Monday, July 31, 2023

Taking A Break

It's never easy when someone you adored in childhood leaves the Earth. When both Lucille Ball and Mister Rogers passed away, I was devastated. I can remember hearing the news and what that felt like. I am equally devastated today with the news that Pee Wee Herman has passed on. 

It's a funny thing with famous people. They become famous because of the great work or service they provide. The joy that they bring through their particular way of looking at things, looking at life, etc. taps into something new and different. We hold them up on a pedestal and give them adulation and praise. And yet, the revered can almost never show their humanity. To be flawed or make a mistake would tarnish the image and we all know that story, but I have to say it doesn't define the person. It's distressing to me that some of the headlines included that one public mistake. Instead of just remembering the Pee Wee who impacted so many children and gave us so much imaginative space to feel okay for a half hour a day, they cut to his misstep. 

We do that here in society. We love to point out a person's mistakes. For what other purpose than to feel better about one's own foibles, I guess. The fact that Paul Reubens didn't take to the public for sympathy or support during his health battle shows that he didn't need us as much as we needed him. He was a bright light in some of the dark spots from my childhood. I just hope he TRULY KNEW how much of a good impact he made on us 1980's kiddos. 

As I sat with this news, I realized that I can get caught up in the headlines and the articles that I sincerely despise. Even though I hate them, I read them and I found myself feeling really sad that I lack some control when I scroll the internet. It's there and I have to know what they're talking about. I give them clicks even when the content makes me sick to my stomach. It got me thinking a lot about how tied to the Internet and Social Media web I am. Even though I have been limiting the time I spend on my phone, I find myself taking a "break" in the middle of writing or working to check out the latest headlines. And 100% of the time, I am not better for it. There's not a single time when I am happier or feel more enlightened by the internet break. 

So, if it's not something I enjoy, but I still keep going back to it, that must only mean that I am addicted to it. I feel like I need to "be in the know." Looking back at periods in my life when I have decided that all the information is too much for me, I would get push back from people. They'd say things like, "it's good to stay informed," or "you should always stay in the loop." Over and over again I would get the messaging that if I don't know what's going on out there, somehow I will be missing out or in danger or just not caring about the world as a whole. It's all false. The world will keep on turning if I don't watch the News or read every article that pops up as BREAKING NEWS. 

The more I feed into the fear and anxiety that the NEWS constantly pumps out, the more fear and anxiety lives within me. I don't think that is by accident either. By design, powerful people want to instill fear to keep us where they want us and to close our minds and train our views. The man made cycle and societal standards are a disservice to everyone. Negativity feeds on more negativity and that's why there is so much pessimism running rampant. They need us to be unhappy so they can sell us the NEXT BEST THING to cure the very unhappiness they created?!?!?!? 
It's nuts! 

As I sit here typing, I have decided to take a break from ALL OF IT. It's going to be SUPER HARD and I don't know how I'll fare, but I've gotta try. I am an addict. I am addicted to the next headline and the bits of gossip that commonly turn out to be wrong. That old woman on the bench in the Barbie Movie... nope, that's not Barbara (the inventor of Barbie's daughter) as all those articles said. That's an actress playing a part. I told people false headlines and then had to go back and tell them I was wrong. (BTW, Barbie is my new all-time favorite movie! What a film!) You cannot believe everything you read anymore. Sure, there have been lies spilled before the dawning of the internet, but the getting to the bottom of it was a bit easier. Sadly, you think if you read the same information from three "reliable" sources that it confirms it to be true. Well, the one copied it from the first and the third from the second so only one had the story and no one fact checked it. One story gets shuffled around to get clicks and the headline is all that matters. Who cares if it's not true. 

I care. I also care about kindness and some of the headlines today about Paul Reubens were UNKIND. Humanity is insanity and unfortunately there are way too many avenues to be affected by it these days. I'm tired. I'm just so tired. I don't know how long I'll be away and if I can actually do it, but I'm going to start with a month as my goal. August will officially be my INTERNET FREE month. I don't need to know and I owe it to myself to at least TAKE A BREAK. It's overwhelming at times and it really doesn't add to my quality of life. It really takes away. Like today, I have been mostly crying and reading articles about Paul Reubens AKA Pee Wee Herman and just tying myself up in knots about it all. So, instead I thought I'd write a blog and get some thoughts out, make my declaration that I will abstain from the internet for one month. Now that I've done that... I'm off to watch Pee Wee's Playhouse reruns... 

Thank you Paul Reubens... 

Monday, July 24, 2023

What Isn't Seen

"I have added ----- insert event name here----- to your calendar, would you like me to set a reminder?" Alexa asks after you ask her to add something important to your calendar. You reply, "No thank you." 

What isn't seen are the weeks, if not months, walking by the calendar and dreading something that used to be fun. What isn't seen is as the event or outing or commitment gets closer, panic comes in heightening waves. What isn't seen is the pep talks to build up your courage and confidence that you can do it, you CAN get through it. What isn't seen is the "wanting to get through it." Just wanting to be on the other side of the event so you can say you did it, but you don't have to dread it anymore. What isn't seen is the deep breathing required to get through getting ready (out of bed, showered, dressed, etc.) for said event. What isn't seen is all the preparation to set yourself up for a panic attack free experience. If you can pick out where you're to be seated, you do. If you can figure out an exit strategy beforehand, you do. You prep those you're going with that you might not make it through or you might have to excuse yourself in the middle of the concert or movie, etc. What isn't seen is the millions of conversations with the people you trust who will attend said event with you. Their understanding of you is the only reason that you've agreed to go. If you have to leave, they may have to go with you and that will be okay. You are in a 100% I CAN TRUST YOU space and no one you surround yourself with, will make you feel bad for potentially ruining their time because they love you that much. These are the only type of people you can go with at this particular time in your life. What isn't seen is the bag of tricks you have to pack as a "Social Gathering Survival Kit." This bag includes Pepto Bismol Tablets, Mints, Lavender oils, extra pads (just in case you don't make it to the bathroom), good luck rocks, etc. What isn't seen are all the trips to the bathroom during the event. Sometimes for nervous movements, but mostly for getting a handle on your breathing and just getting a second away from any negative energy or overwhelming amounts of people you might encounter. What isn't seen is the struggle to wait in a line and be patient between strangers who don't have respect for space. What isn't seen is the fidgeting with your bracelet or rings as you shakily anticipate the beginning of whatever you're there for, so that you can HOPEFULLY have your attention centered on it and relax a little. What isn't seen is the insane relief when it is over and sometimes the horrible grief that you didn't get to enjoy it the way you wish you could. What isn't seen is the day or two needed to come down from that much interaction, energy and pure exhaustion of trying to hold it together. Even if it was just a few hour event, recharging your batteries (for lack of better example) takes rest and quiet which sometimes involves doing absolutely NOTHING.
What isn't seen are the tears that accompany that time because of either pure exhaustion or sadness for not being able to navigate the world "normally." What isn't seen is the depression that sometimes can set in for not having taken in the experience as you wanted to because you were battling panic the whole time. 

This is what it's like to do regular, ordinary things as an anxiety/panic ridden person. From the second the event/concert/appointment/outing/gathering/etc. 
is added to the calendar, the thoughts about it begin. I don't want to speak for everyone, but most people don't dwell on plans to go to a concert or the movies or a sporting event. They look forward to it and maybe count down to it in excitement or it creeps up on them until the event is finally here! Yay! So, when a non-anxious person observes a person with anxiety being preoccupied by the event, they can see them as being "negative" or "over sensitive" or "dramatic." Some people have great empathy, that's what I don't want to speak for all, but in every circle of humans, there are those who cannot see passed what they experience. What they do/how they react must be how everyone else moves through the world and those who move differently are just that...different.

Being different can cause depression within the anxious person as shown in paragraph one. Normalcy or moving through the world in an easy, breezy way is all that the anxious person wants. They don't want to be difficult or create any kind of problems for anyone and yet their brain works against them at times and gives them no choice. This is why going and doing things in groups or with people that the anxious person doesn't trust 100% is avoided at all costs. Maybe not forever, but as this person works through their anxiety and their phobias and panic, they need a trusting environment. This is also why they don't go out a lot. It's far easier to stay in and be in the most trusted environment of them all - home! Eventually, with the help of therapy, classes and sometimes medication, the anxious person will start to creep out into the world again and what they take with them is their safety net. The people they can turn to and say, "I've gotta get out of here," with no judgement and complete care and concern for their well being. Usually, those safety nets are just super proud of said anxious person for trying. Baby steps... 

For the last couple years, I've been battling for my Mental Wellness. Two back to back traumatic events had me seeking help and eventually getting diagnosed with PTSD by a Psychiatrist. It has been a journey. For a while, I was scared to have the curtains open on the windows of my house. I wasn't eating or sleeping. Then, I gradually was able to go outside and nature walk and take care of some stray cats that decided to show up at my door. Their presence got me out of bed each morning and outside. They still do! I eventually was able to go to two different overnight trips a few months apart (Van Gogh Experience/Car show & Imagine Dragons Concert) and it was so exciting to get to take part in the world again and see things to be inspired by! I was back! Then, I had a major setback that lead me into the deepest depression I ever had where I didn't want to live anymore. For the first bit of 2023, I was so agoraphobic and cried more tears than I ever thought were possible. After making such strides, I was back where I started and actually far worse off. Life held NOTHING for me in those days. I just slept or watched crap TV and got lost in this dimension of "what's the point?" During this time, some sounds and experiences jolted memories of my trauma and my fearful side came back again. Every unexpected sound made me jump and I wasn't sleeping. Finally, I tried Psych meds again and they made me feel awful and sick to my stomach. Tried another med instead and it wasn't any better. I felt so lost. During all this time, I missed some birthdays/holidays/momentous occasions of people I truly care about. That just added to my depression and I was beating myself up more and more. 

Recently, I have been doing better and that's the reason I decided to write this. With the help of therapy and physical activity, I am sleeping better and am way less depressed or anxious all the time. Little by little, I am trying to step back out into the world and do things. Sometimes I feel that some people will see a person who has been battling something (for me, it's agoraphobia, panic attacks, anxiety and depression) get the courage to go out in the world again and so that must mean they are cured. Like everything should just be back to normal if all seems right in their world again. Unfortunately, it's a lot more complicated than that and I feel that in our society, you're just either this or that. You're either depressed or happy. You're either anxious or relaxed. Sometimes you are depressed, but you want to push through it and try to experience something out of life. Snap a picture and I look happy, but what's underneath? You can't be BOTH. Yes you can...Both-ness is human. 

What can sometimes happen is the anxious person will seem less anxious, going to the movies or the County Fair or both within a short period of time. It might be said: They missed the birthday party or the important celebration, but they were able to go to the movies yesterday. What screwed up priorities. To those anxious folks who worry about this, don't. You're living in the present day. They're holding onto the past. What you need to do for yourself, within your boundaries is 100% acceptable. Not that you have to explain yourself, but sometimes it's easier to go with one person you completely trust to the movies than sit in a more intimate setting with people you don't completely trust. The barriers and variables are easier to navigate in a one-on-one activity than in bigger groups of people. All of Paragraph one is real and maybe it'll get less and less with time. Hopefully, you'll be able to get back to the normal functions of life you used to attend, but right now you're just getting your footing back. It is okay to be choosy and it is okay to look out for yourself. Adding guilt or shame will only overwhelm you right now. Own what you need and know you're doing nothing wrong. 

The last thing I want to emphasize here is role reversal. Would the person who's criticizing your choices be willing to live outside their boundaries to met your expectations if the roles were reversed? Probably not. So, why should you? We cannot expect from others what we would not be willing to do ourselves. Let's just say that again because it's a doozy and really clears up a lot about mindless expectation: We cannot expect from others, what we would not be willing to do ourselves. You get what you give is always a good adage. I read somewhere recently, most likely in the amazing A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle, that if you're feeling that someone is withholding something from you, give it to them. Usually you'll get it back. Give what you want and you'll get it in return. So powerful. The expectations we place on people or that we allow to be placed on us which has us eventually thinking: if I have to, then everyone else should too is childish. "Expectations are resentments waiting to happen." - Anne Lamott 

What you see isn't ever the whole picture. Even the partner you share a bed with every evening cannot show you every feeling or experience they have or have ever had. Each life holds some mystery and within that, we must resolve that we do not know everything. So, the next time you judge someone for not looking anxious or depressed when they are out doing this or that, realize that the variables make up the experience. The human safety nets, the survival bag, the hypervigilance to know how to leave if need be, the panic unseen behind the bathroom door, the tears of grief for not being 100% present for something they used to enjoy, etc. There is SO MUCH UNSEEN. Also, don't take offense that they don't feel 100% safe in your presence. That comes with great periods of respect and trust between people. It's nothing that can just be cultivated overnight or forced. If you want to be there for them, the best thing you can do is accept them. All you see and what isn't seen


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Want To Know Me?

If you want to know me. Really know me. Just watch DISPATCHES FROM ELSEWHERE... I identify with every character... Today I had to go back and dive into that world. "You're okay.... You're okay...." Simone says that at the end of episode one. It's been a hard thing for me to say to myself... Even if it's true.

So, this week started out so promising. I started a new Body Groove workout regimine. Within that 27 minute workout, there was a moment that has had me depressed ever since. So, day 1 of my new routine was also my last day... As I danced around my living room, there was a song change and all of a sudden, we were doing ballet moves to a sweet song. The ballet moves triggered me. I wanted to be a ballerina when I was younger. Took classes when I was an adolescent. I adored the graceful movements. Took a class in my first year of college and I was told I was "too tall." Turns out tallness is an attribute worthy of ballet, but I took the instructor's words like a knife to the heart. I dropped the class. I gave up. This was just one of many critiques I listened to. Changed me at the opinion of someone else?!?! As I danced gracefully in my living room with the Body Grooves video Monday, I sobbed. I just love that form of dance. I missed it. I cried for a few hours. Alone. Told others about it later and I didn't feel heard or that they understood the weight of it. 

The weight of it... There's so much weight to me. This is why I have a podcast called HEAVY BOOTS. I carry so much and feel so damn deeply, you'd think I'd explode from feeling. So many don't feel this deep and so it's hard NOT to feel alone or different.

What NEVER makes me feel different? DISPATCHES FROM ELSEWHERE... This show is one of those shows that feels like it was written for me. Peter is struggling to believe there's more to life and then magic makes its way in and he's ignited. Then life brings him back to reality which is boring and alone. Simone is hiding who they are and hates being harassed for it. Feminity proves dangerous with harassment and I too have hated that kind of attention. Hard to trust real connection when others have broken you. Fredwyn is a control freak and seeks to know everything possible. I ache to keep everyone safe and feeling good which of course is impossible 100% of the time! Janice is so scared of abandonment and being alone. She never cultivated a great relationship with herself and now that is catching up with her as her husband is in a coma. She's lost and alone. 

Every single character is a piece of me. Shines such a light on all my insecurities and hardships in life. I too ache for something more... I crave magic. Something that gives me some energetic boost! I too feel insecure in my skin and upset with myself for not honoring myself. I too feel that when all else fails to make me feel secure that I can go overboard with what I CAN control. It can be uncomfortable for those around me when all I want to do is rearrange the living room, again. I too am faced with abandonment issues. Most everyone I know (besides my brother) have either physically or emotionally abandoned me. I fear anyone and everyone I get close to will eventually catch wise and leave... "It's me I'm the problem, it's me... One day I'll watch as you're leaving and life will lose all its meaning." All these characters are ME. 

So, if you want to know who I am, all you have to do is watch DISPATCHES FROM ELSEWHERE... The question of "Is this real?" as well as all the questions of art, character, life, passion, purpose and meaning speak to the deepest pieces of my heart, soul and spirit. 

I let others define or tell me what they think and then I believe it to be fact. It gets imbedded in my mind and those critical statements get replayed every time I start to move passed those critiques. I get so stuck in this round about of words I've never said or believed about myself, but allowed to seap into my psyche. 

The end of this beautiful series captures EVERYTHING I believe in and feel to be true. The monologue that Jason Siegel brings to life... "I just think the whole thing is fun, and weird and dark and hilarious, and I want it to be all those things — because I am all those things. This experience helped me remember that." That's just a piece of what he said and I've turned the ENTIRE monologue into a piece of art that hangs up in my living room. It's the MOST impactful thing I've ever heard... And yet...

I'm still here. Trying to figure out how to make my life better. I swim in so many pools of depression and anxiety... Before 2021, I didn't go swimming as often. It wasn't like I was 100% healthy and NEVER went to these pools, but BEFORE 2021 I was so much more at ease. 

Though we cannot blame circumstance and only have the power of how we react. I'm being real. I'm not stuffing down feelings or faking it till I make it. I'm here in those dark feelings and today they are suffocating me. I can't function or focus. I'm a wreck. I have not been courageous in my reactions and I sit in tears. I own it. I don't require pity or any kind of attention. All I need is to "catch my breath." I still haven't yet... 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

How Does Anyone Do It All?

Conflicted is an understatement when it comes to my state of being. I have become a goal setter and I really don't let ANYTHING stand in my way in order to get the goal met. This means that I am no longer flexible. This means that I don't go with the flow as often as I used to. This means that I am self focused a big portion of my time. Yes, my goals are to spread creative kindness and create community where people feel seen heard and loved, but I'm still going after MY goals of making that happen. The other, in person interactions have taken a back seat really. Like if I had planned to do A, B & C and someone comes by unexpectedly or asks me to go do something, I will not engage in anything, but A... B... & C... 

Who am I? Who is this girl that wants to chase after things I've wanted to do forever, but never did. It's awesome to get things done. I have a creative business now which includes monthly subscriptions, products I'm proud of that are all handmade by me and a podcast that I just dropped... finally. These are all things that I have wanted to do for years, but I was lacking the courage or the motivation or the focus needed! Now I have it and I feel guilty. 

Don't get me wrong, it's exciting to sell something you poured your heart into and it's amazing to create something that gets tossed out into the world to help people! That part is amazing. I'm just feeling guilty all the time because I have lists and deadlines and I stick to them. I can't keep up with emails or cards or letters to friends whom I adore. My priorities have shifted to my dreams and I guess I just never realized how much time everything takes. You not only have to create something, but you have to put it out there and you have to market it and talk it up. It's a constant cycle of create and promote and then create again and promote again and there's never any really downtime to just sit back and relax. It's a grind. 

It's a good grind. I just see now that it LOOKS SO EASY, but it's a whole other ball of wax and there's a lot of pieces to it that aren't my favorite. Selling stuff to people or emailing people asking for their support or to buy my products is SO NOT ME. I know, it's part of business and you can't sell anything if you don't tell anyone about it, but it's brutal. The Social Media game is also so crazy. You have to post on Instagram and then on Facebook. Then, you have to make sure to put it in the stories and make it engaging. It takes time. 

Then, you add regular life in... taking a shower, getting dressed, washing dishes, paying bills, making a budget, cleaning house, running errands, doing laundry, etc. and you can start to feel spread so thin. Still, you're working from home so what's the complaining about?!?!?! Exactly... I'm not complaining, it's just that my eyes have been opened to how much it takes to run a business and take care of life matters at the same time. I want to applaud all those people out there that have a business, an organized home life, a great social life and are flexible with unexpected plans or visitors. You are my heroes! How do you do it!?!?!

I used to be the person that would do whatever, whenever anyone asked. Let's run down to San Diego for the weekend... SURE! How about a dinner out tonight and some karaoke?... YES! Would you like to go with me to a movie right now?... LET'S GO! Spontaneous was my middle name. Seriously. I would be up for anything and now, am I just getting older or is it that I need more balance in my life? 

It's so hard to breathe these days. And yet I have fresh air to breath and land all around me. I'm feeling an urgency to do something that makes me proud about my life. So, I am putting myself out there in all kinds of ways while also dealing with Mental Health challenges. Anxiety, PTSD, Depression all know where I live. The self doubt and mean voices that enter my head when I can't do it all are brutal. I start to believe all the terrible things it says. "You don't care about anybody but yourself." "What a stupid business idea to focus on, nobody is gonna want to buy that." "You're giving up a day outside for this stupid idea? You're so dumb." 

Then, you add in a sad life event, like losing an animal you had fallen in love with and well, sometimes I want to throw in the towel. It's either in bed, doing nothing but crying and writing sad poetry or it's this driven, gonna set out to do everything I had planned chick. There's no middle ground lately and there are moments that I fall behind. Like with those things that don't really have a due date, but I SHOULD have been working on them days ago just to be prepared. My procrastination on those items is next level. It always gets done and all works out, but usually in a mad rush that stresses me out. I meet the deadline, but stress is present.

I don't know what resolve I hoped to find at the end of writing this narrative. Usually, I can sum it up and make myself feel better through typing out what's going on in my brain and sifting through what I'm feeling, but I got nothing. I don't know how anyone does it all. Imagine if I had kids?!?! Holy hell. This is why I didn't go down that path, life is too much to begin with. And yet, there are millions out there doing it all. Getting out of bed even when the MEAN REDS show up and try and tie you to your pillow case. People out there being flexible and spontaneous and still having a business and purpose that they are proud of...
Perhaps I need to BREATHE. Give it some more time and see if I can strike a proper balance between all the things... Life is a lot and I'm not about to pretend it's not!


Friday, June 24, 2022

As It Should

The trash was picked up a few minutes ago. We've had many occasions where they'd forget us altogether, but today they came. It shouldn't shock me, we pay for the service and they SHOULD pick up our smelly garbage every week. Still, every time they come, I feel a sense of excitement that something went right. What was supposed to happen, happened. Maybe it's because I keep waking up to devastating global news, that I'm feeling extra grateful the trash got picked up. We pay those political people too, every April, but lately they've overturned so many crucial things that I guess the letdowns pile up. You get letdown enough and the smallest thing like the trash being picked up becomes a victory. 

Lately, I've been feeling like a letdown myself. Besides being blatantly told I am in recent past, I can't meet my own marks presently. I had a crazy good day Wednesday. Mammogram - check, Blooddraw - check, grocery shopping on my own - check, drove home by myself - check. Still, I didn't feel the pride in myself I was hoping to feel. Instead, I mocked and shamed myself for wanting to celebrate such basic life things. People do this kind of stuff everyday, why should you celebrate it? The next day, I was drained from all the outwardness. Assumed by the next day that I could go and visit with my family, but I was frozen. I guess my intuition knew what was coming... Turned out that it was a good thing I was home after my counseling session. 

If I HAD gone to my family's house and excused myself for counseling, as planned, I would have been a fragile soul tearing up the rest of the day. The voice inside my head is the cruelest and according to my lovely Therapist, it IS something to silence. Up until this time, all my other counselors or therapists just tell me to coexist with this hurtful narrative in my head, but Victoria begs to differ. This voice is learned bullshit that aims to keep me small. Not her words exactly, but the words I'm using nonetheless. It is so strange to me that a voice within me wants to knock me down. It's so annoying that I have to stand up to it and be on guard, but alas this is enlightenment.

The other part that broke me open like a walnut was that the traumatic things that happened to me, were BIG deals. Very few people can claim these real things that I lived through and yet I've been denying myself that reality. I've been running from "playing the victim" or "letting them define me" because that's what I was told to do. Get over it and get on with it! The mind blowing revelation was that by trying to adhere to that get over it mentality and not speak about the incidents, I was suppressing my healing. "The only way you'll know you're healed is when you stop talking about it. One day, you just won't need to anymore."  So, by NOT talking about it or feeling the unease of others as I dive in and diverting the conversation, I'm actually doing myself a huge disservice. It's hard to hear that what you've been doing is what's keeping you stuck. My motivation has been provided by outside souls who have been through more and seen worse, telling me to get over the most traumatic events of my life. Their motivation is hopefully that I wouldn't be hurting anymore. And if it's not and it's only self serving so that they don't have to hear my truth anymore, well why am I adjusting for those folks anyway? 

Adjustment has been my go to. I adjust at particular events, in certain crowds, when others seem uneasy about me. I cave in, I stand down, I shine more light in their direction or whatever I can do to keep smiles on faces. Some see it as admirable, but others have questioned my motivation. If you're willing to give up your upper hand, what are you getting out of it? Nothing. I get happy, smiling faces and the satisfaction that by diminishing me a little, someone else got to feel BIG, which was what they needed. I see that and I lean in. I don't need what they want. Motivation is something that gets projected on me quite often. 

Say that you are a person who gets really sugary sweet when you're working a room of potential clients, investors or even love interests. You see sugary sweet or even kind as having a motivation of acquiring something. So, from then on, you encounter a kind person and they MUST be after something and so they keep you on edge or even as your competition. They can't get what I want! Well, what if this person is adjusting to your need for everyone's eyes to land on you? What if she would give up any attention so you could have ALL of it because she cares for you and wants you to have what you need? Her motivation is love not greed or attention, but you can't see her through any other lense but that of your own motivation. Those blinders keep you believing everyone operates like you, but they don't. Maybe some, but definitely NOT all. Definitely, not me!

This girl that adjusts and watches the comparing of motivations and the projecting lies onto her, so that the others can go home and sleep well, starts to tire of this arrangement. It was made only between her and herself and so its easily absolved. Except, that once it is thrown out, she WILL start to take up space as she should. However, people get used to your role.They count on you to adjust and when you don't all of a sudden, they have to fit you back in some box. Without ever acknowledging any service you may have done for them or their ego, they stick you in a new box labeled: "Negative." You're no longer conforming and so you have to fit in their mind's filing cabinet somewhere. 

Everything starts to get off balance. For instance, say there was a moral center established that showing up was most important, but the quality in the visit meant nothing. I was there... and yet when you brought up a retelling of events, they looked confused or had no recollection of your heart being set in front of them to hear. How is that helpful? Showing up and not being there at all? One time, because I felt insecurity bubbling up, I asked for guidance. I didnt really need it, but I knew it'd make someone I loved feel important. We made an appointment. I showed up. I waited and waited, only to be stood up. There was no respect for my time. Tell me, what bad motivation did I have there? After that, I began to watch more closely and see that other people's time wasn't a care and I had to accept that and adjust again. This time adjustment meant being more protective of myself and expectations. 

It's funny how we all have expectations of people in our lives, but we take ourselves out of the equation. For instance, you could think that a person who loves you should read everything you write, call you once a week and meet up with you once a month. Though, many contradictions lie on our end. What your loved one writes doesn't interest you, you don't really call anybody and you will only be willing to get together if it's where and how you want it to be. We cannot hold people to "standards" we wouldn't rise to. 

Life is messy and complicated and damn hurtful. Especially for those tender hearts. I watched a movie the other day... RACHEL GETTING MARRIED and I don't remember the exact line, but the main gist was not everyone is concerned with your suffering. It's not the most important thing in the world. Suffering is never necessary if there is support and acknowledgement. I often feel guilty for my melancholy or staying in pain longer than others, but it is my purpose. I believe I was put here to fully dive into my pain and the pain of others to help ease it. I know my poetry helps ease it for some, but I'm hoping to find other ways to ease it. Haven't found my full purpose path yet, but that doesn't mean that I won't. I don't ever want to bring someone down, but I know now that I can also be the one who needs pulling up and support. Anyone who really knows me, knows I have a hard time asking for help. I sit in my feelings through my poetry, but if we're together, I'm engaged and I don't sit in my suffering. I often enjoy two sided heartfelt conversation. Very possible that I'll take your suffering home with me and it'll take a couple days to unravel, but I'm not what I've been told I am. I'm just not. 

I should have disagreed when I was labeled "negative," "too sweet," "weak minded," or "dramatic." When asked how I am, if my dealings of recent have been hard, it may come off as negative because I am too old to lie about my reality to keep anyone else comfortable. If I stood up to something you said that I blatantly disagreed with and you couldn't mold me like clay, that's a good thing. It is not "too sweet" to stand up for basic, human rights, EVER! If I allow for others to choose restaurants, games, conversation topics, etc... It doesn't mean I don't have my own choices and I'm "weak minded." Sometimes it's actually smart as hell to let others choose so you experience new things or because they just seem to care more. I have accused someone of being "dramatic" in the past and in that instance they were just being passionate. I stood corrected and apologized... When I have been called "dramatic," it had to do with boundaries and feelings. If I don't want to do something, I shouldn't have to. Instincts can often prove correct. And when I feel something, those are emotions and not some fake lines from a play. Nothing dramatic about being real with your heart. That's why I keep more to myself. Instead of it being accepted, validated or acknowledged, it just gets thrown back at me as excuses, pity parties or you're being "dramatic." Labels and summing me up is a sure fire way to create distance between us. We cannot know another person fully. If you think you can, that's called "judging."

There is such beauty and goodness in the world. There is a lot of unjust things happening in the world too. There can be both. Bothness. You can be happy and sad at the same time. To deny either is to turn a blind eye to truth. All that amazes, keeps us getting up each morning and soaking up as much goodness as possible. All that is hard and hurts our hearts is there to remind us that life is precious. As the sky grows dark each night, I watch in wonder as stars appear. When I find the moon, I think of all its witnessed. People evolving, growing and escaping old paradigms that no longer serve them. Life is for shifting and becoming. We are sent here to take up space, be emotional if we are, be courageous if we are and change the world as best we can. The easiest way to invoke positive change is to walk in your truth. Allow the cloud of lies that have been told about you to fly off in the wind, as it should. 

Sunday, May 15, 2022


    I do not question the moon when it appears full and brightens up the night so that no flashlight is required. I do not question the moon when it is missing from the sky altogether. I observe and whisper a little prayer that it will return, but I never question it. It has cycles and this is just how it moves through our world. Last evening, I sat in complete awe as I caught the full moon from various vantage points. I tried to capture it through a hundred photographs and I still couldn't get my feelings of wonder and pure amazement in any snapshot. I enjoyed it, but how I wanted to share that. 
    Sharing is something that I do. I share my words, favorite songs, TV shows to watch lists, recipes, pictures, videos and little moments from my life. I don't want to hoard it all for myself. I want others to feel the joy that I did and yet I cannot control that. What I share might actually be annoying and off-putting to some and to those group of people, I have become so tethered. See, I do not question so many wondrous things around me, but I often question myself. Often in the tone or voice of those people who have vocally shared their judgements of me. 
    Only just have I begun to see how externally validated I need something to be before I follow through with it. The list of things I've tried and gave up on with a laugh or a disparaging comment from someone who's approval meant everything to me is long and disappointing. The good news is that I am writing this here and I am becoming more and more self aware to the road blocks in my own mind. The more work I do on myself, (as isolating and scary as it has been) the more I see how much self awareness has saved me. 
    Just recently, while watching the heartbreaking GMA segment on the life and death of Naomi Judd, I had self awareness come and slap me across the face. The beautiful Ashley Judd spoke so poignantly and courageously about her mother's struggle with mental illness. As she said the words "the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn't penetrate into her heart and the lie the disease told her was so convincing... (and it told her) You're not enough. That you're not loved. That you're not worthy." It was a sincere wake up call for me because though I knew I heard these same words in my mind, I never put it together with the "barrier" she spoke of. I never realized until that very moment that I cannot accept regard fully or truly. There is a barrier inside of me. I thought what I had was a kind humility where I wanted everyone else to feel what they needed to feel. Truth is, I never feel worthy or deserving of anything. Especially NOT praise.
    This is not a pity party moment. It's actually a great awakening for me. I was so heart broken to hear what Naomi Judd had been dealing with and how she ended her suffering. I've been heartbroken by so many stories like this, but this story was different because of how Ashley articulated what her mother was feeling illuminated how I've felt, but had no words to express it. Nothing penetrates or sticks with me that is positive. Believe you me, all the negative comments, looks, energy, insults are buried so deep inside of me and have changed what I believe about myself. This thirteen minute segment really shook me and made me see how little love I let get in. 
    The thing that keeps coming to the surface for me is the questioning. Questioning if what I'm doing is good enough. Questioning my motivations for writing or singing or creating. Questioning my truth because it is stirring the pot or making other people uncomfortable. Questioning most everything about myself. As I observe others navigating through the world, not a lot of people seem to be questioning every little thing about themselves. Maybe they do later or maybe there are things that I cannot see, but for the most part, people just live. 
    It's been a hard stretch of road to see how my questioning everything about myself has left me with a lack of self. I can say I'm a writer or a poet or a creator, but every single time I attach these serious titles to my name I laugh at myself or think "you haven't made any money doing any of it, so how can you call yourself that." My truest belief in my heart of hearts is that whatever you continuously do, that's what you are. So many people didn't make money doing what they loved and we still call them painters, artists, writers. They took what they did seriously. I do not. I feel like a joke, most of the time. 
    When I'm crafting a poem or writing a chapter, I am in my element. I feel like I am doing what I was put here to do. The minute I go to share it or put it out there, in my mind I hear all the negative criticisms I've heard in the past and I click "publish" or "upload" anyway. Many times I go back to review it and I want to take it down. I have to put it out there and let it go. I hear the questioning again, "why put it out there? why do you have to share at all?" It is therapeutic for me to create it and do my best to let it go. I have found other writers' works to be very helpful for me in my trying times. When you can see yourself in something someone wrote or created, that's when you feel human connectivity. I ache for connectivity. This is my little way to feel like I'm putting something out into the world. 
    That begs another question, "well if you can't even take the compliment that your poetry did help someone else not feel alone, why do it?" It's truly not about me. I write from a place of my experience and what I'm going through, but so often I feel like I'm writing from the heavens to the page. 80% of the time it flows through me and I'm just the vessel to get the words out and in the eyes of others in need. Writing is breath to me. I wake up and I hear a verse and I chase it because it makes me feel alive. 
    Most of what I write falls into the melancholy or has dark undertones. And yet, it's just real life. My ultra feeling self can only write from the truth. I've been labeled "negative" many times before, but false positivity just isn't something I feel is healthy. Still, I've donned a hundred masks to make sure those around me were comfortable. After taking off said masks, I would question my authenticity and shame myself for trying to fit in. Funny thing is that while I was applying the mask, I was shaming myself into a mode of fitting in. "Just blend. Don't ruffle feathers. Make sure everyone is feeling good." I think I am now ready to start asking the right questions. 
    "What about me?" That's the question I need to ask more frequently. "Why not me?" or "What do I need?" So often in situations, I go silent or retract so that I don't dampen the positivity in the room. When I feel something, I hold it in and let others get away with not truly knowing me or understanding me. Dr. Susan David shared a philosophy recently in a Brene' Brown special that stopped me in my tracks. She stated that "Toxic positivity is a form of denial. When you tell someone to be positive, you're basically saying to them, "my comfort is more important that your reality." If you look around, we each have our own sense of reality. As I observe, each person is navigating to get what they need. A sense of worth, a connection, to have someone understand them or go with them (even if it's down a rabbit hole sometimes). Many realities can exist in one room and mine is rarely there. My reality has been to make sure everyone else has their reality and needs met. The only exception to that is when an energy gets in the mix that wants to poke, hurt or cause damage to the other energies in the room. I become a protector of the good energy and though it's a little different, it's still NOT my own reality. 
    Not being or feeling like you deserve your own reality makes it so that when you're praised or complimented, you shrug it off because the attention you're receiving is taking attention away from other people. Somewhere along the way, the programming and messaging that what I love and have to offer isn't good enough or right enough or within societal norms enough created my harmful self narrative. It helps with kindness and compassion though, which I'm thankful for. It keeps me mindful of what I say and how I treat people. I don't want them to feel how put down and uncared for as I have felt. 
    As I type that, I think back to four different instances in my life where I was unkind or allowed other people's unkindness motivate me to mirror it. I have been unkind to some who didn't deserve it and those who did, still shouldn't have gotten that behavior from me. I tie these things to me and they weigh me down. I hear the voices in my head say, "see, you have been unkind and so you aren't good enough or deserving enough to have anything good in your life." These are the voices that I will start questioning now. We ALL make mistakes and we all deserve redemption and second chances, but we have to give redemption to ourselves too. 
     I have started to be open with feelings and to say it's gone well would be a lie. Three different times, I wept and three different times I wasn't consoled and mostly my tears were ignored. I left angry and resentful, but not at myself. I was being who I am and going where my emotions took me. I wasn't concerned with their comfort and when it wasn't treated the way I would treat someone with tears in their eyes, I learned. Some people, (whom you are super fond of and hold in high esteem even) will not meet you where you are. It's not about the reaction. It's about ownership of your feelings. You are allowed to feel, in real time, without thinking of comfort levels. I am allowed to feel. I am allowed to sit in my reality just as everyone lives in theirs. I do not need to question whether I am worthy of love, compassion or kindness because I know that I am. When I didn't outwardly receive that, it took a minute, but then I realized that I was receiving information. I need to do better at observing without judgement, but it's all a work in progress. Capacity to be empathetic and loving isn't always within even our most treasured souls. I am hoping that when I feel fully loved by ME that it will be easier to accept each person's capacity with grace and self care. 
    Questioning myself hasn't gotten me anywhere. I've been stuck in a cycle of ideas and critiques. Those who make stuff happen, take the criticism politely, but keep on going towards what they believe in. It's time to stop doubting myself so much. I think it's best to question the lawmakers, the cynics, the cruel and untruthful. It's important to stay self aware and live in truth. As Mark Twain said, "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." In truth, I will walk as best as I can. I value being mindful of how I treat people and how I react when others are being treated unkindly in my presence and will continue to make that my main focus. I will do my best to take up space and stop turning off my light when others need it more. We can share it. There is enough. The moon is part of my reality and I DO NOT question how it has enough light to shine on all of us. It just does. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021


        I met a stray cat this week and I did the two things that you should NEVER do. I fed it and gave it a name. The cat pictured above is now known as Purrsie. Pronounced "Percy," but spelled in true cat lady fashion. After feeling the overwhelming gratitude from this stray cat when I gave it a helping of the canned food that my kitty (Paislie) doesn't specifically care for, I had a good cry. I was a little confused as to why I was so emotional even though it's not rare for me to cry for no reason. What about this cat brought water droplets to my eyes? She/he was a mirror, reflecting back to me some truths I've been struggling with. I too am lonely, aimless and hungry. 

    Purrsie and I have BOTH come to this piece of land for hope of a better life. We haven't figured it out yet and we're both skittish, lonely, but occasionally feel understood by the people around us. Today, I understood that Purrsie might appreciate a meal he/she didn't have to hunt for. It was a good feeling. I made a difference in a life. It's been a while. I have felt pretty useless for the last 5 or 6 months. Anxiety and depression keep you in your head and you become very self involved. It's not that you choose to be selfish, but when your mind takes the reigns, you have blinders on. Birthday cards are late, less and less contact is made and you self isolate which is lonely and comforting at the same time. You're "safe" in your cocoon of silence, but safe is not living. 

    I hunger to live a different life. That's why I am still here. Still fighting and still aching to be different. Yesterday, my therapist decided that it was best if we parted ways. The EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) started out helping, but the last two therapy sessions were way too traumatic for me. It took me about 2 days to get over the sessions. I believe it's a great method, but for me it's a little overkill. I am already a big time processor and feeler. Always dissecting, always trying to understand what and why I'm feeling. I think that EMDR is best for those who are more closed to their feelings. I was a little surprised by the revelation that I should seek other treatment. Feeling abandoned and a little given up on. I wonder if that's what happened to Purrsie? Did someone abandon this beautiful cat? 

    I know it is for the best and I will find another avenue of help, but rejection of any kind isn't easy. I'm left to my own devices, once again, to find some form of care that will help me navigate out of this aimlessness. Since August 13th, I haven't worked in the formal sense. Ever since the accident, I hear the sound of impact. Where the car swerved straight into me as I sat safely off the road. The peace I was feeling in the moments just before the accident were such a welcome reprieve. It had taken over two months to even get to that day. It was a Friday and I had just worked all week to make it my biggest payday of 2021. I was dropping off my last order and was unable to get ahold of the customer. I had time, I thought I'd just wait... Of course, now, I regret that decision. If I had just left. If I had just parked on the other side of the road.  Ever since the accident, I smell the stench of airbags deploying all around me. It is a smell that I will never forget. 

    Two months previous came another sound that will forever be engrained in my mind. Fireworks. That's all it sounded like. Fireworks after loud pounding which, later I found out, was the sound of a big metal device pounding down my neighbor's door. That day, I spent an hour in the closet with my Cat, not knowing what was going on outside. That day, two people lost their lives on our street. That day, I learned that nothing is as it seems and thus began my paranoia. I eventually went 12 days without eating or sleep. Ended up at the hospital where I was told that there's not anything they can do. Prescribed me some sleeping aids. I slept and then ate and continued with therapy. Got a little stronger. Felt as if someone understood me. Got back to a good place just as the car accident took place. If I were in a video game, it was as if I'd leveled up, but progress wasn't saved. I went all the back to level one. If I could be safely seated on the side of the road and get smashed into, then anything could happen. Oftentimes, that song by Ellie Goulding just taunts me anything can happen... anything can happen... anything can happen... 

    Anything can ALWAYS happen. This is nothing new. The only thing new is my awareness. My mind has shifted to seeing all the worst case scenarios. When being honest about how I'm feeling or what I'm thinking, I've heard an array of helpful comments: You just can't think like that. You've got to choose positivity. You've got to see life in a different way. I know these things are only said to try and help, but it also implies choice. There are things that I CAN choose like watching the news or holding tight to a negative thought, but anxiety and depression don't always ask. It is not as if I serve myself a bowl of negative-os and pour on sadness milk each morning. I don't wake up and think damn, I'm alive, this day is gonna suck. I actually start the morning with great hope and strength and desire to have a beautifully healthy day. I start off mind over matter, but some days there's a tingling in my gut that says remember how calm you were BOTH those days? You were this relaxed. Then, the other shoe fell. Remember that sound? Remember that smell? It's coming... again. You aren't safe ANYWHERE!?!?? This is what I am up against many days. I do my best to push through, but even if I'm walking through life, it is there. Lingering. Just like Purrsie, the stray cat. I'm skittish. 

    I watched Purrsie this morning as she/he ate some of the burnt toast I put out for the birds. She jumped and looked over her/his shoulder often. Unsure of her/his surroundings. Unsure of her/his safety and security and rather vigilant to ensure said safety and security. I watched this and started to cry again. We have BOTH lost our confidence in our existence. Mortality is guiding all of our moves and making us less trusting and giving to the world as a whole. Purrsie knows that there is real danger for her/him out in the natural world full of coyotes, hawks, owls, etc. It can be argued that she/he has a reason to be fearful. But, I have reason too. In this fast paced, non feeling, get over it world, humans are expected to be instantly resilient and move onto the next victory or crisis. By those standards, I compare myself and feel less than. I want my life back. I want to be a productive, thriving, happy person. It's going to take me longer than the rest. The trauma has created a lasting impression and no one should have to apologize for that. Just going through the actual trauma was hard enough. 

   Some humans are able to brush off the emotions and memories of traumatic events. Those humans inspire me.  I am more like a stray cat. I've seen some things and I remember. In my mind are the sights and smells of traumatic events and I move through the landscape around me a little on edge. I don't know where life will lead me and I hope to someday feel at home and secure, but for now, loud noises make me jump. I am grateful for those humans who seek to understand and who feed my soul with love. Some days I feel unworthy and other days anxiety and depression make it impossible for me to fully receive the love. Still, this is not my forever home. I will not live in this state perpetually. I don't know when I'll feel myself again, but for now I have a kindred spirit in a cat named Purrsie.