Beneath

One of my toes dips into the lake. I watch the ripple escape away from me. The mountains and sky warping in waves of expectancy. The coolness in my big toe, rushes to my head with a shiver. I sit back on the bank and wait.

Is a small ripple enough to disturb her?

I’ve been coming here for months. Dipping my toes, throwing rocks, waiting for a shift behind the mirrored surface of the lake. I know she’s there.

Is she a monster? I’ve seen the lengths of her a couple weeks ago. A slick moving tail, or fin, maybe an alien appendage. My first thought was a whale, but Ithis lake is completely locked in by a dense forest, how could a whale get here? So it’s a monster then. Or the lochness. Whatever it is, it’s got to be evil. I’m sure of it.

In fact, I’m not just sure. I’m certain. What else could it be?

I dip my toe again, this time flicking it aggressively. Nothing.

I grab a smooth stone, chucking it to the center of the lake, this time with all my effort. A flock of birds escapes a nearby tree.

As my attention is pulled to the birds, I nearly miss the surface of the water bending. A small bump under the sheets.

I stand slowly and extend my neck forward. I shifted my head slightly hoping to bend the reflection of the lake enough to see what’s underneath, but I only catch a shadowy figure swaying gracefully. I hoist myself onto my very tip toes, dodging the reflection of the mountains, trying to see the figure between the shadow trees.

That’s when I notice it coming for me. What I’m assuming is it’s back peaks again above the surface. Black wet skin. Scales? Spikes? What is this thing.

Just then, a jet of air and water explodes from the surface. The distance blast shocks me cause me to back onto the moist ground. I dig the heels of my palms into the dirt pushing with my feet to distance my self from the edge of the lake.

A wave of water rushes up on the shore before me but nothing emerges. My panting settles with the waves that slap the bank.  I can see it lingering in the shallows, looking for me, the source of the disturbance. She doesn’t leave. She smells me.

I lean myself forward onto my palms and knees and crawl to the edge of the water. I hold my breath hoping to catch moment I see the monster. Or the scale-y, spike-y whale alien? That’s when I notice it nestled into the bottom of the lake, disguising its dark body amongst the brown sediment.

Two huge blue eyes the size of dinner plates, receding into her flat head, blink at me from below the surface.  I catch my reflection glimmering in her gaze. Slowly I move forward, hoping not to disturb her.

“I have been waiting for you…” I whisper.

I stretch my hand out before me, anticipating my whole being torn off for being too curious. The blunt edge of her nose tilts up towards me, trying to capture my smells, or just feel my energy. Right as my hope peaks, I dip my hand below the surface of the water. Her claws grip into the bottom of the lake and she pushes herself back away from me. A giant tail whips through the air above my head, being careful not to hit me and knock me into the water. I spring up to my feet, desperate for her not to go away.

As the last of her tail disappears back into the mirror, I know what I must do.

I have to go in after her.

The LOVE Connection.

I had a dream. I don’t have a lot of dreams but it always seems when I do they mean something to me. Shrouded in cryptic messages from the subconscious (even though I know this isn’t really how dreams work). The other day my dream was something like this…

I have extension cords coming out of my chest. I am plugged into other people’s hearts, my kids, my husband, my mom, my sister, my best friend. And there is another cord connecting my head with my torso. Certain people walk by me and I disconnect my head from my body and connect to them. I am fulfilled for a moment. Surges of energy pulsing between us, but my head rolls away and things get foggy for me. Then I disconnect from everyone, my husband first, my inner circle after that, just chasing this emotional high from the love connection. I realize when I wake up from my dream that I have a problem.

I’m the type of person who is always starving for emotional connection. I’m desperate for it. While I’m still learning how to describe and identify the feeling exactly, it’s most likely because of the psychological abuse I grew up with. All I wanted was connection, a real conversation, a one-on-one, that-makes-perfect-sense-why-you-would-feel-that-way type of connection.

I had issues growing up. By the time I was 13, my mental illness was just beginning to form it’s little bud in me. I was a teen with depression, I was an insomniac which furthered my problem with emotional control, I was anxious and angsty. No one ever sat down with me and said “Yep, all those feelings make sense.” Instead I was met with an “It’s sin, pray for deliverance” type of love. I was a sinner, not a hurting kid.

So of course, when people come along and validate me instead of judging me, I throw everything I am at them. I disconnect from everything and give them the entirety of myself. I used to think this was noble, to love so hard. Now, I know it’s unhealthy. I’m only one person, with so much love (though in the high times it feels limitless, as if I have enough love for the whole world). Imagine I baked one cake to feed everyone I love, a love cake if you will. I cant give the new object of my affection more than what they deserve. And to be entirely honest, it’s not even right to be cutting the whole cake evenly. First and foremost, I need the biggest slice. (Which seems completely backwards for me to say coming from religious conditioning that tells you to put yourself last) I need to be fulfilled with myself. Emotionally connected to me. I need to understand me and know me and be able to represent myself in the way I intend to. When I’m not fully connected to myself I do stupid things. That’s the best way to describe it. I just do stupid things. When I am completely fulfilled in myself, it’s easier to give to those around me because I am filled up and happy. So yes, I have to prioritize my health and happiness first. Then my husband and children deserve the next biggest piece. While serving myself might offer me a chance to recharge, serving them does not. Giving my family the love they deserve is draining. It’s most of me. It’s my biggest focus in this life above all other things. I even wrestle sometimes with prioritizing my dreams and my family, because both are so important to me. My personal definition of a good mother, the way I can feel proud of myself as a mom, requires most of my attention and love. That’s ok! That’s good! I’m happy with this because I know what it means to prioritize. Then comes my inner circle. My mom, my best friend, my sister. They get the next slices of my love cake. There’s not much left but I give them what I have. I normally feel like it’s not nearly enough at that, so when more people come into my life I have to recognize now this boundary I have created for myself. I only baked one cake. What more do I have to give someone, other than giving them the piece that belongs to me or my family or my inner circle.

This just has to be a fact for me now, because the truth is, I’M STILL LONELY. Weird isn’t it? I feel like I love people and people love me and I’m balanced and happy, yet my brain keeps saying “bake more cakes”. I wouldn’t even know how to do that, at least not yet.

But I wanna come back to the extension cords. The love connections. Those precious things I value so much. I remember there was a time in my life when I cried to my husband about how surface level everything was. My conversations with people, my interactions, there was no depth. I could not find anything real. Then I met someone real. Someone deep like me. I felt that surge of emotion pulsing between us. The LOVE connection was engaged. But the bad thing about being emotionally starving (and at this time I was giving my cake to absolutely everyone) is that once someone gives you a bite of their love cake, you want their whole cake too. If they are healthy and well loved, they will only give you only what they can (I have a beautiful friend who I feel understands this so well, if she’s reading this I love you Amanda.) But if they are starving like me, it gets really messy. It becomes codependent (eat my cake and I’ll eat yours) until someone realizes how messed up this really is and the friendship ends. This is why I keep loosing friends. I let them eat all of my cake and I try to eat all of theirs.

I have moved into a more disciplined mindset lately, mostly because I feel a manic high coming on and I’m honestly terrified because of how chaotic the last one was, but I know who deserves my love cake now! Not everyone!

REPEAT AFTER ME!
NOT EVERYONE DESERVES A SLICE OF YOUR LOVE CAKE!
You deserve the biggest slice. 

Love Yourself, Celebrate Your Successes!

When is the last time you celebrated yourself? When was the last time you gave a self-high-five for a job well done? When was the last time you sat back and reflected on all the hard work you have done? I’ll tell you the last time I did… never.

Today though, today I feel like celebrating. Today I feel like singing and dancing and congratulating myself on how far I have come.

A year ago, two years ago, hell for most of my life I felt like my life wasn’t mine. But now. I know it is. I make my own decisions and am regularly pleased with my outcomes. That means I’m making good choices for myself. That’s something that this year I am actively struggling with and trying to improve. I have will-power. I eat healthy because I know I should and I know it’s good for me, not because I feel pressured to be thin, or be vegan, or eat perfectly clean. I eat well and I eat what I like, I feel like my weight is under control and I have a daily work out routine. This is something that four years ago I was struggling to manage and found myself falling off the band wagon and never returning to. I used food and exercise as punishment, but I don’t punish myself anymore.

I said “No!” to someone yesterday! Saying “no” is very hard for me but yesterday I knew I had to to protect my peace. That’s something I would have sacrificed four months ago.

My novel has reached 5000 words! Sure, that’s nothing compared to the nearly 90K length some novels tend to be, but for a year my novel was at 0 words. Now, I’m at 5000, and I’m proud of every one. Intentional, meaningful words have been put into the first draft. I’m proud of that! I have been struggling to focus on this for months now. I could hardly tell you the plot let alone write it down. Now I have a synopsis, I can clearly tell you the message of my writing and I know most of the inciting actions that will occur throughout the story.  PROGRESS!

Today started as a failure. Actually, this whole week has been a failure. While once I might have given up because everything seemed to be working against me – today I have broken a vase, a soap dispenser and the kitchen blinds and continued to completely deep clean my entire home. And because once I would have cancelled my entire party plans for my daughters birthday because my amazon order was cancelled without notice three separate times – Tomorrow, I’m going to go to the four different stores left on my list to complete shopping for her party.

Anxiety is a bitch. It has stopped my progress for so long. But I knew I wanted to be mentally stronger so I have been practicing healthy thoughts, and heathy habits so that I can grow. It has been hard work, rewiring unhealthy thought patterns, committing to working out even though no one is watching me and no cares what I look like, learning to love myself so that I can do the good things for myself. But I kept doing it and now I’m stronger. I will continue to get stronger too.

Can we celebrate today? How far have you come? I have come so far! And sure, I have SO much farther to go. I still deal with intimacy issues and setting up safe boundaries for myself and being a consistent parent, but I’m not who I was yesterday. I’m stronger than I was yesterday. I’m better than I was yesterday. And I’m happy for that!

It’s helpful to recognize where you are at. If you could see yourself from a birds eye view and see your own struggle from outside of yourself, you’d know you were on to something. Remember that! When the journey you are on gets to hard to travel anymore, set up camp and celebrate! Rest and encourage yourself. Treat yourself well, be kind to your spirit.

I thank my spirit for doing such a great job at leading me with my intuition.
I thank my mind for finding the focus I have been looking for for so long.
I thank my body for being healthy and being strong enough to get me through my day. 

 

NEW MOON INTENTIONS: Aligned with Purpose.

HAPPY FEBRUARY and happy new moon, my friends. This New Moon has already blasted me with tons of inspiration, which is exciting for me and simultaneously completely intimidating. I have the good ideas, but do I have the will and focus and determination to bring those ideas to reality? Somehow this New Moon seems to have inspired me to try a little harder to focus on the things I am trying to achieve.

For three long months, I have been painfully distracted. My headed has been clouded with so many issues that my work as nearly halted. I’m writing but I cannot remember the last time I found myself in a flow-state and I have been desperately searching for that river again. I have always viewed creativity like a well. You can always come to it when you need it, but if you use it too much without seasons of rest, it’ll run dry. My greatest cure to writers block is to quit writing for a while and do something else. Paint, craft, decorate, organize. Something other than writing. Any time I’m using my hands my mind is flooded with creativity, so that’s what I have been doing. Imagine though, my well has been so overgrown with vines that I have to hack through layers of foliage before I can even drop my bucket. It’s been three months but I finally feel like I have been able to clear all these obsessive distractions from my mind and a full well is waiting underneath. I cannot wait until I can find some time to really focus.

In these last three months not all has been lost however. It’s not as though I haven’t been collecting ideas and working on the story design of my novel. Writing a book is hard, especially one that exists in a sci-fi fantasy reality like I am attempting to do. Story design is so critical when you are creating another world. I have written so much and yet, nothing at the same time. I have 6 pages of story design that have taken me nearly a year to write. That’s ok though. I’m not worried about it because if there is one thing I understand about being an artist, it’s how to get to flow and I have been working hard on finding that perfect alignment. Have you ever heard an author say “Oh, that book just wrote itself!” That’s flow-state. Getting there however is a tedious process, I’m sure any artist can understand. My mind and my creativity is a powerhouse but it takes weeks of impeccable self-care to get there. I’m sensitive and complicated. Creating for me is so vitally necessary that when I get lazy and don’t take care of myself, making it impossible to create anything satisfactory to my soul, I will get physically sick and mentally unstable until I fix it. It’s as if my whole health is hinged upon my writing and my writing is wholly rested upon my self care rituals. I’ve been distracted from myself for too long.

Because of my three months of distraction, my alone time has become a scary place for me. It’s almost as if I loose touch with myself so that when I am alone it’s like being there with a complete stranger. How uncomfortable. This is a problem for me because I’m alone, a lot! My husband works Full-Time (plus overtime) and is a stand up comedian so most nights he’s not home until later than 11 p.m. I am home during the week with my four year old and I am responsible for getting my daughter to and from school. I work on the weekends as a hairstylist and manage my clients throughout the week as well. Because most days I’m parenting completely alone, I normally end my nights completely drained, unless I’m on top of all my ‘personal chores’ I’ll call them. Eating, Sleeping, Hygiene, Reading, personal writing (or journaling), Yoga, Meditation, Resting/Naps, daily. These are the things I need. And you might wonder why I would need these things just to be able to write a book and let alone need these things just to be a good mom. Well, I already told you, I’m sensitive and complicated. Three years ago, I worked myself into a mental breakdown. I did the life I was supposed to do, kids to preschool, work eight hours, build a clientele out side of my time at work, clean, cook, stay on top of responsibilities, stay inspired, please everyone in my life. I nearly drove myself off the freeway, seriously. I am not made for the hustling life. I am made for slow, purposeful, inspired action every day. I am made for slow mornings, comfy sweatpants, long unplugged walks at my leisure, naps. I’m made for naps, ok. I love them. And taking naps whenever I have the opportunity is something someone like me needs.

So this month I intend to focus not that. Being slow, purposeful, and inspired. This blog is inspired. I flow the phases of the moon, and try to better myself around what ever wave of inspiration that moon is supposed to bring me.

I have felt attune to certain things in my life. Vibes I cannot handle. Energies attempting to drain me. And I’m focused now on directing all my personal energy and emotions towards my writing and my health and my love. This month feels like the perfect month to write about one of my favorite subjects, love. I’m inspired to tell you about the stories of all the times I have felt real love. The first time I fell in love, falling in love with my mental illness, giving birth to love, and finding real self love. I cannot wait to share all of this with you. I’m telling you, the moon has brought me a lot of material!

All of this requires me to embrace the loneliness in my life right now. After this last storm my husband and I survived together, our love for each other has blossomed into something incredible, new, and unexpected. However, both of us being victims of abuse, have this annoying problem of being unable to receive love from each other. I wish you could see us trying to convince the other we actually do really love them.

“I love you, for real!”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes! totally sure.”

“Well, I love you, for real!”

“How do you know?

And it goes around. This month feels like the callouses we have both built up to protect ourselves from the abrasive demons in our past, are softening and peeling away to reveal fresh raw skin. A new love with passion and tenderness and gentleness. I melt around him, something I have never felt before. So this void that’s takes his place when he leaves has become consuming. I face the reality of my loneliness every day and it’s not easy. I would much rather be distracted by his lips than facing the overwhelming task of healing myself. This is not what I will be getting though, so it’s time to be patient and still.

As the universe would have it, we both have work to do. He’s working on his comedy and I’m working on my writing, and this season of life requires us to conquer separately and come together at night in our bed to enjoy each others riches and victories. I should embrace this. My ‘id’ just wants the cuddles and Netflix-binges though.

My hope is that with this new found inspiration, I will use my lonely times appropriately. I know I have a purpose. The universe has echoed it back to me so clearly. I know that I have a world in my head I must capture and tell you about. I must do this. I have no other option anymore. So I intend to stay aligned this month so that I can finally make myself proud.

Have a good month, friends.

Get inspired, stay creative.

Embrace the Void.

I was a victim of narcissistic abuse.

When I was 15, I attempted to drown myself in my bathtub. I envisioned myself slipping down the drain into a prison of shit. This is where I belong, this is what I deserve. The ripples from under the surface of the water, distorted the lights above me, but they clearly continued to spread throughout the rest of my life. I never could figure out my reason for wanting to die. I knew I felt the despair but I never knew where it came from. I didn’t know why I held myself under the water for so long. As I grew older, I realized the tragedy that is teen suicide and depression. And to think I might have been part of these statistics was something I felt the need to really think about.

I kept fucking up my adult life. I felt like a jagged piece of steel. I kept buffing out the edges trying to make smooth corners and making new sharp ones that were hurting the people around me. It seemed like I was always making myself unhappy with my decisions. I wanted to confront myself. I wanted to figure out what fell into the water so long ago and why have its ripples have stretch this far for this long.

Then I have a dream. I’m under the water and staring out at the lights in the bathroom in which I tried to end my life. I see this time and time again until one night, I’m standing outside the tub and I looking at my teenage self below the water. I panicked. I dove both my hands into the water and grabbed myself by the shoulders. I pulled a towel around teenage me and I held myself tight.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry no one listened to you. I’m sorry no one believed you.
I believe you, I’m listening.”

So that’s all I have been doing. When the memories come up, I write them down. When enough memories have been written I notice the patterns, the lies, the manipulation. I was determined to figure this out. What my teenage self could never tell me, was that I was a victim of narcissistic abuse. My dad and step mom manipulated me in my emotions so much so that I didn’t even realize I was severely depressed enough to want to end my own life when I was 15. I never told a soul that I wanted to die. Not until I was older and was able to use Jesus as an excuse for no one to focus on my imperfections. God’s forgive-and-forgetfulness was the perfect excuse for me to never confront the source of the pain I felt. That’s exactly how my parents thrived for so long. 

They used the Christian God and their Bible to control me. I currently have notes in my phone filled with memories that I’ve attached to each trait of a narcissist. The saddest part for me is that I didn’t realize this is what happened to me. Since their passing, I have been learning lie after lie after lie that my parents told me about fundamental truths about life.  It angered me for a while. Then one day, someone gives me the key, the answer to all my wondering. Why is it that I am so incredibly fucked up in every area of my life? My parents were religious narcissists.

Confronting this has been a long time coming. For seven years, I have been shedding the layers of their abuse. Every step of the way has been painful and intentional. I knew I’d be reaching something, figuring out a truth that has been hidden from me for so long. And now I know it and I’m mourning. There is a victory I want to celebrate, I reached my destination. Only now here is the truth. I was abused and ignored and this is why my life is the way it is. This is why functioning is as hard as it is.

All of my unhealthy thought patterns can be traced back to this, I was parented by a narcissist. I know this because I was becoming one to protect myself from the pain of the abuse. (that’s sometimes how narcissism works) I had spent a long time getting to know myself, shedding old fake version of people I had tried to be, when finally I hit a layer that I hated. Thankfully those traits I was beginning to notice in myself were recognized as early as I did (I thank meditation for that). I could see how soon these thought patterns I was developing about life were heading me into a direction I didn’t intend to go. Forcing me to become a person who defends every weak area in my life by obsessively judging others. If I knew that they had more vices than I, then maybe we could be friends. They would see me as better than them and want to be like me. I found myself enjoying compliments TOO much, or not at all. I felt so undeserving of love and attention that I thrived on people’s compliments of me. One boys flirtatious compliment could send me into a manic trance. I felt the need to become smarter than people, so I began consuming content at lightening speed and wearing my brain out to the point of mental numbness. My motivation to wear my brain out to the point of exhaustion was simply that I needed to be sure I was right… about everything. Which a healthier me, can now acknowledge all these bad traits I was developing and tell you that I am changing. Drastically. 

I spent some time in hiding. I stopped answering calls and texts for a while and I told myself to rest. Stop trying to achieve perfection. Stop the games you are trying to play with people. Stop trying. Be yourself. Let go. Only then did I see the source. My father and step mother’s narcissism carving the grooves into my brain. Destroying my boundaries, and manipulating me into thinking its what I wanted, rather needed. But they forgot they taught me how to think…

I am one-of-a-kind. I think for myself. No one can control me. This is why they do not win despite their best efforts to control me. This is why my mind is safe from them for the rest of my life. This is why it’s important I tell you the truth… and I will. Stayed Tuned. 

A Room of White.

I find myself coddled in a crib of white. Every sharp corner of me is delicately caressed by the sheets of this bed. A breeze blows, the white sheer curtains dance before me. I breathe easy.

I hear movement behind the bathroom door.

Sounds of life call for my attention and the door opens.

There he is before me with his hands on his jaw, scratching his beard, his eyes connect to mine. He smiles at me like he remembers everything we said last night. Like he still has all my secrets present in his memory. Like he will never forget me.

I’d like to smile back but my insecurity slants it sideways. He sees that I am thinking. Before he speaks he comes close to me. He slips into the sheets and rests his head onto my chest. I breathe in the spring air and his love. His body collapses into me and reassurance tingles my head and sends certainty into my feet. Stay here for this. Do not run away. My fears drip away from me and my defenses fall on the ground next to my jeans and bra.

His looks up at me and leans up on his elbow. He reaches for my hair and tucks it behind my ear.

“What’s the matter?” he begs, sensing my inhibition.

“I feel exposed,” I say, hoping he can write the rest of my sentence.

“I’ll cover you.” He pulls the sheets up tighter, close to my chin and lays his lips onto mine.

He does not jest at the memory of my truth. He does not bring up my darkness or pain. His bright eyes keep me in the light. The wetness of his lips keep me glued to reality. This is where I want to stay. Locked in his mind. Held close to the warmth in his heart. Accepted and celebrated by his spirit.

We are hidden here in this room of truth. There is no place for our souls to hide.

A Stream of Thought.

I take every day like a test from the universe. Class is in session. I open my eyes and ask, what is there for me to learn today. I view the world through soft eyes and a dream like filter. I remember everything around me is everything I ever hoped for. I look into myself and I know I am me, and I will always be me. I will always have this chaotic brain that I love so much. I will always spin into myself, I will swirl in the glitter of my charisma, I will bathe in the pools of my own love. I will lay out in the fields of my dreams and I will let the warm rays of hope cradle me into a summer sleep. This is the time of my life that I have dreamed about. The outpour of the art. I have known my time is coming and I know there is magic in here.

I know that each day I can be happy because I choose to be. I choose to forget the anxieties that will inevitably work out, I choose to put down the worries of tomorrow and pick up my books and read today, I rest in the peace of my home and I hold tightly to the safe place I have created here. Sure there is reality to face, but I know when I need to I will. I trust my journey. I am open to all challenges. What a frightening statement.

For the next couple years of my life, hardships are inevitable. There is a dream in my heart that I see in my sleep and I always try to remember the things I have seen. I imagine myself now standing on the mountain knowing there is something coming, something harder and more challenging. But I’m resting here until I’m ready to fight through myself. Taking in that long deep breath, getting ready to scream. I’m about ready to let it all go.

Terrance McKenna says, create all the art you can and put it out into the world. With more art comes more understanding. Art comes from the spirit, and without its awakening, an artist feels lost and hopeless. Unworthy. Lazy yet inferior, like her dreams are impossible. There is a call but no voice. She will have a million good ideas but nothing will be worth committing her life to. Then her spirit will wake up. It will be a painful gasp. Vantage points will shift. Suddenly, there is urgency, necessity, she will become a slave to this, creating the masterpiece in her heart. She will know her purpose because she decided to know herself first. She will look deep into her spirit and ask, what is your voice, how do you speak. If you are quiet enough, you’ll hear her and you will know what you are meant to do. McKenna says, the meaning of life is to figure out the meaning of your life. This is what I want to know.

The universe has taken me on a journey to find balance, the one vital thing I am missing from my life. I have had to learn how to not tip too far to one side, to maintain a center position on all things. Sometimes that feels like I’m not emotionally involved, but that also feels like the right thing to do.  All my emotions are observed now, I have stepped from behind my own eyes and I watch myself now. I take into account the thoughts that fill my head when approached with a triggering scenario. I ask myself if I am justified in these things, and if I am I say what I feel directly. Calmly. Communicating exactly what I intend to say. Who is this person, slow enough to think and brave enough to respond. Can I be her always?

I feel purposeful now. I know exactly what to do in every situation. No more aimless wandering, no more wondering and searching. I know who I am and what I am supposed to do. I know what I’m supposed to talk about, I know what doors I must open. I have direction. I have a job. All other things seem less important. I feel I am meant to grow this home. I am meant to paint my creativity onto the walls, I fold hope into all our clothing, I present this place every day as a place of peace and inspiration. I know what my money is meant for. I know I must hold onto to every penny I can so I can better grow this place. I am meant to build a garden of inspiration. I am meant to fill this home with love and stillness. I know what my future will be, I see it.

In creating this life, I will also work out my art. They go together. Creativity is birthed in this home and with this life I live everyday. So I stay here in the present, waiting for the lesson, listening, still, knowing the universe will guide me exactly where I must go. 

Suddenly, my world sings to me. Everything has a message and a meaning and everything applies to my struggle. Movies, music, stories, podcasts,  they all have messages that soothe the deeper parts of my wounded soul. I listen so I can know. I listen for the right words, the right ideas and I collect them like treasure. I write down everything and fear loosing a tiny drop of inspiration. This used to drive me mad, but I have this suspicion that we relive every moment at least once in our life. Like times when we randomly remember brushing our teeth in a certain new place, or when you were a child and picked up something interesting. Every moment in life is relived at least once in our imagination. Its up to the individual to be aware of those memories. Not everyone is conscious of their stream of thought. But if I am present in my life, every memory that floats into my head can be experienced again. And each time I am able to uncover something I didn’t realize at the time I am experiencing it. That is why I find it difficult to write about the present. Most of life is meant to be lived first.  The future will give me a chance to recapture it.

I intend to capture more of these thought streams. They take weeks and 45 revisions for me to finally write, but I think I’m onto something. Thanks for reading. You have no idea what it means to me.

2018: C’est la vie

2018- C’est la vie.

This year I grew up. I bought a house, faced a possible divorce, and birthed a dream. This year I dug into my past, learned a lot of science and denounced the Christian god. I made a lot of new friends, had a lot of great conversations and I was added to more peoples blocked list this year than I have in a long time.

Some of my dreams died this year, things I had hoped for since childhood. I had to let some really important things go, and important people. I opened up to more people than I should have and talked about all the wrong topics to all the wrong people. But more times than not all those “wrong” conversations were just the thing i need to help me understand another piece of my current life puzzle I’m working on.

I confronted real issues this year, like the sexual assault in my past and how terrible of a wife I was becoming in the present and how much I really don’t know about the future. I dragged myself out of my bed of depression more times than I even want to admit but I didn’t stay down. Nothing kept me down this year. Not money, not my mind, and definitely not other people’s opinions. I believed in myself this year and I achieved. I celebrate myself for that.

I have begun creating my own philosophy on life, so I have a landing board with which to make decisions from (because that’s something necessary for me seeing as I have no god now) I read, I learned, I listened. I thought…. and thought… and thought… about really hard things (like what consciousness could even mean, whether or not there is such a thing as good and evil, and how to bring purpose to my meaningless life) I spent a lot of time alone, but the times I spent with people were filled with so much joy, laughter, and weightlessness.

This year has been a journey towards finding my authentic self. I started this journey a long time ago. I let religion tell me who I was, then I let society and politics tell me who I was, but I finally told myself “nothing matters except what you think matters” so I turned off the news, denounced the god of my father, stopped giving myself labels, and told the world “I’m human. That’s it. All other descriptors by the English language are unnecessary”

I learned more about what motivates me. I learned how crucially arousing conversation is to me, I learned how 5:45am is my secret time to wake up and write and mediate on my day. I learned the perfect stretch to reach the middle of my back. I learned how I love to wear the color green and I figured out a new way to do my makeup different than I have my whole life. I learned how to accept myself when I’m rejected. I learned that if everyone walks away from me, I won’t die. I learned that being alone is important, being able to stand alone is critical, and any person near you is not to lean upon but to encourage you to stand up stronger and straighter than before.

I have no intentions for this next year, because I stopped planning my life and let the waves of chaos take me where they intend to. I have given up control of my destiny and I’m along for the ride. Good bad or indifferent, I’m here for it. I’m showing up, living my truth and I’ll you the story later. I confronted a lot of fear this year, and learned more about the root of that motivation for me. There’s still a lot of fear of overcome though.

I want to make a list of goals, but I’m not great at meeting expectations and I don’t like setting myself up for failure. If I say I’m going to do something it’s cause I want to be sure I’ll do it. But regardless, I’ll make it anyway, even if I “fail” this year.

In 2019 I will…

… complete the first draft of my novel.

… improve my flexibility even more with yoga

… run more with Maggie, my dog.

… expand my garden

… read read read

… regularly post blogs about philosophy, parenting, food, and my life

But these are things I’m already doing on a daily basis, my intentions I have that expand me from my comfort zone…

… finally write my personal story and post it

… volunteer (I have some places in mind)

… meet more new people in new situations

… be confident in myself even when I’m unliked

… complete some of my incomplete short stories

What I want to overcome…

… fear of everything

… be able to bridle my obsessive personality

… doubting myself

… my defensive, judgmental nature

And I wanna stop there because therapy taught me I like to set the bar way too high for myself and I think more would overwhelm me. Shoot straight and high! Regardless I’ll see what happens this year. I have let the reigns go and I’m following this wild horse wherever she leads. It’s much more exciting this way.

The one thing I can say is I hope this year is full of love. I hope I spend more time kissing laughing holding and helping then I do crying contemplating and stressing.

Should 2019 be another wild ride, I’m prepared for it. But if it wants to be a slow and unexciting year, I’ve got a library I need to catch up on so that’s cool with me too.

The Hard Years of Marraige.

Today, my husband and I celebrate 4 years of marriage. This was our first official year of homeownership, and we celebrated 7 years of being in love this summer. All the dangerous years of marriage wrapped up into the perfect storm.

Coming into our marriage, neither of us really knew what we were doing. My parents divorced when I was 2, but both remarried. My dad and step mom remained married until the day that she died from cancer and he followed her a year a half later with a heart attack and my mom and step dad are still married to this day. I wouldn’t say either of their final relationships were perfect, however, despite the split of my family the stability that was birthed out of it was probably the best of a bad situation. I remain grateful for that. However, this bred a deep rooted fear of divorce in me and my inability to confront our real problems that were beginning to grow between us. I was drowning in my issues and the waters were rising fast. 

My husband’s parental situation was completely different. He was raised by his grandparents because his mom was a chasing a meth high for the first fifteen years of his life. His father had always been absent, though later he would attempt to contact John after being released from prison. His grandparents marriage was an absolutely committed necessity. Between their mentally handicap son who already lived with them, and my husbands siblings and cousins all making corners of residence in their small home, there was no room to even consider whether or not we like each other enough to keep this going for the long term. Though, in good faith, I’m sure they loved each other because of the beautiful memories my husbands tells me of their Monday night bingo dates, and the special tuna casserole she made only for him. It was a simple partnership that was driven by their need to be a united team carrying the burden of feeding all these hungry mouths. However his mom’s consistent inconsistency was reflected in the consistency of my mental illness and my growing habit of protecting him from the truth of certain things we were facing started to trigger his alarms that I was leaving him the way his mother had lied and left him all those years ago. Suddenly, he was unable to trust me and his insecurities became gail-force winds. 

Our marriage are explosive yet nurturing, encouraging yet critical, a whole lot of chaos stitched together by our best attempts at order. We have this undeniably strong connection. From the moment we met our souls just knew. There was never a doubt in my mind that we were perfect while we were still kids. We created two beautiful children who have the most amazing hearts and minds. The things they teach us are priceless treasures beyond words. John and I tirelessly sew their gardens with stability and comfort and understanding, things we both grieve as missing from the memories of our childhoods. But this year, so much changed for us.

See, my husband is like the wind. At his best he is the cool spring breeze that gently tosses your hair, his laughter is gust of wind carrying a bouquet of red balloons away. He is silly, and loud and a deep well of wisdom and care. And me, I’m water. When I’m good, I can cleanse wounds, I clean the feet of muddy children, I bring a peaceful purring, serenity, tranquility. While a breeze and a river, would be the most picturesque version of what we really can be, a violent windstorm and a heavy rain is the hardest place to find peace. Add in a dense amount of heat (or in our case, passionately pursuing our dreams for the first time) and a massive amount of pressure (financial problems, mixed with growing issues in our current careers, and my mental illness) and that’s how you get a Hurricane. And we were forming off the coast for a long time.

The best and worst thing about hurricanes is once they hit land, the destruction can be massive, just depending on how much pressure was really forming over the oceans, however land is what slows the hurricane down and brings the storm back down to a steady rainfall. This too shall pass. 

This year, my husband and I bought a home. The perfect home. Every corner is filled with possibility. Getting this home taught us how to dream. While we rented for 4 years prior were kept our heads above the rising waters of my mental illness by fantasizing what our perfect home would be. All that dreaming drove us right to the front door of a tiny little house, in the quietest family neighborhood, filled with kids and joggers and Christmas lights. The little white house on Hurricane Way was ours within 10 hours of seeing it for the first time.

I was coming to the end of a 4-5 year long existential crisis in which I lost my religion and was inspired to maybe write a fictional novel based on the incredible lessons I learned in that time. Suddenly my whole life made sense. Suddenly I saw the story line of every terrible thing that had happened to me. I was deep in the depths of depression, learning to heal from some painful wounds I had been wanting to grow away from, and it’s like a rope dropped down and I was able to see myself out of this half of my mental illness. If I could tell the whole story, I could understand, heal and forgive. So i began writing, and writing, and writing, I was learning so much about myself. 

More than half way through the year my husband has an idea. He’s always wanted to be a comedian and it seemed as if the universe was just screaming at him “Now is the time!” He was lonely, depressed, and overwhelmed. My once happy glowing husband became an anxious ghost who floated from bed to couch to work every day. Comedy gave him goals again. It gave him something to think about, a project to fill the empty chatter of anxiety, it gave him a tool to break through the hardened layer of callous that had formed around his heart from a childhood filled with severe amounts of abuse and neglect. He wanted to be able to make people feel happy because he was so very unhappy. But happiness requires the heart to expand and grow and a heart thats been hardened has a difficult time doing that. So he began tearing open the callouses and revealing the layers of hurt and abuse that he had been hiding deep inside. More times than I can count I found myself sobbing and begging him to stop telling me the stories of his abuse. I wanted so desperate for my healing waters to cleanse him and heal him but suddenly his trauma was so huge, I ended up becoming consumed in him.

The stress reached a dangerous level for me where I nearly collapsed because I hadn’t been able to eat or drink for longer than I want to admit. Our storm was approaching the coast and we were about to make landfall.

The best part of comedy was the socialization that John so desperately needed. The laughter was filling him with air to breathe again. It’s air he needed as he continued to embrace his past and try to understand himself. Meanwhile, I was entering a manic episode, induced by all the stress and lack of sustenance and sleep. Then we met a someone who was grounded and stable and wanted to be our friend. It was like we were floating over the lands and slowing down. Things were improving for us, until this new person got a little too close and our storm reached catastrophic levels.

Before I realized John was coming to terms with things that had happened to him, he was just a mean husband. In defense, I became a critically cold wife. I knew more was happening than just his attitude on the surface, but like it normally happens I realized too late. I kept forgetting that I knew something was going on inside of him. My defensive and sensitive nature started to take his healing all too personally. I began complaining to my friends about feeling mistreated. I was starting to become that friend who only ever complains about her marriage, the one you think “I’m sure glad I’m not as miserable as her.” The friend who makes you appreciate how easy your love is. All my complaining started to bring the wrong people too close to the eye of our storm and if you know anything about hurricanes, being just outside the eye is the most dangerous place to be. We hurt some people and some people hurt us. We made some messes but thankfully nothing was truly destroyed. Except maybe a few bridges… 

I learned this year how hard years in marriage really require keeping the rest of the world at arms length. No one knows what really goes on between the four walls of your home unless they are committed to you. The wrong people will judge you, especially if they aren’t married! We all know marriage can get mighty messy, and incredibly complicated, especially when you are two free spirits like my husband and me. Thankfully though, I have a best friend, stable like the ground you walk on, she is everything I needed to help calm this storm back down. She helped both of us remember the love we had when we reached our final threads. The sun peaked out for us, one night as I waited outside my husbands job to prove to him, despite his abusive past telling him I was leaving, I never was. My best friend stayed with me on the phone while I waited for him for three hours. She reminded me how strong our love is for one another, and how we could make it through. She helped me feel strong enough to try once again to love someone so hurt. Bless the partners who hold on to their spouse when the worst of their worst comes to a head. And bless the partners who decide to let the storm die by going separate ways. Either way, let love win.

Thankfully, my husband found a therapist who has been greatly helping him and I have been committed even more to my writing which seems to be helping me. Both of those things are solo, self-reflecting activities we are dedicating ourselves to in order to keep our winds and rains from growing too violent again. Things are not all good, but on today, the day of our commitment to one another, I see the full story and I understand us a little better. Marriage is not bliss, and if you marriage is, I’m not jealous of you. It’s probably boring as hell. My marriage is a green house. It’s hot and humid but the strongest love I know grows here.

I told my husband I hate him this year for the first time and I meant it. But after the worst of us came and went I was able to humbly apologize and know without a shadow of doubt in my heart that I love this man more than any soul on the planet. Come what may, let the worst of the storms of life blow, I know as long we are huddled deep in the center, we will be ok.

We aren’t the simply easy couple because everything that has happened to us is so complicated. Our love is a mess of the all the wrong choices that led us to this wonderful magical gift. There is so much here that I treasure, and despite all of this hell this year, choosing to love my husband was the hardest and best thing I have ever done. I will choose him again and again, I will always choose him.

The storm has now passed but it’s not like life will ever be a perfect day again. In fact, we are settling into a very cold winter. My writing is frozen in fear right now and I am waiting on the spring to come and thaw me out again. I have been discovering things about myself I never knew, and that has all come up so fresh and raw for me in this season. Soon I’ll be back in therapy too.

I never expected our relationship to be easy, I knew I was far too fucked up to ever have that luxury, but I’m thankful that the person I am with is just as messed up as me. Everyone’s a train wreck and he’s my favorite one.

Important marriage advice that helped us survive this crazy year.

1. Take a hot shower when you are depressed and have to be something for someone.

2. When you argue, assume a relaxed position, stare at the same wall and don’t make eye contact. This will keep you from focusing/misreading the emotions on your partner may not be able to control on their face, this keeps you focused on the same problem and not each other, and its hard to yell when you are lounging on your bed or couch.

3. Tend to your own garden. You need to give yourself water and fertilizer and sunshine. Your partner is doing enough to keep their garden growing and blooming as well.

4. Think before you respond. Be patient, let your points go, wait until the other person is finished, and acknowledge their side of the fence.

5. Therapists are for your problems, your partner is just a quiet witness. I’ve been to therapy and it was helpful, John’s therapy has been life-saving. Do it, prioritize it. A lot of my husbands past has given him trust issues and fear of abandonment, I’m the wrong person to ever try to help him with that because it directly effects me. This is why a therapist has been absolutely necessary.

6.  Love is a choice. When tensions are high and love is not easy, that is the time to choose to come close when they push you away, to sit outside the door when they slam it in your face, to choose to chase them when they start running. I never knew the depths of how much I could love someone then when my husband became the worst he had ever been to me. I had to choose to realize he is healing from pains I have never experienced. I had to choose to stop taking his worst so personally and reactively defensively with my weapons drawn. I had to lay down my defensives and let him hurt me if he must. I know its not my fault what happened to him but I’m here for better or worse.

Bitter & Spicy.

I didn’t hate myself until the first time I had my heart broken. I was very young, and I fell in love with a boy who was also very young. He preferred a certain flavor of women, and I was not that flavor, though I attempted to adjust myself accordingly. When the time came and he moved on, I thought maybe I am not the right flavor for anyone. Maybe I am too spicy, too bitter, too much for someone like him. What spices could I add to my life to make myself more palatable? How could I make everyone want me since the one person I loved didn’t. So I became sweeter things, because everyone loves sweetness, especially a woman coated in sugar. But then I became overly sweet and that wasn’t the next persons flavor either.

There is this perfection monster, that stands over my shoulder and is critical of every mistake I make. She is judgmental, she is unforgiving, she ruthlessly examines me down to the core of my being. She watches my motivations and keeps tallies of all my wrongs. There is an unrelenting bar to achieve in order to be a good person, worthy to be loved as I am. I spent many years believing her because I thought this perfect person that she wanted me to be, was good. All I wanted was to taste good.

My husband and I have approached this year of marriage and we realize our life is not the way we intended it to be. The sauce is still simmering but the spices are off. Albeit, we have a wonderful life, beautiful home, and amazingly healthy children. We love each other, we work hard, and we try our best every damn day. However, we took a look around and asked What’s missing? This year we have taken ourselves down to our very foundations and are relearning to build ourselves again as people. I have gone through the painfully long journey of deconstructing myself, I threw out the whole damn sauce and I’m starting again. This time, only I get to decide what stays apart of me and what doesn’t.

I still approach situations in which I don’t act the way I intend too. I still do things that seem contradictory to the goals I have set for myself. That perfection monster creeps up on me and whispers See, you can’t do it. You cannot be a good person who has good things and lives a good life because you are too imperfect to deserve it. You deserve death for being so flawed. No one will like you because you are bitter and spicy.

Recently, I had a conversation with my husband. He tells me I have tunnel-vision which immediately spiked my defenses. I observed myself reacting negatively to this description and asked myself why?  It’s not that he is saying something that is wrong. I’m naturally obsessive when I find a subject that interest me. I have laser-like focus when I’m cooking, so much so I cannot even hear my children asking for my attention until they have shaken me from my activity. But my focus has made me a better cook. This is not a flaw? This is who I am. Why then have I hated myself for so long so being who I am.

I thought about this for a while. There are things I do that upset me but why is it so upsetting? Why does it cause me to hate myself in this way? Maybe, it’s because I used to believe in righteousness. I used to believe that there was some holy level of living to be attained. Maybe I thought eventually I’d be everyone’s favorite flavor.  Maybe, one day I believed I would stop failing. Maybe one day I would shut the perfection monster up by being exactly what she said I wasn’t.

So I tried it, I quit all of my addictions, completely changed my diet, woke up every day with the list of things the perfect me would do in a day. I tried being the person in my head and it was impossible and failed. People spit me out again. Which was all-together more upsetting then before I even gave it my best effort. There is always something off in this recipe.

I write fictional stories in my spare time and when I’m building my characters the important question I was taught to ask is What does the character want? Why do they want it? And what are their consequences? This means that some people have motivations that would be considered wrong and some have motivations that would be considered right. However the formula is the same. Want + why = consequence.

So I then ask myself this. Am I upset because my actions are who I am, or because my actions are not who I am.

Recently, I have had the personal revelation that I am selfish. I always want for me first. i’m selfish with my time, selfish with my resources, and selfish with my food. Naturally, this causes me to hate myself because in certain situations of dilemma I choose the selfish option and hurt others involved. This is a pattern for me. This is a choice I make again and again and I spend many hours flogging myself for doing so. So why doesn’t this change? Is it because it’s who I am? or not who I am? True character is the choice we make in dilemma, so then, I am upset because being selfish is who I am.

I look at myself in this way. I know and accept that I have focused tunnel-vision and I have selfish motivations. This is what I know so far. That sounds like the life of an artist to me, which is who I have always wanted to be. An artist is greatly benefitted when she is focused and an artist must be selfish because when the inspiration comes she must steal away her own time and create. She must put herself first so her art can be expressed, because the inspiration comes suddenly, demanding the attention now and will not wait for too long. Why then would should I waste so much time telling myself I’m horrible for being selfish, when I know how imperfectly necessary it is for me to create the things I do? When I am selfishly focused in on creating something my consequence is magic.

Somewhere, there is a world where these weaknesses I have are my strengths. Someday, I will live a life completely content because I will be at peace with who I am. I will look at myself and be fully accepted by someone for the first time in my life. I will know myself and I will not run away. I will not wield my weaknesses as weapons, but I will train them to be tools in achieving whatever I intend to create. Maybe my selfishness makes me a bitter flavor? Maybe my focus makes me spicy? Maybe there are people in the world who like bitter spicy things and those are the people I will find. Maybe I will learn to like bitter, spicy things in the same way I learned to like chile peppers and black coffee.

I refuse to apologize for myself any longer. The only thing I can do, is live complete transparent with myself, fully accepting of the imperfectly messy person I am. I am this sauce, I am simmering now. I cannot pretend to be good or sweet anymore. I cannot give the world this person who has been praised for so long. To everyone I know, I have hidden half of myself. And even to myself I have only ever lived half-alive. This time of my life I feel the call to fully live, and in doing so I must accept that I will do the wrong things with the wrong motivations and sometimes I will sabotage myself by burning the good I create to the ground. It will happen because this is part of who I am. This will happen because these failures are my stories.

I cannot be anything other than me.

I cannot be good, I cannot be bad.

Today I am bitter and spicy and that’s all I wanna be.