christian perspective; if you don’t agree, that’s cool, but this is my point of view on the topic and I would appreciate respect for that.)

This is Joey lead-climbing a 5.10.a cliff in Arkansas.

Lead-climbing means that he was going up without a rope at the top and was clipping his rope to the anchors in the wall as he went. If he fell, he would fall to his last clip-in, which you can see here is about 8 feet below him.

He was very impressive to watch, and that’s not just because I’m biased. He’s a really photogenic climber, which is super cool for his photographer fiancé. 

Anyway. I really like this shot. And yesterday was awesome and the only way it would have been better would be if I had had a hammock to chill out in while they were climbing for 7 hours. Instead, I sat on rocks.

Show me your worst,
And I will show you
How I love you
Just the same.