Honesty Blog #1 – Self-Hate

I am a liar.

I have been lying about things for a long time. I don’t necessarily participate in outright lies of saying something has happened when it has not, but I am guilty of bending the truth. I am guilty of changing things, and leaving out key details to make a story fit a narrative already in my head.

I haven’t been able to write a blog in a long time, because I realized I was a liar. I had a persona, albeit I had no understanding of what this persona was that I was portraying, but it was something along the line of victim. I had a long list of resentments and I had justifications and reasonings as to why “they” were the bad guys and I was weak, lowly, and helpless to the fall out of another persons maltreatment of me in the past.

But I failed to mention how shitty I was in the present.

I had reasons to be this shitty. I had reasons to be mean to others and angry. I had reasons to lash out in hate. I HAD REASONS TO BE AN ASSHOLE. But maybe I am done with all that justification for my shitty behavior. Maybe I was done allowing myself to get away with stuff that was clearly harming others. Maybe I was ready to be honest.

And if I am honest, I hate myself.

I hate myself for being mean.
I hate myself for acting like the people I hate.
I hate myself for allowing others to dictate who I should be.
I hate myself for my ignorance and passivity.
I hate myself for every wrong thing I have ever said.
I hate myself for acting out of desperation.
I hate myself for being afraid…. of everything….

Is hating oneself wrong? I don’t think so. I am in control of myself and how deeply I feel these things and I am making space for myself right here to feel exactly what I feel. Hate. I don’t need to be saved, or fixed, or changed. I need to allow myself to be what I am.

I was pouring this hate into myself for a long time because I felt bad for feeling bad. I hide these feelings away deep inside of me and tried to spread the message of self-love, because I felt like I couldn’t benefit anyone by feeling this way. I thought denial would change me, but only honesty can truly set me free. My self hate lay in the shadow of my personality though, and that unconscious self-hate was revealed as hate for humanity. I looked outside to hate the obviously hate-able, instead of looking within me and asking where this hate even came from. I was hurting more people by being unaware of this hate than I am openly admitting how I feel now.

So here we go, into the depths of my soul. What shall I discover in whatever lies at the bottom. I am not lost, I am searching. I am dark but I have light.

“How can you being to truly love yourself? By exploring all the reasons you do not.”

On the Concept of God.

As an atheist, I often struggle with the way God is talked about. Hell, I struggled with that first sentence even because to me, “God” should be written in quotations. Through my personal interest in all world religions I have come to realize that everyone has a personal belief for what God is. Even those that don’t believe a deity can exist. Some might refer to it as a myth, or a story or a spiritual being, but in my opinion God is just a concept. And a fascinating one at that. We could debate on the reality of it, but what I find more important is all the ideas that this concept represents.

First, religious people might tell you that God is love. I argue though, how am I able to love my children while not believing in a God. To me, love exists because of love. I love my children, I care for them, I nurture them, I listen to them, I discipline them and I teach them. And their love is reciprocated back to me. They hold me and kiss me and tell me that they love me. I, in turn, am able to give even more love back. I teach my kids about ‘the love bucket’ they hold in their hearts. There are lots of ways we fill our love bucket. I love reading and writing and painting and cooking, I love being with people and I love being alone. When I do these things, I am filled positively and am able to give love to the people in my care. My love bucket is filled and the overflow then goes to my loved ones. So in my mind, love exists because of love. Giving love multiplies love, but where then is the ultimate source of love? I guess we could all agree to disagree. I believe the source of love exists within me. By loving myself, I can love others.

Next, once a person has given themselves true love, this is what opens a persons heart to compassion. Supposedly, God has compassion for those of us struggling here on earth. My atheistic mindset cannot really wrap my brain around that idea any more, just given the reality of the state of the world, but this is what I believed when I was religious. God supposedly looks on our suffering and has compassion so he sends blessings and miracles to help us solve our problems. Again, I don’t see this as being realistic, but what is realistic is that in loving myself through my own struggles and being the ultimate source of support and comfort to my hurt, I am now able to recognize in others when they are suffering and have compassion on them in return. I notice now what it looks like when someone is under financial or martial stress but cannot articulate it. I can offer compassion at that time by listening because they need it. I have love to give them because I am filling my own bucket and my compassion for myself stops me from giving more energy than I have to give.

Finally, the last idea birthed from the concept of God that I find to be more important than “God” himself, gratitude. A person does not need to believe in God to be grateful but who are we to thank if you are an atheist like me who doesn’t believe there is anyone out there in the great beyond. Well,  I am grateful for my path and journey. I am grateful to be me. My path is solely unique and I am grateful for my experience on this planet (hopefully the next planet will be a little less terrifying). Every hard thing I have been through is a lesson and a source of inspiration for my art. I am grateful to suffer because in the end I will have lived through it. I am grateful to survive and overcome. I am grateful for my children and husband and family and friends and clients as coworkers. I am thankful for them all because I learn, I grow, and I get stronger through everything that comes my way. I don’t need a God for these things, however cultivating gratefulness is what has saved me from sinking deeply into my own self pity when things do get really hard. 

In summary, we could argue about which religions concept of God is the most accurate, but I find to be much more important is the ideas that god represents. Cultivating love, compassion, and gratefulness do not rely on a deity. Whatever your personal god is, if it births in you good things like these that I have mentioned than your spirituality is working.

Thank you for thinking with me.

And thank you for thinking for yourself.

NEW MOON INTENTIONS: Vulnerability.

This past month, working on my story, has been way way way harder than I even truly want to admit. At the beginning of the month I began planning the story in a various amount of different ways. I googled many outlines, I tried to write and rewrite for hours and hours about how the story was going to go and who the characters were. But for some reason all this plotting and planning was killing my creativity.

I was not stuck or blocked for writing, its just that all my ideas when they transferred from my brain to my hand sucked. They were all terrible. This is actually my second attempt at writing this story, I originally had gotten to 10,000 words before I decided to scrap it cause it was boring and uninspired. I had to come face to face with something writers know and readers don’t, just how much shitty work is behind a final draft. It was slightly disheartening and I soon began to lose hope in the message and imagery I had in my mind about this story. But thankfully, I was only going through the process. After a couple weeks of terrible rough drafts and stale outline the idea transformed into something entirely new for me. It’s as if all that time I was just collecting the pieces to the story but the actual story its self was told completely different. So mid-November, I finally began my first draft. I have been writing with what little time and inspiration I have and currently am at 5,300 words on my first draft. And I can honestly say I like the story and where it is headed. So I didn’t reach 50,000 words in a month, and I didn’t win NaNoWriMo, but I DID start something I am actually truly proud of.

I think there is a reason though, why I haven’t been able to really sink my claws into this project and get to work (like I tend to do). What my Main Character (MC) is experiencing is a stubborn unwillingness to be vulnerable, and not coincidentally I am going through the same thing with writing. I was unaware at just how vulnerable this story was going to require me to be. It’s asking me to write about things that touch such a deep and tender center of my heart that it makes me terrified for anyone to read. This story requires so much truth, and I don’t know if I am ready to be that honest yet.

I have to get comfortable with myself first before I can even write about these things I want to say. My beliefs and opinions and experiences that are so different than things I have read before. I have to be willing to have a loud voice, and I am an introvert. This is probably a struggle for most writers as so many of us are introverts who struggle to live in an extroverted world. I had to be ok being silent, and when I figured out how to do that I set myself free. I no longer cared if anyone saw me because I was able to admit to myself the truth that I really hated the attention anyway. Learning to love being a loner has been something I am personally very proud of. I have been this way for so long. I have spent so much time alone that I prefer most of my life to be this way. But on the other hand, I never learned to be comfortably vulnerable enough to bring the right people close to me. I have 2 friends, honestly, and one of them I married. These are the only people who know the real me. The people who I know I can tell absolutely anything.

With this New Moon I feel this need to really own what it is I am. I feel like a vast collection of tools and crafts. I think I have really good ideas that I can make into a real thing if I can focus all my attention on that. It feels like understanding the power I have over myself and laser focusing it in on what it is I want to make successful. But then there is the voice in the back of my head that tells me life cannot be all work and no play. I am guilty of being too serious about things. I am the type of person to commit my entire being to a cause and leave behind most of the world to find success in what ever I believe in. I am the type to isolate myself for too long and leave important people behind. I don’t like being this way, because I don’t like how it makes others feel, but at the same time, I love creating more than anything else. It is fulfilling and satisfying, rare feelings in the human experience and even more rare to have together. I guess all I am saying is I would like my life to stay pretty balanced, but this is Sagittarius season so all I feel is that focused energy behind whatever it is I believe in.

My intention this month is to become more comfortable being vulnerable, with myself and my trusted loved ones. My intention is to be comfortable with giving myself and others honesty. I want to be truer to how I feel every moment, and comfortable staying there despite how others feel around me. Unfortunately, for those who know me I feel things much deeper than anyone realizes and I don’t think I can pretend to be so normal anymore. With vulnerability I am sure I will find more freedom from fear. Being honest about my mental is what weakens its power over me. This is why therapy can be so helpful, because it is talking about the the things we feel inside. So I guess it’s time to get my Main Character to therapy, which coincidentally helps me! I guess there is a positive to being so crazy, maybe I’m becoming my own therapist.

FULL MOON FOCUS: Obsessive Thinking and the Creative

Today is the Full Moon, a chance to recharge under the light of the moon. A chance to renew focus and continue on pursuing creative goals. And I am ready. So far, I have been writing endlessly it seems while at home. Any chance I get to sit down, I try to have my pen and paper handy. Writing this way has helped me mow through a thick layer of detail I was building in my mind. I wanted to find the plot, the message, the meat of the story. I knew all the fancy stuff but what were the bones. This was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I feel the story in my chest but writing it out from beginning to end, cohesively, and still entertaining takes much more work than I anticipated. I began to get clouded with doubt, because I just could not nail down the structure of my story. I thought about this story every second of the day it seemed. In the shower, in the parking lot of my kids school, while I was doing my job. I just couldn’t stop thinking about this story and how to make it work. I stripped away at so many possibilities, I rewrote countless outlines and plots for what the story could be. I was finally coming to the bottom of this hole when I got stuck on what the meaning of this story was even supposed to be. No wonder I couldn’t tell it “right” I had no idea what it even meant. What was the point?

With the Sun in Scorpio, I personally have been riding that energy down into the depths of my soul, searching through the caves of trauma and looking for any hidden treasures during my deep plunge. This story has been the guiding vessel to tap into these pains I have been attempting to release. This whole story was structured around my life and the things I have gone through. It was cathartic at first, to take these pointless and painful things and mold them into something with more meaning and purpose. I was working through my pain with these characters and encapsulating important lessons I had learned over the last 4-10 years of my life.

This is so important and meaningful to me because I have such an obsessive mind. What ever sticks to me, stays with me and I struggle to let things go. I go over details of events sometimes as old as 10 years ago and I just keep rehearsing the emotional pain. I’m exhausted now of doing this. I don’t have the mental energy to remember so many terrible things. I have come to the cross road, in which I can no longer carry any baggage from the past, I must leave these moments and memories which shaped me behind and accept myself for whoever the hell I became. Who I am today is good and she is always changing. I don’t fault her for her past anymore. The only problem I have is that my obsessive mind likes the idea, but refuses to comply. It’s always going to think and it will keep thinking and it will go over details again and again and again… I’ve tried to control it, with meditation, with rituals, with exercise, but it seems my mind will always keep imagining these scenarios in a new light. Anything to keep holding onto what once was. To curb this, I now have a creative outlet to redirect my thinking. If I am going to obsess about the details, let it be the way in which I can most effectively communicate what it means to search for meaning. I want to obsess over the poetry of my stories and the structure they are laid out in. I want to know what its like to obsess about progress instead of regret.

This has opened up a new pathway for me mentally. Negative behaviors, or bad habits I cannot quit, I can simply redirect to something more positive. It’s not about the cold turkey stop, its a slow transition into the life I want to live. A steady integration of healthy habits. I have started to subtly adjust my routine and getting so much more done throughout the day. Anything that improves my creativity and makes me productive brings life to my body. I have been energized today, literally bouncing off the walls happy, getting so much done.

My thinking still isn’t the straightest, but this is something I accept as being me. Obsessive chaotic thinker, for now. I hope that with time I can calm down and think clearer, but for now I accept myself as the wild cannon I am. I channel it into all my art work and poetry as best I can. I am inspired by my flaws now. I’ve never looked at myself like this before. Like maybe there is something interesting here to all these things that make me so damn insecure.

I feel like opening my heart lately, emerging as a softer, gentler version of myself. Letting love be my vibe, more than individuality. This makes me nervous though because my brain still connects my softness with weakness. I see now, through personal experience this week, that the more love that can be brought into a hostile situation the more the past becomes unlocked and sets the angry person free. It’s not easy to humbly lay down and surrender in love to an angry loved one, but by doing so I feel as though I am offering a safe moment of release for potentially volatile emotions. I surrender to love and healing is the reward. I give someone the chance to express these things which hold them down by offering them the most love at their worst moment. It’s difficult, but dammit I think it just might change the world.

Keep on thinkin’.

House of Self – #1

I’m an outsider mostly, I am the observer, the voyeur, the creep so to speak. I like being on the outside and looking in. I see so much more about people than when I am uncomfortably close to them. Maybe I have been burned, one or two times. A couple nice people getting really close to me so maybe I wouldn’t notice all the red flags about them. The in your face types, and maybe I have been the same. I embarrass easy. One or two mistakes, vibeing with the wrong people, being desperate for attention, all these things were setting me up for a lot of bad social experiences. I was already a shy, socially anxious person, but these experiences were leading me to the land of anti social behavior. The loner is missed and the hermit dies alone.

Having social anxiety is one thing. I’ve been known to worry how people are perceiving me and my energy which causes me to become over excited, to over share, and potentially embarrassing myself because of it. It also leaves me dangerously vulnerable, which allows the wrong people to take advantage of my weakness. I do have grace for this side of myself, however, because at least that energy is moving out of my body. Being anti-social is shutting in. Keeping those feelings inside and holding the energy in the body. I can’t do that for too long, though. So I must let it all out. Without emotional expression I begin to poison myself, toxicity. Being in this reflection of myself, made me remember a quote by a favorite author of mine…

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

― Anais Nin

Coming into the month of November, this was the energy I was taking into my life and my work and the world around me. It was time for me to let go of my fear and just shine. Let my happy silly chatty self have her moment and try not to think too much about how I might be embarrassing myself. Letting go of the insecurity, become truly confident in who I am as a person. I found myself in an unfamiliar social situation and that gave me to perfect opportunity practice this. I have always felt like a confident person, told myself I was a confident person and always carried myself that way. Even when I didn’t feel it. Faking confidence sometimes works, but experiences were beginning to show me that too much fake confidence or confidence in the wrong things about myself is what creates a mask over my insecurity. So, the past year has been a lesson from the universe, stripping me of my confidence and exposing me for the fraud I was. I’m too real to live behind a mask. Because of this lesson, I witnessed one of the best versions of myself las night. I’m glad that I suffered through these months of painfully restructuring my confidence again, because now, I am able to have the interactions with people that I want.

Some of my social anxiety stems from my fear of losing myself in others. I don’t want to forget myself and agree to things I disagree with. I don’t want to be a part of the hive-mind, group-think frequency that exists between people. So I was ok to be hated as long as I didn’t become them. Without knowing who I am, I become everone around me and then I am no longer an individual. I wonder how much of that person I was pretending to be as a means to protect myself and my individuality was actually even an individual to begin with. I constructed this personality as a means to be accepted for being so different but what if what I wanted to do something with my life was unacceptable. What if I wanted to stray off the path and go left when everyone went right. I couldn’t do that if I was holding onto that identity that people accepted. Maybe I was afraid of my own freedom. Maybe I wanted others around me to tether me down and tell me it was safe and ok to be. But I don’t think I care about that anymore. I’d much rather let myself soar now. Total freedom sounds so appealing to me.

I found freedom this year in realizing that who I am is good enough. I have nothing to prove to anyone. I am a person, concerned with being my own person and who encourages others to do the same. I like being a stand out. I like being an outsider. I like not fitting in. I’m already content being unaccepted by the world outside of myself, because I have accepted me for exactly who I am. I give myself the permission to be quiet when I chose, to stop listening if I choose, to walk away if I feel like walking away. I am unconcerned with others feelings, because I am going home with me at the end of the night and I have to deal with the fallout of my own emotions. So I live to make myself happy, and I let others be concerned with whatever they are concerned with.

I found out last night that the things that make me happy are listening to people share their truth, hearing about their work and their projects. I love the smile on people’s faces when I can encourage them. I like hearing friends banter and laugh and compete with one another. I like building others up and recognizing their goodness and strength. I value real connections and emotional independence. I like to care from afar and I like to be present when closeness is needed. I really enjoy people, even if they make me nervous and excited sometimes. I like having something to offer people and I have always loved conversation.

This hasn’t changed me, though. I still only desire socialization in small doses. I’m still a homebody who hides in my cave and shuts the world out for as long as possible. The only difference for me now, is I’m no longer afraid of reemerging because I know how to navigate myself and my energy so much better than I did a year ago. I also nkow how to rest and recharge the introvert in me so that when I am home I can get back into the flow of my creativity and not loose myself in my emotional attachments to the experience.

Today feels like a breath of fresh air, and I am happy to get back to working on my novel after  this. I can’t wait to experience it with a fresh pair of eyes. The process has been enjoyable so far.

NaNoWriMo | T – 4 days | Preparation

Picture from @comfortablefields on instagram.

Four days until November 1st, when I will begin writing the first story I will complete (saying this in future confidence!) They tell me preparation is the key to success. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. So, this is what I have prepared so far for NaNoWriMo.

I wrote very basic character descriptions about the three main characters in my story. Writing this now and seeing what I have, I’m going to type out some better character descriptions for each of these characters and maybe basic profiles of some smaller flat characters in the story. One thing I never realized was just how much writing goes into a story that never makes it onto the page and into the binding. In this past year of attempting to figure out how I write stories, I have written countless pages of basically bullshit. 95% of it sucks. I’m not attempting to be self-deprecating, just real. There is another 4% of it that is decent and I would let people read and only about 1% that has the potential to be really really good if I tried again. So with this story, I’m trying to type and write out as much as I can think of that will drain my brain of all the practical uninspired noise in my head. Then I can get to the good stuff.

I wrote out a rough outline of how I think the story will go. Character A goes to Character B, they talk about X, and then Character A gets upset. Simple, basic, not trying to be fancy or deep. I’m just trying to see step by step how we get from the beginning to the end. That was quick and easy for me, it was 6 notebook pages front and back and I wrote it in about an hour at the kitchen table on a school night while the kids watched TV. What’s funny about that is the inspiration just fell on my head like a ton of bricks. I was tired, their were chores to be done, I was slowly loosing the will to do anything. When I reminded myself how terrible I feel when I get behind and have to work even harder to catch up on everything that’s when the story hit me. So I had to push everything aside, run and grab a notebook and pen and start scratching. I much enjoy this part of the creative process. Catching the inspiration is always fun because I literally never know when it’s going to hit me. My job is just to sit and waiting and be ready. As long as I’m present I’ll be prepared for the muse when he shows up.

I read someone suggested in a NaNoWriMo group to write a three paragraph blurb about your story before you begin and I thought that was a great idea. I want to try to write this as well, to have a clear idea of the beginning middle and end of the story. Finding the direction of the story before I begin seems like it will help me stay focused on the message I am trying to tell. There is the story and there is the message and I don’t like writing things that don’t have a message. Keep these things in line should help me stay focused! That’s my hope.

I wrote out a writing schedule for myself. I’ma  pretty fluid and adaptable person. If schedules need to change last minute its easy for me to adapt and change around that. I don’t like being rigid and I definitely don’t like being too structured. It drives me crazy to follow the plan. Because like I said before what if the inspiration hits me at 10:00am but I’m not writing until 12:30pm? So in order to help myself, I keep an open mind about how the day feels. Today for example, I had a plan, but last minute things changed and now I’m writing at 11:00am when I didn’t plan to until 12:30pm. Regardless, there is a loose structure I have set to each day and I treat every day like a work day. At some point, every single day I carve out time to work. Whether that’s writing, or my actual job (and on those days I do both, sometimes). I do love working on something though, it helps me make the most of the day when I’m trying to balance family and work. But this balance is what brings the joy to what I’m doing. Being efficient with my time helps me feel good about what I do every day. My thing is more of finding a good routine. Every day, having a wake-up routine, a school routine, a day time routine, and an evening routine. Something about these help me not to get lost in my own emotions and go about my day wasting my life because of my misery. As a mentally ill person, being unproductive and lazy is just the catalyst to me feeling miserable about myself and my life and my work. Doing good things for me, help me to say good things about myself, which helps me believe that I actually am proud of me. I’m over explaining a very simple fact of just I do it cause it makes me feel good. I hope that by preparing these things, writing them down, I can repeat my successful days and have more successful days in a row. That’s the creative process right there in a nutshell. Figuring out how to repeat the things that got you into flow so you can turn it on whenever you need it. I have too many stories in my head and I’m wasting too much time waiting around for the muse to show up.

I also how that by beginning to blog my process it helps me stay focused on what I’m doing and how I am improving. It also gives me another outlet to write so I am pouring out content, which is what I really hope to do. I feel like a vessel. I stay still in my life filling myself up until I have enough energy and inspiration to begin pouring out everything I have been thinking and feeling and imagining. And it comes out in a flood. This is going to happen to me regardless. If I wasn’t focused on something creative these floods would just look like streaks of self destruction and I value myself too much now to allow myself to hurt myself like that again. This is why creativity and mental illness are linked so tightly. Being bipolar, I feel like I go through periods of time where I am full of very big powerful emotions that could control me. Without writing, these feelings become giant monsters that I cannot control and they wreak havoc in my life. Total destruction. I would destroy everything, if I didn’t have an outlet like writing to pour my anger and sadness and hatred and vengeance and lust and all those normal feelings that make me want to hurt myself. Mostly just self sabotage but there have been plenty of times I have turned those feelings against myself physically. I could make myself sick with all the things I feel. So writing is important for me. Writing is my savior. Writing is what keeps me good and I’m never not doing it. It’s really the most important thing to me, personally.

There are religious people who talk about when they found Jesus and that is what saved and made them feel whole again. I tried the Jesus thing, and I don’t know if it really worked for me, and if it did it’s because I was journalling every day what I thought about life as a Christian. So was it even really Jesus? But writing made me feel whole. Writing helped me understand. Writing gave me peace and clarity when I had none. Writing kept me sane and rational in moments where I could have completely flown off into a fantasy. Writing kept my family together and helped me repair my marriage when it was falling apart. I’ve prayed to God, I’ve done sacrifices and spells, I’ve confessed my sins, I have tried to change my life. But none of that made me feel better about having to walk out this life I was given. All of those rules and rituals were just chains to my misery. When I write and express myself, to myself, I am free. I’m weightless. I am open, uninhibited. And that’s what I have been searching for all my life.

I am happy today, hopeful about my goals and prepared to put in the effort to do what I want to do. I fell very certain in myself and my experience with this story. I’m certain I know how to express the basic layer of this story but I wonder more about all the magic I really hope to weave into it as well. All those details that make the story great. But this is thinking much to far ahead and I’m sure on a second draft this will be more the focus then. One thing at a time! Phew! For now it’s just about exposing all the bare bones of the story. I think it will be interesting to see how my feelings change about what I am doing as the month goes on! So for now, this is how I feel.

Four days and counting! 

NEW MOON INTENTIONS: Me & My Work

For a while now, all that has been concerning me is how every aspect of my life plays into my creative process. I could see in myself how certain areas of my life were feeding me negativity and distracting me from my most important work. I could not create when these things were clogging up my mind with bullshit.

The tub in our kids bathrooms was clogged with dog hair a couple weeks ago. I had gotten distracted as soon as we finished her bath, closed the curtain and forgot to clean out the tub. A couple days later, the restroom started to reek a horrible smell. I avoided it for a day or so, and then decided I needed to investigate and solve this problem. I couldn’t live with the smell any more. When we discovered it was just the clogged drain, my husband decided he’d pour some drain-o into the standing water (which is not recommended, but whatever, nfg) the water cleared and I could see white dog hair just packed into the drain. While I was avoiding the issue I kept thinking “If only I had a wire hanger I could fix this” which is true, a wire hanger would have helped me fix this much easier than I did. But I didn’t have a wire hanger, so I lived with a nasty avoided problem until I couldn’t any longer. Then I started digging through my garage and junk drawers basically looking for anything that would help me clear out the drain. I found a paint can opener and a screw driver that looked cheap and unimportant. I got on my hands and knees, stuck my fingers and tools into that nasty drain and cleaned it out. Thankfully has a hairdresser, hair clogged in drains doesn’t effect me as much as the average person, but the smell left behind was what really got to me. After it was cleared, I cleaned out the tub with disinfectant, closed up the curtain and the problem was solved.

A couple days later, my washer stops draining. I’ve already been avoiding calling the plumber on my drippy shower head, because I’m an avoider if you cannot tell already… I didn’t want to add this to my list of ‘need to be fixed’ items as well. I have the idea though, that maybe my husband can fix it. My husband, no mechanical training whatsoever, who has is incredibly stressed by fixing broken appliances, and has told me that he doesn’t want to be responsible to fix anything. Yeah, that guy can do it! Begrudgingly, he goes to look at it but frustratedly cannot solve the problem for me. He sets it down, we walk away for a couple hours, and come back to it that evening, him and I. I was determined to fix this ourselves. We almost gave up, we almost called a plumber, but I knew this had to be easier than it seemed. Fixing this washer was the team building exercise my husband and I didn’t know we needed. We snapped at each other, we were annoyed, we stopped talking for the last half of fixing it, but once we got it working again we were relieved. We said what we felt about how to other handled it, we apologized for our faults in making this problem worse than it was and we happily washed laundry the whole next day without the fear of the smell of mildew setting in too quickly (That clogged drain was CAKED in yucky black sludge! Uck! Glad we could clean it.)

Then a bigger problem came. Our neighbors kids were vandalizing our property. Throwing rocks at solar panels on our roof that were hitting my car, writing on our trashcans, dropping glass in our driveway and leaving it behind etc. I had to say something about this. I bit my tongue the first time and thought about what it is I would say. I wanted to communicate clearly, without emotion, and with the authority of a property owner that this was NOT ok. But here was non-confrontational, avoidant me, trying to do a really big, really hard thing that I have never done before. I wrote out my thoughts in my notes in my phone, I worded a letter the wrong way and then reworded it to be more honest about what I wanted to say. But I sat on it for a day, feeling too nervous to stand up for myself, or maybe even too nervous I’d be too angry about this situation and that would make this all a lot worse. When they had crossed a boundary again for me, I knew it was time to stay something and I let my impulsive anger grab the wheel. Thankfully, having those notes written in a less emotional state, I was able to deliver a logical/reasonable message but the power of my emotions were what actually got me to their front door.  I printed out my favorite one of the notes that I had written previously, left it on their doorstep and forgot about it. A couple hours later, the mom and her boys are standing outside our gate. Her kids looked scared, she looked pissed and I was ready to confront this once and for all. (I mean hopefully, kids are kids, they make mistakes)  It was a good, easy, and open conversation. I felt heard and understood and I felt the mom was handling the situation the best she knew how. I was pleased with the outcome but even more pleased with myself for once again handling a big scary thing I was avoiding.

Now that we are moving into November, I figured I’d tackle one of my biggest problems in my life. All that goddamn trauma. All that old conditioning, clogging up the drain of my creativity. A really good idea came to me the other day, a story about a woman facing fears that were similar to me, only in this story I knew how she’s conquer her fears. So I started to pen out the idea, I wrote about character, captured little scenes scrawled onto some notebook paper. I wrote chaotically, frantically, tiring my right hand and forearm in the process. Something was coming alive here and I wanted to wrangle it, catch it, and keep it for my own. At this point I have started and regretfully never completed too many stories to count. Inspiration will hit, I ride the wave and then crash without any sustainable energy to finish. It was frustrating but I see it now as just learning how my process works. I kept getting better and better, I got all the way to a 10,000 word story, before scrapping the entire thing. I was salty! All that hard work and dedication and the story was shit. That dreadful writers block settled in. This time, I wanted this story to be different. I knew too much, I could see so much more of this story than any other before and I was able to understand who the characters were, what they wanted and how I was going to settle this whole thing. And possibly, just maybe, setting myself free of some terrible shit that likes to terrorize me every day. That’s when I remembered November is NaNoWriMo! National Novel Writing Month. 1,700 words a day for 30 days and you’d have a 50,000 word first draft to begin building a real novel off of. This was just the push and challenge I wanted to give myself to complete this.

So I’m learning all this real life stuff about setting myself free with confronting issues and simultaneously inspiration is hitting me at all hours of the day. I could feel my life and responsibilities simply falling into their proper order of priorities. It was like the stars were aligning. I know what has been holding me back, I know what I want to complete, and I know how I’m going to do it. I’ve been waiting for the stars to line up for me in exactly the right way, and finally the time is here.

With this new moon, my intention is to WRITE A DAMN NOVEL. That’s right. The whole month of November, I plan to sit my butt down here every damn day and type out 1,700 words of freedom for myself and for others who have struggled like me. It’s going to be hard, its the holiday season is here and family is around and everyone will want to be close and merry and all that bullshit. I’m happy to close myself off from the world, in fact, I quite enjoy living in a cave untouched by the world, but I’ve got kids and their family life is important to me. This means my next month will require strength and discipline and structure and that is what I believe will help me be successful in achieving my goal this month.

While working on my writing routine and structure has taken me about a year, I’m finally happy to say, I know my peak working times, I know my resting times, I know what time is best for me to wake up and go to sleep. I just have to actually do those things. The next step in creating routine as a creative, is being unaffected by the world around me. My mom might call to go to lunch (my best writing time is from 12:30-2:30 nearly every day) so I’d probably need to say no or plan ahead. Sometimes I have no motivation to do chores or run errands until later in the day, but I can’t let that happen if I want to stay committed. I am not good at these things. Committing. But this is one of the times in my life where I don’t wanna quit. I want to dig into myself and find a part of myself that I have never known before. That committed tenacious and unrelenting side of myself that I have been looking for. The professional behind the creative. She’s almost ready to emerge and all I’ve got to do is sit here and type.

P.s. this blog is 1732 words long. Maybe I can do it after all.

Taking Stock of my Life

I can’t say exactly how I know this, whether its a feeling or just the conscious decision to change, but my life is becoming something else. I feel it the effort I want to give the everyday things of my life. I feel it in my thoughts and what I am thinking about. I can feel myself turning my attention away from everything I used to be interested in and completely pointed in a new direction.

Maybe my age is just hitting me. I’m 27, three years before I turn 30. I look at who I am, what I’m creating and what direction I’m headed in. I’m not at all displeased, I have made myself proud to have come this far, but there is still a large part of my life and who I am that has yet to be transformed. Structures built on the opinions and advice of others. Decisions made by another’s suggestion. Deep within my self destructive nature is an important tool that I can use to transform myself and build my dreams. Self destruction, in its healthiest form, is the tool we need to be able to change. The willingness we have to destroy all our hard work, is the same willingness it takes to change ourselves into something better.

I want to be better. I’ve witnessed myself really stepping up in many areas of my life. I feel the effort I’m giving with each mundane task of my life. Really focusing on doing my best at all times. Staying busy, staying motivated, being productive. I want to make space in my life now for new things. I’m hoping all this internal and external organizing of the useful and useless will open me up to more energy to accomplish more things.

I’m the ambitious type. I want to get up, and do, and build and work. But the shadow side of that ambition lies impracticality and too often I take on way more than I can handle. I can easily overwhelm myself before I have even begun just by taking an idea all the way to the end. What if I took this all just a step at a time? Living my life hour by hour, minute by minute, each step taken with intention and direction? I think I might build something worth something and I might even enjoy it in the process. My creative mind is alive lately. New ideas, good ideas, but not just ideas. I can envision each step along the way. This has never happened before. I normally can envision the end product, but never have I been able to see all the steps I need to take to get there. This time, I want to take all those steps and see if I really can create something.

I’d need to be brave. I’d need to throw caution to the wind and commit to this. I would need to be disciplined in all areas of my life. Maybe that’s dramatic but I know myself. Without routine, structure and discipline I can’t maintain the focus I need to turn ideas into reality. That is a skill in and of itself. A muscle some creatives are born without and must acquire over time. I am one of those creatives, but that is why I have taken this time of my life so seriously. I want to do well and get somewhere.

I’d need to maintain a level of wholeness and happiness that I haven’t ever done before. I think happiness is simple to create in the every day things that I have to do. The annoying daily maintenances, exercising, stealing time to read, drinking tea, eating good food and preparing for the next day. These all make me happy, but there is something more I am missing to my happiness. Something deeper. I sense it my feelings of creation. I have been able to create a surface level happiness. A mediocre life with simple practices and stability, but deeper than that I want meaning. And I know something true about myself. Hard work and reward is what gives me meaning. So I need something to work hard on, to throw my mind and soul into. Something to nurture and grow and take care of. Not a baby! I am already growing two children. I need to grow an idea. I have lots of ideas but I need to know what will be worth it.

I’m lucky, I have drive and tenacity in my blood I can sink my teeth into something and hold on for a long time. I can get behind an idea and push and push and push, longer than many others. But I grow tired when the cause is inauthentic with who I am as a person. I have done this for so long in my life. Find a cause, an idea, or a business I want to get behind and work my ass off as if it were mine. But when it comes time for my soul to begin investing in these things, I can feel the resistance. These things are not true to me.

Lately, I have had these ideas that echo back into my early teen years, things I imagined myself doing when I was older. I look at myself in the mirror and ask myself, what is the life you dream, can you live it. The meaning of my life I find in the connection I have made to the work I am doing. Sewing my soul into the seams of all my dreams, that is where I will find myself alive. I cannot sew my soul into this life now. And maybe that’s the reason I have such a hard time grounding myself and maintaining my presence. My soul cannot take roots in this life the way it is. I need to make some changes.

So I’m going through every facet of my life, my identity, my values, the way I communicate, my home and family, my pleasure, my health, my partnerships, my shadow, my philosophy, the person I represent myself as, my view of humanity and everything I hide away from the world, and I’m asking myself if there is more to life than what I see it as now.

Recently I heard the word soul-explorer and something in me clicked into place. I’m a deep person and I always will be. I consider this deep dive into myself to be my first major mission in my life as a writer. Exploring my own soul, making the great voyage deeper than I have ever been. I want to know what’s at the bottom of this. I need to know who I am in this life because I need to get to where I am going. Who Am I?

Know Thyself

Oh, Writers Block, UP YOURS!

Secret Link (enjoy)

When it comes to expression, as an artist, writer and poet, all I care about is the ease of creating. Life can build these emotional blockages in my life that make it impossible for any good work to come from me. I start to see the obstacles forming in my life, like little beavers building a dam for a home, and if I was smarter I’d cut to the bottom of it before it turns into what it always does. A complete writers block. It’s been a minute since I have written any fiction. My brain hasn’t been connected with my spirit. I’m trying to write out all my fantasies and forgetting my souls mission. And sure, I’m just experimenting with writing styles and genres, but there is a clear difference between the way it feels to write my novel and to fuck around with this other shit. I’m learning while writing always but I feel as though my subject matter gives me a clearer idea on where I’m directed mentally.

I haven’t been all that kind to myself. I don’t know how to be gentle and still feel like I will achieve something some day. I have a high standard I place over myself (inherited by you know who and you know what) that I strive to attain every day. But I always forget the most important ingredient in all my writing. Self-acceptance. I always somehow leave it out.

Probably because I’m not happy with myself. How can you be happy when you haven’t reached your full potential. How can I rest when I haven’t gotten to the peak yet. How can I say good job and no job has been completed. I don’t know. I wonder, when will I accept myself? What’s so wrong with this person now? I’m having a hard time viewing myself in context to my own damn life. I try to see myself in the first person,  second person, third person limited and third person omniscient just so I can keep myself grounded, but lately, I’m just tumbling through a wave of insecurity.

I feel fed up with this though. I feel tired of being so insecure. I’m tired of being so afraid. That is what I cannot accept. That I have come this far, learned what I have learned, know what I know, fought what I have fought and still… I don’t feel good enough. I’m still afraid of everything.

Maybe I’m afraid to be truly angry. Maybe I’m afraid people won’t like me when I stand up and say what it is I have to say. Maybe I’m afraid that I’ll isolate myself further by being honest. I don’t know if I know how to be fully honest about how I feel. I can feel myself getting close to being done though. I’m almost ready to close the chapter on quiet-me. There’s too much I’ve let go unsaid. It’s time to speak up.

Mental health is an ongoing battle. There is no ‘victory’ or ‘cure’ there is only fighting, every single day. There is only armor against the tricks our brains play on us. There is only charging ahead with fire in our bones. I’m not going to beat this, I’m going to conquer it and make it work for me. Being mentally ill isn’t going to be holding me back for much longer. Soon it will be all the fuel I need to complete these things I have been planning for so long. I’ve caught the Kanye West, I’m never going to fail. 

FULL MOON FOCUS:  Be yourself, always.

The moon has a huge influence on the things I experience every single day. I follow astrology and chart the phases of the moon, mostly out of boredom but it is quite interesting as well. I try to use that system of organizing my time to be more productive with my creativity. It works really well for me, when I am disciplined with it.

I keep getting in my own way, though. I keep stopping myself from doing the things I want to do for millions of reasons. I let my insecurities run the person I am, and I get so sad to watch myself feel so powerless and that leads me into the dungeon of depression. I am bipolar, with perfect discipline I am able to predict my moods and work with them accordingly. I am not perfectly disciplined, however. So while there might be a gust of mental energy behind wanting to complete a project, my emotional energy is typically tapped out. Sometimes I get great ideas to organize my garage in the the midst of my depression/low phase. The mental energy to clean is there, the emotional energy however is not. But catch me in a couple weeks when I’m hypomanic/in a high phase. I’ll have my garage perfectly organized with minimal effort. The emotional energy is behind the thing I want to do.

I have been stuck in a low phase for more than a month now. The month of July was so chaotic and so exhausting emotionally. There was so much stress in my life and I wasn’t helping myself as far as the pressure I put on myself to fix things I couldn’t control. I was completely drained by life, so it is no wonder I am depressed as I am. Depression is a vicious cycle though. There are times I know I need rest, but I am guilty of taking too much rest because I love comfort and security. I don’t want to move from my comfy places. That’s when I start to watch the hours tick by and I have not been productive. Depression Isn’t a terrible thing though. You can be sad and productive. Low phases are the perfect time to gain inspiration. When being in a low phase causes to me to have to lay down, when everything about life becomes boring and meaningless, all I am able to do is sit and watch nature do her thing. Depression/low phases are important for me as an artist because inspiration is everything! When I try to create without inspiration, I am just creating with ego thinking “I know what I’m doing/writing/painting.” I have always hated those pieces of work. The artists only thirst in life is to find flow. To step into our gifting and watch ourselves work without effort. This requires pushing the ego to the side, which is one of the hardest thing to do. There are some of us who actually do know what we are doing when we create. I like my stories to go deep. I like every character/scene/action to have a deeper meaning beyond that which you read. I like to get people to think about what I have written. So when my ego knows, my ego creates but my ego takes up so much space in my creating that I forget to leave room for magic. I forget to let go and let myself feely create.

I’m deeply insecure about what I write. I have so much written material that I haven’t published, because I haven’t finished it because I don’t like what I was able to create. Too much ego, not enough magic. I have wild ideas I cannot tap into because I think about how others will view me after they read my writings. I don’t have time for this anymore. I don’t have time to question. All I want to do is create. It’s time to let myself be who she was made to be. It’s time to stop questioning and start producing. I am beyond ready to finally let myself shine. I consider myself lucky to be who I am. I am a private person, I like my alone time, I enjoy creating more than anything in the world. I’m also vibrant, fun-loving, encouraging and supportive. Sure, there are insecurities that come with these two sides of myself, but that is less important to me. I don’t need to focus anymore on how afraid I can become. That will only create the fears I am trying to avoid. I’d much rather envision myself at my best. I wanna know what Rhea with her life together looks like. I want to see Rhea the creative powerhouse in action. I want to see disciplined, focused and driven Rhea again. I’ve seen her before and I like her a lot. I like her more than who I am now. I like her more than this ego that I have.

My problem and struggle always comes down to this. How can I maintain who I am in theses people-ships in my life. How can I be myself unapologetically and uncaring of what people think? How can I be me, always? I’m tired of being this other person when people are around. I’m tired of holding myself in, when I know for a fact I am explosive and charismatic. I know who the best of me is. Letting her shine is just what I need to keep these emotional vampires at bay.

I only get to be her when I am disciplined though. By taking on the burden of keeping my life in line, saying no to things that will distract me, and not allowing my attention to drift, I am rewarded with the pleasure of being myself and attracting good things towards me. I can see it all around me, I can almost reach out and take it.

This time of my life has been a great adventure. I have no idea how we are surviving everyday. Abandoning the familiar, traditional, everyday life is scary. There is no security here. There is no certainty in tomorrow. However, when I feel like the state is standing outside my door, ready  to take the keys to my house and everything I own, ready to take my kids away for not having a job, or a plan, I just have to step outside into the sun and see that no one is truly there. My fears are all imagined, I only have to remember that. I know where I am going and this time of my life does not dictate my destiny.

My husband and I were able to secure another 3 months worth of money to pay our bills. So I have three months to create without the stress of working too hard or too desperately. I don’t have to worry about how the money will come in, I can only write and paint and do good work. I will use this three months to create and I won’t let my stress get in the way and I will not let people distract me.

Can I be disciplined, positive and hopeful for three months? Let’s see. I’m gonna try.

Thanks for reading.