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#Flashback: a four-year-old promise

313146_10150888970535444_315760219_n Many moons ago, when I was still a fresh-faced freshman in college, before any hospitalizations or medications or ugly things like that, I wrote a blog post.

This was a special blog post, you see, because it was on my other blog.

That's right. My other blog that I've been keeping a secret because of the unprofessional URL (callmerarest) and because I don't know that I can get behind everything young Karis ever said.

But today, thanks to dearest Timehop, I re-read a piece I published exactly four years ago. And I thought to my old self — dang, girl, you know what's up.

Because the things I said in that post are promises I'm struggling to re-make, and keep.

I thought I was breaking ground, at least in my personal depression journey, when I went on I am Second's blog to talk about how I fear being cured of depression a few months ago.

I also thought I was breaking ground when, a few weeks ago, I realized I seriously wanted to not be depressed:

I never wanted to want healing. Because if I want it and I'm not given it, how much more broken would that make me? So I steeled myself, deciding that I didn't need healing because this was my lot in life, the thorn in my flesh. And that was fine.
Fine, fine, fine.
I lived with the sorrow, the crippling depression that came and overwhelmed me at times, because if I survived it and kept surviving it I knew that would make me so much stronger in the end. And because there's got to be someone who has the sad story, the brokenness, the one we can look to to inspire us to keep living.
I could be that person.
But I'm sick of living life like this. I'm sick of being up and down and down and up. I'm sick of never knowing how long my smiles will last, of placing my happiness in the arms of others, of ricocheting from the brink of death to the top of the mountain. I'm sick of it all.
I think, for once, that I want to be better. That I want to be healed.
And that scares the pants off of me. Because what if I never get it? What if I do?

It turns out I'm not so ground-breaking after all. Four-years-ago Karis wrote a post entitled "Testimonial," which she posted on "a light exists in spring," saying she was ready. Ready to be healed.

And as I read it this morning, interested to see what terrible writing blunders old me was going to make, I was ... surprised.

Surprised to see that my writing style hasn't changed so drastically after all, that four years ago my words held a vestige of what they do today.

*NOTE: I'm not on here saying I'm the best writer ever or anything. I'm saying writing is something I've been working on for years and I have reached a level of comfort and, dare I say, skill, with it. I was surprised to see that the words I penned four years ago were not wretched and did, in fact, remind me of words I might say today.*

So that was pleasing. Now, the substance of my words is up to you to determine ... but, in all their glory (or lack thereof), here they are.

Lately I've been living in the dark. Not just living — I've been setting down roots, getting myself used to a life lived perpetually in the darkness of fear and doubt and despair. After a couple of months, darkness became what I was about; when in doubt about how to act in a social situation, revert back to playing the character mired in darkness. Except it wasn't a character anymore, it was who I really was.

You see, I lost sight of the light. I entered the caves but forgot to bring my flashlight. And after a while my eyes adjusted; I could see pretty well, so I mistook that for seeing well, and decided that maybe the darkness was a good place to say, and no matter what God said to the contrary I closed off my ears.

But the time has come, He told me today. The time has come to turn my head toward the light and head toward it, no retreat. And that's one of the scariest things I've ever been told. You see, after a while, the darkness becomes a comfort. It becomes a safety blanket, and I know two things about it: if I can't see what's out there, what's out there can't see me, and there will be less in here because most creatures want to live in the light. So in any situation that scares me, I just pull back into the darkness and close my eyes, and wait for the monsters to fade away. What I've been failing to come to terms with is that this darkness is the monster. I cling to it because I think that it's part of my identity, and I don't know who I'll be when I'm not the girl with emotional problems who's depressed and hates herself; I'm scared of what I'll have to act like if I come out of my cave and have to take responsibility for my actions and can't just hide behind hating myself for them.

I'm scared of that. Scared of telling people who I really am. But here goes. Guys, this is who I am, who I really really am:

I am Karis. My name is Greek and it means Grace and I haven't been living up to it lately. I am a Christian, but a bad one. I believe that Jesus Christ died to save me but I haven't been living like I know that. In fact, it's been a long time since I've truly believed that God could really love me. You see, I know He created me and I know he loves what he creates, but I've convinced myself that I've ruined that beautiful creation of His and therefore He must hate me. In fact, if I'm going to be honest, I still believe that. It's so hard to convince myself that I haven't ruined my chances of having God love me — as hard as pulling my own nails off would be.

I am Karis. Lately I have been living in the darkness, a creature of the night who is scared of the light. I cower away from any expression of love, and even go so far as to try and scare it away. I am scared of opening myself up to real human interaction, which is why I never tell anyone the whole story — because I fear the power that would give them over me. But I'm done living like that. I'm tired of being ruled by fear, sick of being exhausted by the extent of my despair.

I am Karis. I'm still lost in the darkness, but I've finally accepted that I'm not without hope. There is a Friend by my side, and I know that if I just reach out to take His hand He will take me safely through the tunnels. I know it won't be easy, I know it will be as hard as pulling my own nails off, but I know that the end result, when I step out into the beauty of daylight, will be more delightful than the best feeling I could imagine. I am a Christian, and I'm finally going to step forward and act that out in my life.

I am a follower of Christ, and followers of Christ don't live in the darkness, they live in the light and embrace all the horrors and beauties that come with that. They make a public stand and don't back down. So this is my stand: I am coming out of the darkness and will never again turn my face back towards it.

Reflections and new endeavours

A promise to keep on