NEW MOON INTENTIONS – MAY 2019: Attention on Intentions

My intention this moon is manifest Love and Inspiration.

I don’t need much, I have a lot of good things in my life. But the things I do need cannot be bought. Typically they are the things I must wait patiently to drift into my life. These weeks I realize I am desperately thirsty for love and severely itching for a good dose of inspiration. As a new writer, it’s been difficult to force myself to sit down every day and write something because some days I am even tired of writing about myself. I think having so many writing projects helps me stay inspired, yet, some how I come to these dry areas and must sit and wait for the water to flood the grounds again.

One thing I am beginning to realize though, is I can be prepared to receive love and inspiration. In fact, by keeping my heart open and free of contempt, unhealthy anxiety, the need to control and by setting aside moments every day to be still and wait for the muse, love and inspiration seem to flood my life. 

So much so, that I have found myself now becoming afraid of being as happy as I have been. My mind says there’s no way I can be this happy and not fall off the cliff. I’m bipolar, I know how this works. Every high time has been met with a low time of equal depth. Over this past month, I have been ruining all these really amazing moments because I am terrified of how far I might fall.

There’s something I was failing to recognize though. Previously, before this year of my life, I have been a completely unbalanced person. I had a very limited concept of responsibility. I was not prepared for the adult life I jumped into so quickly. However, since moving into our house in Feb 2018, I have really stepped it up. I stopped being lazy and keep my house clean every day. I eat well, I work out, I stay creative, I cook, I prepare and organize everything I can. I’m growing up and finally feel like an adult!

So I think I’m in a much better position to stay balanced when I let myself be fully happy. I fear that I will spend all my money, eat until I explode, and begin sabotaging my art work by becoming distracted with helping people who are unimportant to my life (eating up all that free time I need to be inspired and read and write). This is what has been my pattern of happiness so far. The difference in me now is I am unwilling to fail again in the same way.

I have felt myself slipping a bit recently because I have been so afraid. It’s funny how fearing something (no matter what it is, because in my case I’m fearing happiness) actually causes it to manifest in our life exactly the way we imagine it. I feel my mood improving, and I am desperately holding myself down on the ground, fearing an emotional binge (which I have already been doing) fearing letting go of my routine (which I have been forgetting about) fear of unnecessary spending (actually, I have been able to curb this with $20 spending sprees at goodwill and the dollar store). All this fear manifests my worst fears.

So my intention now is to let go of fear so I can love! If my mind wants to send me on another manic high, so be it. They are always fun, even if I do end up destroying half my life. I won’t this time, hopefully. I will create this time and not destroy.

I guess that’s been my problem. Until this point I have been so used to creating in the low times, and when I am in my high times I hate everything I have tried to create because of the heart it came out of (sad, negative, victim heart). So I destroy everything and start again. Cause I knew it was wrong. Now I’m entering into a high time and I can create from a happier, light hearted, loving place. That seems as if I might actually like what I write finally! Haha, yes!

I heard this morning that this is how manifesting works. You set your intention and focus all your attention on your intentions and that’s how they come to be. I never thought about it this way, but that’s what I am trying during this moon. For now, everything is about love and inspiration. All my attention is on that.

The low side of this New Moon will be a deep seed of fear and competition, so if you feel yourself beginning to feel like you need to win, you need to be the best, you need to be on top. You’re entering into the low vibration of this energy. Check in with your energy and see how much fear is taking up residence in your heart, clear out that energy with some meditation or quiet time or abstaining from an addiction. Controlling the desire instead of desiring to control. Being present today will remind you that you are exactly where you need to be and there is nothing more you need to do but follow the path you are on. No need to stress or worry that your life will become that dream in your head. If you are headed towards that goal, you will get there and if you surrender to the journey and the lessons of every day you will show up prepared with everything you need to succeed.

I leave you with this quote from the poem “Here Am I” by Anis Mojgani (my favorite poet of all time)

“And the answer comes:
already am,
always was,
and I still have time to be”

I’m Responsible for Me.

At the very beginning of healing, when I first begin to realize just how affected by everything I truly had been, I was really overwhelmed. I saw all the bad in myself. Habits I had formed to protect myself or to please myself without anyone else’s judgment. I was sneaky, angry, dramatic, and irresponsible.

At one point, I crashed my car. I was in the midst of leaving an angry voicemail for a family member and I had become so distracted by my emotions, I ran a red light and T-boned another car. Sadly, in my immaturity, I blamed my family member for my accident. My reasoning was if they never would have mad me so angry, if they would have just answered my call, if they weren’t making me drive across town in the first place, I would have never gotten into an accident. No one was injured in that accident, except me. Which says a lot, because the truth of this situation was that I was the only one responsible for that accident. I was on the phone, I was distracted, I didn’t stop at the red light (whether I saw it or not). I was wholly responsible for the crashed car and my crashed life.

I was at a terribly low mental state. I was weak, and refusing to take responsibility for my own actions. I assumed if everyone wasn’t so shitty, I wouldn’t need to be this person defending myself all the time. I wouldn’t be reacting if they stopped attacking me. There is a small amount of truth there, but what I really needed to see was that my actions are my responsibility.

My husband and I were laying in bed one night as I was ranting about what was happening to me. He leaned over, with some stern tough love and said, “Rhea, you need to grow up and take responsibility for yourself”. I shut up immediately. While there probably is a kinder or more loving way to communicate this message to me, tough love is something I have always responded too. In that moment, I needed that tough love.

So, I needed to own up to my actions. I needed to take responsibility for myself. I started first by cutting out the people who were triggering me to react like this. I used to say I would put them in “time-out” but now, being a bit more mature than that, I know I just needed some space to think. It was a couple months before I realized where I had messed up with my family. I had reasons to act in the terrible way I did (given my history of emotional/psychological abuse and the fact that I was grieving my dads death) but that cannot be an excuse to being a shitty person to the people around me.

Everyone has a life that we know nothing about. I was 24 long years of pain and confusion. Everyone has hurt and pain and not many people acknowledge it and try to change it. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be kind because I know people are hurting. I’m not going to operate from my hurt because that only ends up hurting more people. I want to be detached from this pain game of stabbing one another in an argument. I want to be understanding not judgmental of people reacting to pain. So I had to stop making my pain an excuse, heal it finally, deal with my triggers and then be better. (not that I’m all the way there yet, but the progress is definitely evident)

I assume everyone around me is a bleeding mess. Why? Because when I was a bleeding mess I was in good company. I had a lot of people who acted the way I acted, when I retold the story of my accident without taking responsibility for my emotions people agreed with me and understood me. When I started to heal, and accept my fault, and actually try to change, not many people understood that. When I tried reacting to my problems differently it was like a whole new world opened up for me.

So how does one take responsibility for one’s self? I don’t fully know the answer but I’ll tell you where I started.

  1. Feed and water myself every day.
  • This is taking responsibility for your body. You have to eat and drink water everyday.

2.   Sleep well.

  • This is taking responsibly for your energy. Plus sleep is wonderful and healing so don’t skip out on it. 

3.   Commit to a morning routine.

  • This is taking responsibility for your mind. Giving yourself a chance to wake up and be ready for the challenges ahead facing your own healing. I find this to be crucial to every adults life.

4.   Learn new things.

  • expanding your knowledge, expands your consciousness which helps you see who you are and where you need to change. Learn philosophy, history, cosmology, gardening, storm chasing, anything that keeps you grounded. Learning about the world and its history will help you understand yourself.

5.   Get exercise

  • Just take a walk. I promise you’ll feel better. Sun, movement, sweat. It’s good for the mind. Pushing thorough pain and resistance in your physical body is what helps you conquer the pain and resistance in your mental state.

Taking responsibility for your physical wellbeing is where you start. Once you start to feel good, you’ll emotional problems will bubble up, you’ll get triggered, you’ll react, but you’ll feel so good in your body that you might get the chance to think about a new reaction before you react in your normal way. 

I’m not perfect at this stuff but I try. I consider feeding and watering myself to be an annoying daily maintenance, but this taking responsibility for myself. I am committed to healing, and I will do the things I need to do to heal.

I think Social Media Sucks.

True Statement – Social Media is a waste of time. I refuse to believe I need it in any form. I don’t need it to market myself, I don’t need it to connect, and I don’t need it for inspiration or encouragement. I find that else where.

Since deactivating Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram two weeks ago, I can truly say I feel free. Do you know how long it’s been since anyone has force fed me their opinions on Trump/politics? Do you know how long it’s been since someone has shown me before and after pictures of their weight loss progress? Do you know how long its been since someone tried to scare me about measles, global warming, or child/pet abusers caught on tape? I haven’t seen a physical fight, bare booty, or perfect family in two whole weeks since disconnecting from the virtual reality of social media.

I see imperfect people, knocking over displays in the grocery store, locking their kids in their cars, and pouting through their days. Normal imperfect people like me. I’m not flooded with happy smiling faces, and other peoples complaints about their normal boring lives, no perfection to witness, only real life reality.

I was waiting in a lobby and witnesses a couple whisper-fighting, I heard parents discussing their 18 year old son and how they will handle his independence, and I watched a socially anxious dude not hear his name being called and freaking out when he got skipped. It was beautiful.

No  fake world of social media here to bury myself into. Only a truly entertaining reality. I don’t know what’s happening in my friends lives until I see them in real life, so now we have things to talk about. Further, I realize who are actually my friends in real life, very few of the 100’s I pretend to know. I read books now, lots of them. Consuming them at an intense speed. I process my thoughts instead of posting them. I’m more content, more safe, more at home with my loneliness now that there is no where to run to (even though social media is the perfect place to remind me of just how lonely I am). I’m not itching for a like, attention or validation. I haven’t taken a selfie in a month or so. I don’t even care what I look like. It’s so wonderfully free. I may never come back. I can’t see a reason to do so.

Social Media sucks, delete it. You wont regret it.

Bad Habits

I’ll admit it. I’ve been feeling pretty down these days. I’m upset about it too. I was on a very steady incline, not allowing myself to become overwhelmed by my increasing energy and happiness until I reached the peak of my mood. In the past, I would have overwhelmed myself with every activity and project, and seeing people, and being social, and trying to impress my children, and marketing my business, and spending spending spending until I was broke. This would all work for a week or so, until my energy crashed and I was spiraling into an equally deep depression. That’s sometimes how being bipolar works. If I’m not aware of how to manage my high times, meaning keeping my energy in check, not getting too excited about things (even ideas), being sure to still schedule lots of rest (and taking it!), and staying on my routine, I’ll go go go until I run myself into a wall.

So instead with all that extra energy, I spring cleaned my house, I prepped a months worth of dinners, I have taken daily walks, I went to the dollar store and bought some things to organize, I organized! I did all the good things for me. I didn’t stay up late talking to people I know when I couldn’t sleep because of the hypo mania, I read. I didn’t run every morning and hurt myself with muscle cramps or sore knees after a 20 minute jog, I walked. I handled myself gently, which I honestly think is the biggest lesson I have learned during this time that I have been healing. I was raised by ministers who were always on. They would get exhausted once all the people left and they had no one to impress. They hid in their room and recharged, every day, leaving me lonely and emotionally neglected. Why then as an adult was I trying to function the same way? Well, we replicate what we see, simple as that. So it’s time for me to break my bad habits.

For the past couple days I have been down. Well, not even down so much, just neutral. When you have been flying through the highs of hypomania, a neutral mood can feel depressing.  This gets confusing for bipolar people who are not as emotionally intelligent as I have become. That’s only because I have been reading and reading and reading about being bipolar so I can actually do something useful with myself and not be a slave to the emotional rollercoaster I navigate every day. 

This morning I woke up “unhappy”. What was I really feeling? I go through the emotional rolodex, I listen to the conversation in my head, I ask myself questions. Did I have any complaints? No, my life isn’t exceptionally difficult right now so it’s not that I’m physically going through anything hard. Was I unhappy with my spouse? No, he’s been dealing with his own healing but there is no distance I feel between us, we are happy and loving and giving to each other. I’m prepared for the coming weeks, I have my ducks in order so to speak, SO WHAT IS IT? Why am I so unhappy…

While the kids are eating breakfast, I’m in my room talking to myself. As of two weeks ago, I deleted all my social media because it was really putting a wrench in my mornings. Instead of having important conversations like the one I’m about to tell you, I’d be scrolling through people’s fake happy lives and feeling more miserable about myself, because I felt miserable. The negative feedback loop. Instead, I’m talking to myself now. Why are you unhappy Rhea? How can we get through this day and still show up for the people who love us while being true to our own feelings and not masking ourselves for others. So I think, I’ll get myself McDonald’s to feel better about starting my day… Now stop there… There is nothing wrong with eating foods you like, but I unfortunately have a very emotional relationship with McDonald’s breakfast menu. And I have been acutely aware over these last months or so of my emotional eating habits. It all started when I was in my pre-teens. As I was becoming aware of the little time I had with my mother on the weekends, I started to act out whenever my dad would come to pick me up. One time, I locked myself in the bathroom. It was a good trick to get him into my house, which only felt awkward and wrong to me once it actually happened. He asked me to come out calmly. I expected him to bust in the door, but he just sat outside and talked to me.

“Why won’t you come out?”
“I don’t want to leave.”
“I’ll buy you McDonald’s, anything you want, if you come out please?”
“…… Ok”

That’s basically how it went. I’m easily swayed by food. He bought me a Bacon Egg and Cheese Bagel sandwich from McDonalds, it had ranch on it, when they discontinued it I cried. He started to do that for me every Sunday, which became a ritual I looked forward too. I hated leaving my mom’s house, but looking forward to fast food allowed me to forget about that.

A clever ploy to get an obstinate child to cooperate, but it wasn’t what I truly needed in that moment. My dad never asked me what got me to lock myself in the bathroom in the first place. To be honest, my dad was never all that comfortable talking to me about my emotions to begin with. This need of mine, an emotional connection with my father, was severely neglected.

Fast forward, I’m 18 going on 19. I’m working part time, I have a miserably controlling and judgmental boss who counted my breaks to the second, I’m budding into adulthood, while my parents were desperately freaking out about it, I’m getting my independent wings, working for a church that is abusing my spiritual obedience by volunteering me to do hard physical labor for free weekly, and I’m beginning to fall in love with someone everyone told me was bad for me. Oh! and I’m trying to take a full course-load of college… for fun because I had no purpose for my life. Emotionally, I’m a wreck. I wake up every morning and dread my 7:00am class. So instead of going, I hide in my car at the closest McDonalds (back when GPS wasn’t so accurate and it would still look like I’m at the college building, because my parents would check). I had stress migraines so bad that I ended up going to the ER for them. I had finally had enough with work, so I stopped showing up and promptly got fired.  I had $500 left in my bank account, that I was saving to buy myself a camera, so I could make money working for myself. Within a 3 month span, without the emotional awareness to see that I was trying to handle an intense amount of stress, I’d spend all my money on fast food breakfasts, pretending I was at college. No one knew, no one cared when I got fired, no one cared when I failed college, no one cared when I was broke. Should they care? In reality, no, but I find it hard to swallow that my dad and step mom didn’t have any questions for me when I suddenly felt the need to sell my first car, cause I no longer could afford it. They didn’t even give me a lecture on “This is why we work, to be responsible for our possessions.” Strange, that we never talked about anything.

I had maintained that emotional eating habit until even now. I’m a sucker for fast food breakfast. I have a hard time staying ahead financially (now at 26 going on 27) because I can’t unnecessarily spending money on fast food! This year though, I am focused on this problem of mine. I started meal prepping to take away the convenience-factor, I started buying ahead and buying snacks I liked, not necessarily the healthiest thing for me. Why? Because I know I am an emotional eater. It’s going to happen, emotions will come, and I’d rather be prepared, instead of being tempted to spend. it’s worked out well for me, and I finally feel like I have a small grasp on this, even though I still am working through my emotional triggers.

So why was I unhappy this morning? Well, for the past couple days, I haven’t been waking up early like I normally do (excuse: I was tired, my allergies were coming on making breathing difficult, I have water stuck in my ear, my back feels tight) I haven’t been working out (excuse: I’m tired, yoga videos are boring, the weathers so unpredictable –– haha, cmon Rhea!) I haven’t been eating well (excuse: it’s the end of the month, so I’m eating what we have until I get to the store again, following my routine so I can save money) and if we are being wholly truthful, the conversation in my head has been hostile because of all this. I’ve changed the way I talk to myself, drastically. I’m finally at a place that I can tell my mind to shut up and stay quiet when I start to get mean to myself, still working on the whole, “now say something nice to yourself” bit but we are getting there. These past three days, I’ve been slipping, I notice all my bad habits now. I’ve been calling myself out, so to speak, but that’s not how you get someone to change. That’s just how to make someone feel judged.

I’ve been judging myself for my lack of energy, that’s what was making myself unhappy, because in the past low energy = low productivity and I like to be a productive person. That seems silly. That also seems like something I could change or work around now that I have identified it. The only reason I was even able to identify it though is because I didn’t follow through with my normal bad habit of eating to distract myself from my emotions. I sat in that uncomfortable bad mood and moved my body, which moves the energy. I got in the sun, I pushed through pain, I told dragged my miserable self through our new found healthy habits!

Instead of driving to McDonalds, I walked my kids to school (solving the activity problem I was having) I made myself coffee and a nice bowl of weed to cushion my emotions while I worked through them (solving my comfort issue with handling these things) I wrote a blog about it (solving my productivity judgments of myself) and now I have the energy to go do some laundry (which is the lowest energy chore I really have as a mother, but at least I’m still feeling responsible and productive). I’m doing good by myself, even if from the outside I don’t look like I’m doing much. When I feel better, I’ll run laps around them… just watch.

Don’t give into to the need for pleasure.
Allow yourself to be uncomfortable.
Dig a little deeper into that emotion by asking yourself more questions.
Change your habits, walk out the solutions.
Find longer-lasting happiness.

That’s the formula to working through emotional triggers. At least, this is how I work through my emotional triggers. Here’s to healing!

 

What If No One Cared?

I’m a supernaturally creative person. I’m never short of good ideas. I’m used to being acknowledged for my creative ideas. I’m used to being wanted for my insights. I’m used to being looked up to on what to do. I’m used to being taken from and rarely given. I’ve supported a lot of people. I’ve fed most of my enemies. I have become weak in front of people who could care less if I lived or died.

So what happens then when giving all of yourself no longer brings the company you desire. What if reaching out was only futile and texts never returned answered. WHAT IF NO ONE CARED? How would you keep moving forward?

I have been doing this mental exercise to help me become more emotionally independent. I pretend no one exists. I might close the door to my room and pretend absolutely nothing is on the other side of my walls. What would I do if no one cared? What would I do if I was completely alone with all the power to my own happiness? I’d paint my nails regularly, and read books quicker, and keep my house clean. I’d listen to music and learn to play my favorite songs. I’d draw, I’d paint, I’d take walks and plant flowers.

And no one would know. They would only know if they came here and visited me.

That’s where social media tricks us into thinking we need to keep everyone updated on our lives. But how surprised would they be if we were able to tell them all that’s happening while we were away. What if my life were actually a mystery? Would they care then? Maybe I’d feel less sad if I stopped seeing such fake happy faces? I’m apart of some groups on Facebook for mental illness. I find it curious how often people post about how miserable and lonely they are and when I click through to their profile, I’d never be able to tell. It’s all posed happy faces, filters and dog ears, and facetune. No one knows how miserable we all are cause no one cares to talk about it. Even further, no one wants to listen to it either. So we are all stuck in this cycle of silent suffering.

I ask myself if anyone will come to visit me when I’m gone from the virtual world. Would anyone ask where I went? Would anyone text me to be sure I’m ok? Truthfully, it doesnt matter, or at least it can’t because what if no one cared? Would I keep going? Would I keep living a happy life if I never showed anyone?

I don’t want to sound like I’m waving a “No one cares about me” flag, because that’s not what I’m saying. I have wonderful supportive relationships of people who do really love me and I know it and feel it. They come and visit me, they are here in my home, in front of my face with hands I can touch and laughter I can hear and hungry bellies I can fill. I’ve just decided that’s enough for now. I don’t need to pretend anyone else likes me because they “like” my posts. That’s not real. As soon as I stopped posting, I stopped believing they care and that is what I’m getting at. It hurt for a second but only because I knew this was always the truth. Those people I cared about in the virtual world, they like EVERYTHING (even the people they talk shit about) and I’m not just some common person. I’m special and unique and the people who are close to me know that as well. By stepping away I’m leaving the vibration of narcisstic-attention-seekers and superficial-post-likers. I don’t need to be “liked” anymore.

I’m gonna be ok out here. All on my own. I’m still doing shit, creating shit, writing shit, feeling like the shit. So I’m good. I’m happy. Thanks for caring.

I’m a renegade.

Art by: Stefan Koidl

 

I’m a renegade –
a person who deserts and betrays an organization, country, or set of principles.

I’m a renegade of the Christian religion.
I’m a renegade of Jesus.
Fuck Jesus. Fuck the resurrection. Fuck the transfiguration.
Fuck him.

I’m a renegade of hope.
I’m a renegade of heaven.
I’m a renegade of hell.
I’m a renegade of sin.
I’m a renegade of honoring your father and mother.
Fuck honor. Fuck parental respect.
Fuck the parents who don’t earn their child’s trust and respect.
Fuck the parents who abuse the minds of children.

I’m a renegade of Sunday School.
I’m a  renegade of pastors.
I’m a renegade of holiness.
I’m a renegade of righteousness.
I’m a renegade of elitists.
I’m a  renegade of A-teams.
Fuck A-teams, Fuck people who think they are better
Fuck them.

I’m a renegade of control.
I’m a renegade of keeping to myself
I’m a renegade of world peace.
Fuck world peace.
Fuck agreeing to disagree
Fuck the people afraid of confrontation.
Fuck not fighting for your beliefs. 

I’m a renegade of secrets
I’m a renegade of laws
I’m a renegade of rules
I’m a renegade of quiet.
Fuck being quiet. Fuck not screaming the truth
Fuck being silent.

I’m a renegade.
I will not be controlled.
I know the truth and I’m coming for you.

Thoughts on Depersonalization.

Photo is the cover of the graphic novel, Fight Club 2, written by Chuck Palahniuk, illustrated by  Cameron Stewart, and David W. Mack

Trigger Warning: mention of suicide and self harm.

The first time I felt it I was staring at my favorite blanket I have hung on my wall that I bought myself for my birthday. I’m the type of person who feels a connection with my possessions. My clothes make me feel something, my decor makes me feel something, my blankets make me feel something. I know they are mine. I remember the connection I had with it when I gave the teller my money. But this day, I walked into my house and felt nothing. I didn’t even feel like I was in my own home. I could remember buying it, but it’s like it wasn’t my memory.  If I looked in the mirror I wouldn’t recognize my face. I would know its me, but I wouldn’t feel that thing that makes you a person. That feeling that there is life in my veins. I’m just completely disconnected.

It’s hard to describe depersonalization exactly. My best way to describe it is, it feels like when you drive home from work one day, and pull into your garage and you think, whoa how did I get here and not crash! Was I even paying attention? Is this even my house! Only when you are depersonalizing, you can’t just shake it off and connect, you just sit behind your eyes and wait for the connection to happen again. It’s frustrating when I’m with my kids and I know they are looking for something from me that I cannot give them, emotional connection. In a moment of depersonalization it is impossible for me to connect, so I have ways of faking it for them while they are young. Fake smiles, connected responses. I’m just mothering on auto-pilot hoping that they don’t notice for now. It’s not like I can control this. 

It’s not fun, its not cute, it’s mostly harmless, but its scary as fuck. There isn’t a medication to make you come back to reality, you just float there. Your spirit isn’t connected to your body and your mind is trying to talk the three of you through it.

I walk around my house and think “I know this is my couch. I don’t recognize this couch but I know its mine I have the receipt. I know this is my home. It doesn’t feel like my home but I can check my bank account to know I pay my mortgage.” Depersonalization is just like the movie Total Recall. You have all these memories but you question if they are truly yours. Maybe someone just downloaded them into your head. 

This is a symptom of psychological abuse people don’t really know about. Maybe people don’t even know this is happening because in the culture we live in we are constantly disconnected from reality and connecting to our phones, scrolling socials and distracting ourselves from our pain. For me, its triggered by stress and I had a very stressful day yesterday. It doesn’t happen a lot but I am depersonalized right now. I’m slowly coming back to the present. Describing what it feels like is helpful.

I have depersonalized while driving. Mostly when I have been at that dangerous-suicidal level of depression. I can hear myself having suicidal thoughts but it’s like my spirit cannot talk back to my mind and tell myself no. Sometimes I wonder how dangerous that is. I’m not suicidal today though, or lately so I’m not going to fear it. I can only be aware this happens to me.

The biggest problem for me is the inability to emotionally connect. I’m personally an emotionally dependent person (working on more self reliance) so when I know I want to connect with someone and cant, it enrages me. And I can’t bring myself down from the rage because I cannot find empathy in my heart. It’s like I am split, disconnected, turned off? All those things, together and separately.

I don’t have any helpful tips yet except to maybe find something real. Once I was so scared while I was depersonalized that I had to force myself to go outside and stand in the sun. I could only know that the sun is real. Everything else seemed like a lie. It was the summer and the pebbles in my back yard were absorbing all the heat of a 100*F day. I stood on the pebbles and waited until I felt them burning my feet. I wonder if that Kanye song “Ghost Town” is describing depersonalization. Some people hurt themselves when they cannot connect. I could understand that entirely. Pain is something powerful. Today I played my guitar for the first time since 2010 and the pain in my fingers from playing without callouses was enough to bring me back to the present for a while. See, not all pain is to be avoided. So don’t avoid it. 

When God Stopped Making Sense.

Photo is the cover of the Japanese version of the novel “VALIS” by Phillip K Dick, which are the quotes referenced in the blog below.

“Perhaps this is the bottom line to mental illness: incomprehensible events occur; your life becomes a bin for hoax-like fluctuations of what used to be reality. And not only that — as if that weren’t enough — but you … ponder forever over these fluctuations in an effort to order them into a coherency, when in fact the only sense they make is the sense you impose on them, out of necessity to restore everything into shapes and processes you can recognize. The first thing to depart in mental illness is the familiar. And what takes its place is bad news because not only can you not understand it, you also cannot communicate it to other people. The madman experiences something, but what it is or where it comes from he does not know.”
-Phillip K Dick.

This quote made me realize why I suddenly “fell off the path” of religion, how my life got turned upside and nothing made sense, how my eyes sprang open in the face of reality. Every time I try to close my eyes again the universe is there to rip my eyes open and remind me to pay attention. I have been mentally ill for a long time. I can see the signs in myself as young as 6 years old. But the incomprehensible event, the thing that took that budding illness and forced into a chaotic blossom, was when my step mom died of cancer, 5 years ago.

This was my car crash. This is when familiarity left me. This is when everything stopped making sense. My step-mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and chose not to treat it, per my father’s insistence. Why? They believed “God” would heal her, and I believed it too. I prayed for her, worried for her, obtained an eating disorder I disguised as fasting for her. I hoped and hoped and had faith that God would heal her.

Then one day, I get the call that she has broken her hip, they cannot do surgery to save her because her cancer is so extensive, and within three days she was gone. On that day, god died too. I still hated her on the day she died. We had so much animosity between us. I felt my sin, aka my angry feelings toward her, caused her to die. I didn’t know it yet, but I was so angry because she was a narcissist who psychologically abused me.

After her death, I posted weird things on facebook. I talked about how she was “an example of love” and that she “gave her heart to the people around her” because that’s how she wanted people to perceive her, but in my heart I knew the truth. She was a hypocrite, she invited both of the people who sexually assaulted me into our home and put us in the shower together, she would spend hours on the phone “witnessing” to someone all the while she was ignoring me and my deepening depression which led me to attempting suicide, she cuddled homeless kids on the street and she would smack me when I got an attitude. I didn’t even have my eyes opened to what really happened to me until probably a month ago. I had no idea this was happening, because I was a child and impressionable and trusting. Most of the abuse she inflicted on me she disguised with Bible verses and Christian-ese. I knew she was a ‘good christian’ but I also knew she was my evil step mother who I hated. I was raised in such a strict religious home, that I willingly spent a year with a Christian-cult and furthered the psychological damage she’d inflicted by willingly participating in thought reform. It’s taken me eight years now to fully understand reality. There was been an intense amount of therapy I have put myself through to finally teach myself the truth about the world instead of the religious lies that were being fed to me.

But then my dad died. Just one day, blood clot travelled up form his knee and lodged in his heart. He was gone. Forever.

Not two weeks before his passing I told my husband I was finally ready to talk about my feelings towards my step-mom and my changing mind about religion. I never called my dad and set up that date. My biggest regret of my life. At this point, I’d already accepted heaven did not exist. So then again, my world shakes and falls apart. My holy and perfect father was now a soul with no where to go. Until I found out the real reason him and my mom divorced, he had cheated on her, with a prostitute. This fucked me up because my whole life my step-mom told me it was my older brother’s fault my parents got divorced. This gave me so many angry emotions for my brother that weren’t even justified.  This is the moment I really started to operate from the unhealthiest sides of my brain. How could my dad just suddenly be gone? How could he suddenly be unholy, he was perfect to me? How could the smoke of our happy religious life be clearing and reality be so painful and cold and dirty. Just like when we cleaned his house after he died. My child hood home was covered in dirt, infested with cockroaches, and altogether the alternate reality of my ‘good’ childhood.

“Just tell me why; why the fucking why?” To which the universe would hollowly respond, “My ways cannot be known, oh man.” Which is to say, “My ways do not make sense, nor do the ways of those who dwell in me.”
-Phillip K Dick

This is the quote that finally led me to the path of healing. Nothing is meant to make sense. Even though my unhealthy brain tells me, it makes sense because God cannot exist. This is just “the only sense they make is the sense you impose on them, out of necessity to restore everything into shapes and processes you can recognize.” Still I say, the world is full of so much chaos, so much malevolence, so much pain, there is absolutely who no one can truly believe in the “good God” of the christian Bible without their eyes closed to reality and their fingers in their ears shutting out the truth. It’s just not possible. Unless of course, the Gnostics were correct in saying the God of this world is actually terribly evil. I could believe that, personally.

I’m here now, in a state of acceptance. I have closed the mouth of my brain and allowed the rest of my life to play out as it will. I don’t want to keep obsessing over the pain. I know the story is not over for me. I know somethings don’t make sense anymore, but that’s just cause the chapter hasn’t ended. Sometimes plot lines are farther reaching than a year or two in life.

My parents’ death opened my eyes to what the world really is. How life is actually very lonely and no one really wants to be around the realist. You have to be a little crazy in order to stomach this bitter pill of existence every day. Some people use religion, I use my mental illness, some people just numb themselves to reality, that’s cool too.

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
-Phillip K Dick

The point I’m at now in my life is that, everyone is broken. The unfortunate truth for someone like me is that my parents thought they were healed because they had “Jesus in their hearts” but that’s not real healing. It’s throwing a “scripture rug” over the stain on the carpet of reality. You gotta clean that shit up! (I’m cleaning my shit up with the Self-Authoring Suite by Jordan Peterson which I highly recommend!)

So here’s to cleaning our carpets and actually dealing with what happened in our lives. If you’re along for the journey, I’ll tell you all about what’s happening to me and how I am overcoming. Someone had to climb Mt Everest first. I just wonder if they were bipolar too and entered into a crippling depression monthly? Stay tuned.

Sonder.

Sonder  /ˈsɔn.dər/ n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you. 

A couple nights ago, my best friend and I were smoking weed outside of a seedy bar off Boulder Highway, crying about our problems. It was a beautiful best friend moment, you know the kind. My best friend and I are soul sisters, living a different version of the same story. She was a breath of fresh air that night as I was drowning in a pool of my own anxiety. See, I was being selfish and having the realization that if I intended to grow the world could not be about just me. I had to let go of anger. I had to release myself from my mistakes. Simply, I needed to breathe, and weed is a great tool for taking a deep breath.

So as I’m releasing the burdens of my mind to her and sharing peace puffs, we hear arguing coming from the other side of the bar. We both fell silent trying to listen, but were unable to identify voices and what the argument was about. Within seconds two cops pull up to the bar to break up the argument. We finally see two guys come from the other side of the building and one goes to talk to each cop. The first guy, in the navy pull over, is calmly communicating with the cop about what was happening (which I still couldn’t get the tea!) and the second one, with the white sweatshirt, was arguing with the cop about god knows what.

The cop with the black beanie is trying to yell louder than white sweatshirt about the law.

“Why are you getting involved? Nothing is happening? We are just having a disagreement?!”

“SIR! SIR! The law requires I get involved to prevent potential domestic violence! I have to stop you both!”

“But nothing is happening!”

“You already have a black eye! I have to make sure it didn’t happen today.”

“Who cares about my black eye!”

“I care if it happened tonight!”

Which, I’m not a lawyer, but that makes sense to me. Black beanie yells more about seeing white sweatshirts license, which he is unwilling to give the cop. Eventually though, white sweatshirt hands it over and navy pull over goes over to tap his shoulder. I couldn’t hear their words but hand motions suggested to me he was reconciling. He tapped him on the back and extended out his other hand. Now the other young cop with old man glasses comes over the white sweatshirt and asks him what was happening.

He details his life over the last week, he was beaten up at the grocery store (how he got the black eye) and they stole his groceries (he didn’t report the crime for undisclosed reasons but you can imagine what you want) he was in a disagreement with his sister who he was staying with currently (so heavy family drama) and now he was arguing with his friend for another reason that I still could not hear.

It quickly calms down, cops drive away, friends go back inside, navy pull over patting white sweatshirt on the back. I felt my heart aching for white sweatshirt in a strange way. In fact, tears welled up as I felt for a moment what it must be like to be him.

I was looking at him, thinking “That guy has had a shitty ass week.” Just like I had been having a shitty ass week. Looking at the situation I can speculate a lot of different things, morally I could sense maybe that guy deserved all his karma. my judgmental mind stayed silent, however, I didn’t feel anything but empathy in my heart. He must have been so stressed and came to a free comedy show just to have a good time. Probably to forget his problems for a moment, to laugh at my friends who’s whole purpose of life to make a guy like him feel a little better for five minutes.

For a moment, I felt like I saw reality for what it really is. Everyone has drama, everyone’s got stress. All of us need healing and most of us are ignoring it. I felt like I could treat the world a little kinder that night. To give myself a break and know that we are all in this crazy vortex of life together. I stopped feeling so selfish and saw my problems from another persons perspective. And then I became at peace.

We are gonna get through it.
I hope you’re remembering to breathe.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

painting by: Isabel Emrich

I’m not a perfect parent. I was 20 years old when I had my first, I have only just begun to heal myself and the things that have happened to me in my life, and I’m daily navigating a mental illness. I fail a LOT. I make so many mistakes with them. But anytime I do, I always make sure I sit them down and apologize. I was raised in a loud house, yelling, debating, arguing — this is a lot of who I was programmed to be. This benefits me in that, I’m used to standing up for what I believe and being sure in my position of my opinions. However, it hurts me in that I yell at my kids.

This kills me because my kids are brilliant examples of perfect love and do not deserve that side of me. They are so forgiving, so understanding, so loving despite all my faults. They teach me how to truly love someone. I had kids before I realized everything about myself that is harmful (to myself and others). I started the path of healing when my children would be old enough to remember the ugliness that comes up in healing. Despite all that, when I apologize they always forgive. I’m honest with them. I tell them where I’m at and they hug me and forgive me.  This all started with a quote:

“A woman who heals herself, heals her children’s children.”

It’s inevitable that I will hurt my children, because I’m just a human parent, but I chose to heal myself so that I can do better than what was done for me. I know my parents weren’t perfect either, however, religious culture depends solely on the approval of the parents for a child’s life choices. Everything I wanted for myself had to run through my father’s approval and he had one vision for me. I was not made to feel human growing up. I was a robotic vessel for the “spirit of god” with one mission and one purpose to fulfill from some invisible life-force that would punish me if I wasn’t perfect. Oh, I mean, I was raised a Christian. I was never apologized too because what had my parents done wrong when they followed the instructions of the Bible. I was never related with because God is only goodness and all my darkness was sin and God cannot be with sin. I was given no real social skills, no emotional support and guidance, I was not taught how to navigate interpersonal relationships and create boundaries to protect myself from getting hurt. But they did teach me how to memorize my scriptures and pray and fast and have faith. Skills that are absolutely 100% pointless for the life I live now on my own. It’s like I headed out on a dangerous journey with rubber chickens and marshmallows and pieces of cardboard instead of like, water… and food… and some sort of weapon.

My parents had standards as high as mountains for me and really tough love to soothe the scrapes and bruises I’d get from climbing that high without the proper training or tools. I spent a good while pleasing them, but I’m just thankful I’m not all that into hurting myself. I have done it for a while, tried to self destruct but the thing is I am so proud of the person I am, that I have built, that I find it hard to destroy it all.

Maybe being so ignored by them is what saved me? Maybe all that time alone, learning and becoming this person behind their back is the reason I ended their control so swiftly and easily. Maybe they gave me too much time to think about how I really felt and they taught me to take too firm a stance in my opinions. Maybe that’s why when I decided to take control of my own life it all blew up so violently and destroyed our entire relationship. Maybe that’s what I’m afraid will happen with my kids if I try to control them too much.

I like disagreements, however. I like to know whether or not people think for themselves, and you know this when they disagree with you. I like to teach my children to think, so I don’t run my house with an iron fist. It’s not mom’s way or the high way. It’s an open dialogue because the truth is I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. (Unless I do know what I’m doing and then the foot goes down!) I parent from my gut, I do the things that feel right for the situation (which sometimes is the wrong choice but I pay attention and learn from that) I read books, but a book cannot tell me who my daughter is, just like the Bible couldn’t tell my parents who I really was. Only I can know my daughter by spending time with her and listening to her and following her likes and interests, she’s the captain of this little tug boat that my cruise ship is dragging along. She’s navigating her own waters, I just need to tell her what’s up ahead in her path. A book cannot teach me how to discipline my son, just like the Bible couldn’t tell my parents what I truly needed. I still feel like I’m trying to figure out exactly what works for him and I am the one here with him every day trying to love him and teach him. The only thing I can do is try my best and apologize when I fail.

My dad apologized to me one time in my life, and that’s right before he died. I think he saw our situation for what it was and saw that my life turned out ok even though I didn’t do what he wanted. Maybe he just wanted to cleanse himself with the apology? Regardless, that feeling I had when he was humble enough to say “I’m sorry,” even if he couldn’t apologize for every item on my shit list, it was enough for me to forgive him of all the hell I went through as a kid. My step mom never apologized to me, and this is why I still have this disdain for her years after her passing. I see that and I tell myself that apologizing is always the right choice.

Parenting is not about a show of power, its just about giving your best effort and letting them lead the way. As long as I approached them with a heart of love, I can do what’s right for them. This is not being permissive parent, its being a philosophical parent. It’s thinking about the right response to the situation as they come. It’s being a zen master in their chaotic emotions. So yes, I’ve been stressing about my son for weeks about coloring on EVERY surface of my home, and yeah, my daughter still has a bad attitude about helping, but I’m still coming at them with love. I’m still being patient with how they learn and I’m trying new things every day. Sometimes I’m tougher on them and speak with more harsh honesty. Sometimes I sit on the ground and hold their hands and look them in the eye. Sometimes I whisper, sometimes I raise my voice. Sometimes I force them to fix it, and sometimes I make them watch me as I fix it. But I never tell them, “This is what God says and this is what you will do” Because who the fuck is “god” and how the fuck has he ever helped me.

I don’t know what’s right yet but I’m trying until I figure it out. I don’t believe anyone has the answers for me except me. I don’t think any mom’s group, or parenting book, or diet or lifestyle will help me achieve what I want to achieve. Because my goal in parenting is not to raise “good kids” my goal is that my children know who they are so when they are on their own they will be proud of their decisions and not regretful of their mistakes. Personally, all my mistakes have stemmed from what I was taught, who I was programmed to be. I’d rather help my kids wire themselves correctly then wire them to be a specific way instructed by an ancient book or an invisible man.

Most of parenting is feeling like you’re failing until its time for the kids to take the test. And then, those kids are probably going to surprise you. Mine always do. I don’t think there is any one answer to my parenting struggles, I think I can only navigate the situation for what it is. It’s not about force, or control, or results. It’s about love despite their mistakes, love despite their faults, love despite the fact that they don’t want to listen to you.

So this is what I’m telling myself today:
Deep breath mama. Be patient.
They will get it soon.