Why I Live Naked

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We are girls with skinned knees
We are concrete and grace
Here’s to the girls with bruises and scars.
– Superchick, “Anthem”

The moment that you feel that, just possibly,
you’re walking down the street naked,
exposing too much of your heart and your mind
and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself.
That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.
– Neil Gaiman


Ten years ago life forced me to live naked. Now? It’s the only life I want. Listening to “Anthem” recently, a phrase streaked images across my thoughts. “We are concrete and grace.” What a contrast.

My list of scars is long. Been close to death. Wanted to kill myself. But I survived. I’m marked–but I’m strong. So is the girl I know whose ex-husband would drug her and then sell her to men. So is the single mom working 80 hours a week and still struggling to make ends meet. Fill in the blank. You know someone like this. Someone who is concrete and grace.


 

They are the ones who live their lives not just as people
but as examples of people. They are destined to expose every part of themselves,
so the rest of us can know what it means to be human.

Most people lead their private lives.
They shake their heads at the people with their clothes off
rather than learning about human life from their example,
but they are wrong to act so superior.
Some of us have to be naked.
– Sheila Heti


I’ll never understand the evil. But pushing through the bitterness, I want to believe I’m capable of facing the memories and pain. Sometimes I believe it. Sometimes I scoff. Sometimes I already feel dead.

Concrete. Still rough around the edges, perhaps chipped and pockmarked, but it’s not going anywhere. Concrete may not be the prettiest thing around, but it’s solid; it’s strong.


 

Concrete girl don’t fall down
In this broken world around you
Don’t stop thinking
Don’t stop feeling now
Don’t break down my concrete girl
– Switchfoot


Grace. Christians are often pressured to say God has infused every moment of the dark years with riotous beauty and rich mercy.

But there’s nothing spiritual about lying to appear more godly or mature.

I won’t call good or redemptive what God says is evil. Grace may come, but there is no goodness in evil. I don’t think there is much good in mental illness either.


 

It’s hard to see the pain behind the mask
Bearing the burden of a secret storm
Sometimes she wishes she was never born.
Martina McBride, “Concrete Angel”


A beautiful life is not confined to flowers, rainbows, and tea cups. It’s marked by struggle. Sweat. Sleepless nights. Even thoughts of suicide.

A true artist isn’t free from baggage; they’re actively finding and mending their broken pieces–even as another wound is taken and more blood spilled. If we waited until we healed to make good art, there would be none.

My goal is not wholeness; some days it’s just to stay alive. I write, cry, and groan bits of prayers. Even when I dig deep inside and find more broken pieces, I won’t give up. At least not tonight.


 

We are not what you think
We are fire inside.
Here’s to the ones who don’t give up
– “Anthem”

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Comment?

  1. Grace dipped concrete… I love that. So much of this I know all too well. I have been in the darkness crying, hoping, praying and only finding more darkness. Healing can and will come. In fact just recently God showed me that He even heals the amputee by restoring what was lost. I can still see the scar of what was once lost, but He heals completely.

    Keep pressing in to know God, dear one. Keep pursuing God and all that He promises.

    • It’s good to hear you say that even an amputee can be healed. And thank you very much for your kind encouragement. I believe healing comes, though in this life or not, I’m not sure. Only One knows the timing. And we do what we can. 🙂

  2. I have beenin very dark places myself where death seemed better… You do well at communicating the pain and agony of your soul in a way that is still hopeful! Blessings on you for allowing us to see your journey and pain and therefore being more real and honest with our own!! <3

    • Thank you for being so encouraging. Unless you’ve actually been in that place where staying alive really is harder than dying

      This is not to say anything to/about those who battle illnesses that might take their lives and want to live. I don’t think the two should be contrasted at all, because very rarely does one person experience both and so it’s impossible to really measure such subjective things.

      • I’ve been in the place where staying alive really is harder than dying… Not fun at all. I couldn’t even write when I was in that place… Tough stuff..

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