Honoring Your Anger

One of the less cool things about being super sensitive in this world is that when people do things that hurt, they REALLY hurt. That incredible depth of feeling for the amazing stuff… we don’t get a pass when it comes to the hard stuff.

There are times that I can feel my friends recoiling at having to hear yet another conversation about Mr. X and how heartbroken I am. I find myself isolating to deal with the pain because I don’t want to be a burden to them.

And that’s okay. I think there are parts that are meant to be processed alone and truthfully, talking the same things out over and over again are a recipe for distraction. To truly process we have to be willing to sit in the thick of things and evaluate from our own vantage point what went wrong, what needs to change and what patterns we are reliving through our relationships that are a detriment to our growth.

One of those things that needs processing is anger.

Anger gets a bad rap. Especially if you are a woman. An angry man is someone to be feared, or a real go-getter, a man who “gets things done.” In contrast women who get angry are labeled as “bitches, difficult, too emotional.” It’s a ridiculous double standard. We are all human, we all feel anger, we all need to process it.

Anger is a driving energy. The pain of anger forces us to change. We aren’t meant to stay angry for long. It is a powerful force that comes in hot and strong and leaves destruction in its wake. I am not talking about physical destruction, though that is one outlet, I am talking about destruction of those things that are no longer of service.

For as much as I want to release Mr. X in love, and I think I have done that, there is anger there. This is a completely normal response for anyone, and I am sure he feels some anger towards me too. That’s the thing about ending any relationship, there will be moments of feeling slighted, being unseen, unappreciated… that’s why things end. Even as we can see all of the love and show the world how much we appreciated that other person and the gifts they brought to our life, there will be some anger.

Mine boiled over last night. I have been feeling off all week after saying goodbye to Mr. X. The last correspondence between us was loving and honoring of each other but it ripped open the scab of not being chosen. Ripped it hard. All of my past relationships came bubbling to the surface. I realized that I was mad about so many things. So much has been sitting unprocessed. I have been focusing so much on trying to force a friendship in a place where I was not ready at all for that. I thought we could move into that without more space than we have already taken, but if there is one thing I learned it is that if there is to be a friendship after a broken heart there has to be a completely different relationship, which requires deadening the old bonds, breaking them apart and starting fresh. There needs to be solid communication about new boundaries and wants/needs in the new relationship. And that cool off period takes as long as it takes which is usually the decision of the person who was walked away from.

It’s a shit deal all around.

I have been forcing so much. I have been trying to adjust and change my feelings instead of sitting with them like they need to be. This week has felt like total shit. Like moving through sludge. After we talk there is always a day or two recovery right now, but this was lasting forever and I realized it was because I hadn’t allowed my anger to come to the surface. It felt like anger went against the grace and compassion I was trying to maintain. The reality is, by not allowing myself to feel angry I was dishonoring myself, as well as him. Neither of us acted perfectly. We could have done a lot of things better. Acknowledging the anger was acknowledging the depth of pain. It was acknowledging that he is human too and fucks things up. It was acknowledging that I have never spoken up about what I truly want in a relationship, and it propelled me forward into a new way of showing up.

When I have a strong emotion come up the first thing I ask myself is what is causing this? My first reaction is always “because someone did something to hurt me.” ALWAYS. This is a product of my conditioning. And it’s okay. I recognize it and go deeper and ask why did that thing that that person did hurt you so much? Usually the answer is I felt abandoned or unsafe. Then I go even further and ask myself in what ways did I abandon or make myself unsafe? When those parts are acknowledged and brought to light I can process the energy and move forward and figure out what I need to do to give myself safety and to feel seen again.

Issues in relationships come from trying to get our needs met. Our needs are a product of how we were conditioned. When we can recognize and give ourselves the things that we crave most then we bring back our power and authority. It is okay to need things from other people, but when we can see the deeper why behind the things we do we can communicate and cultivate our desires in a healthier way.

I used to feel safe with Mr. X. This is a long standing theme in my life. The need for safety. When that safety felt threatened because he was moving in a way that supported his highest need, my system went into overdrive… blaming, shaming. Even if these thoughts weren’t said out loud to him they were residing in my system. Bringing them to the surface, saying what I needed to say (even if it was at 2 AM to myself in my car) allowed me the space to go deeper into my needs and inspired me to see how I could start showing up for myself better.

One of the amazing things about finding someone that you love is that it often feels like a huge breath of oxygen. It feels like a safe place to rest, to land. It feels like the connecting of two souls who can move hand in hand through the world. It feels like never having to face the world alone again. When we become too reliant on that, we become codependent and bumps in the roads feel like canyons. Taking care of yourself first, honoring your feelings and needs without judgement, giving yourself compassion in even the darkest of hours… these are the things that will allow your partner the space to show up fully, to love and be loved in the highest good and to create a partnership that is a balance of what you both need.

Do not be afraid to love, to show up fully as yourself, but know yourself first. Be the best version of yourself that you can be. Know the darkness and the corners of your mental and emotional being. Attend to your needs. It is the only way to be able to fully and openly receive someone else. ❤ ❤

Photo by Jack B on Unsplash

Doing Hard Things

Whenever I am faced with something that feels overwhelming I go back to what Glennon Doyle says, “We can do hard things.”

I can sit in this pain. I can set this boundary. I can choose myself over another.

Mr. X reached back out to me last night. And while it was a note full of love, it brought up so much stuff. We have been on no contact for a couple of weeks. This has been a very hard transition for both of us. I am still learning that I don’t owe anyone anything. It is very hard with him. I feel so much gratitude toward him for seeing me like he sees me, for pushing me to be better, but at the end of the day I have to remind myself that I am the one who has done the work and the heavy lifting.

I wish that I could say our story ended in a peaceful, loving manner, but the truth is, it hasn’t been very nice for the last couple of months. I have found my power and attempt to wield it in the kindest way possible. He has chosen a different path, and while he has come back with the love that resides in his heart, and I can clearly see the path he has taken, I am still dealing with a lot of residual hurt and anger.

I felt like I was finally able to let him go.

Then he came back. But not in the romantic love story, show up at the door wanting to sweep me off my feet sort of way.

The hard facts are that he is with someone else. And he has chosen her and that life repeatedly. I look back at how many times I have been walked away from, taken space from, sacrificed in the name of his current situation and I look at myself and think, “girl, how much more pain do you have to put yourself through until it’s enough.”

There is this moment in love as an adult where you realize that you cannot be friends with someone you love like this. You cannot be friends with someone who your whole body gravitates towards, whose arms and heart you want to melt into, whose lips are the softest memory in your heart. It is the loss of the greatest loves that require the most space. I have come through losing him as a lover, losing him as a friend, losing all presence of him in my life. And I have survived. Not just survived but taken it to a healthier place, used it to move forward, found more love for myself.

As I sit here, tears on my cheeks, I wonder what bringing him back in will pull back into my life. This feels like the same path we have traveled time and time again. Yes, we have grown. I am in a much different place. I am in a place where I can recognize that me engaging right now will set me back. I am in a place where I KNOW that we need to not be in any sort of contact. For a long time. I know that in order to engage again these feelings I have for him will have to be extremely displaced, and I know that even if they are, the way that I love him, we are always in danger of falling back into this.

Love is doing what is right. It is freeing each other from a bind so tight it threatens to choke. Love is breaking codependent bonds and standing on your own two feet. Love is having faith that even as this felt like the end all, there is a better, more fulfilling situation out there for me. Love is choosing myself.

Breakups fucking suck.

Even as there was a ton of communication and a bit of an odd situation, for all intents and purposes this was a breakup. A hard one.

I fight myself on thinking if I want to be his friend hard enough then I can bury these other urges. Or if I am a “good person” I will find a way to make it work so that I am in his life. But the truth is, whether I stay or go I am still a good person. I have loved him like I have loved no one else and I still do. I have held myself and him in love and kindness and have communicated that way. I have been there for him in a way no one else has, and he has chosen someone else.

The thing about being a woman is that we are taught to sacrifice ourselves for the people we love. We are taught to be martyrs. The problem with that is when we have sacrificed all of ourselves, there is nothing left for anyone. We become a broken vessel. We can no longer effectively care for anyone and we become to lost that there is no longer a path in front of us. This way of living is complete bullshit and a way that I am no longer willing to live.

Mr. X is an amazing a beautiful being. He is an incredibly strong man, who lost his way for a second. We have learned so much from each other and I hold him in the highest esteem. But I cannot be in his life. And that is the hard part about love. When it comes down to choosing yourself or losing yourself to someone else’s wants, the world is always a better place when you choose yourself first.

It is only in the prioritizing of self that we can shine our light brightly into this world. With a glowing torch we can lead the way for others. We can show them transformation, we can live in integrity, we can be the truest and most beautiful versions of ourselves and in that way contribute to the elevation of humanity.

It’s simple. Our agenda here is be ourselves. Brutally, unapologetically. To share our unique gifts and quirks with the world. It is our essence that when added to the collective creates the melody that flavors our existence. Right now we need more powerful people. People who are showing up, people who have broken down barriers and overcome expectations. One cannot do this when they are tethered to a pattern of betraying themselves.

Choose yourself. It will hurt. It will take a tremendous amount of effort. It will make you tired and you will feel like you do not have enough strength to carry on. And suddenly you will. Things will shift, new people and opportunities will come into your life and your shoulders won’t feel so weighted down. Choose yourself. Always and forever. ❤ ❤

Image by Comfreak from Pixabay

A Word About Mental Health

I am one of those people who thought that seeking a therapist was something only people with “serious” problems did. I was not one of “those people.” I was smart and successful by most standards and I was doing just fine.

Until I wasn’t.

My thoughts about mental health came from deeply entrenched concerns that I had about what it would mean if I needed to talk to someone. For me, that would mean I had a big problem. I watched my mother battle deep depression and mental health issues that all but left my brother and I deprived of a childhood. I watched medications strip away her memory and remember seeing her day after day under the covers in her bedroom, too sad to move. I thought that if I reached out to someone I would become that.

I had been to one therapists as a young adult at the bidding of my mother. I remember being sat across from a man with a moustache when I was in middle school. My mom sent me because every day before I would go to school I would cry and beg to stay home. I am, and always have been a very sensitive person. The energies and personalities in the world were so overwhelming to me and being around a lot of people was like torture. Instead, this “gentleman” felt that my issue was an unhealthy attachment to my mother and that this meant I must be a lesbian. Every session he would try to get me to talk about that. I remember he told me he thought I was smart and he wanted me to take an intelligence test, which my mom wouldn’t let me take because she felt that if I did my ego would make me “too big for my britches.”

My next shrink has just gone through the trauma of being assaulted while on a walk with her dog. She was very scared and not in a place where she could help me process anything.

The next told me that EVERYTHING that was happening in my life was SO PAINFUL. It became a bit of an internal joke for me. I was not allowed to be angry or sad or frustrated. I just had to go straight to the pain. She meant well and I can look back and see her process a bit better now, but at the time it was not what I needed.

So you can imagine, I was reluctant to reach out to anyone.

I have never been super tethered to this earth. Thoughts of suicide have always floated around my brain. Too bored here, apathetic, maybe we should end it. Too much pain… there was comfort in knowing there was a way out.

Now I find myself in a profession with an incredibly high suicide rate, I have severe compassion fatigue and burnout, a relationship I care a tremendous amount about is changing significantly and there is tremendous loss, I am in the midst of trying to figure out (again) what I want to do with my life even though I never envisioned myself doing anything else. Add in a pandemic and some civil rights action and man… it’s quite a shit stew.

And one night I hit a break point.

I now think that people who seek help in the darkest of hours are some of the strongest people. To come through the darkness or to be in it and know that you need a hand and to reach out… this takes a strong individual.

I started seeing a shrink a few weeks ago and while I was a bit hesitant at first, it was one of the best decisions I have made.

At some point in my life I lost my true sense of self. I became so used to putting myself in other people’s shoes, in an attempt to find my home base, that I forgot to look within myself. Now I become so confused sometimes about what is me and what is other people.

So I reached out for help.

I like this therapist. She lets me talk. She lets me process as I need to. She validates my feelings and encourages me in a way that I respond to. It feels self indulgent sometimes. It feels embarrassing sometimes. But I persist because I know it is helping me through.

I would encourage anyone who is going through pain so deep it threatens to asphyxiate you, to please reach out to someone. Reach out to a therapist, a friend, reach out to me…. just please reach out. There is so much pain in this world right now. There is no shame in asking for help!

All of you is loved and accepted here. ❤ ❤

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

The Unexpected Side Effects of Healing

I was of the (incorrect) assumption that once I had healed “enough” I would feel light and free and unburdened.

To me healing meant sticking up for myself, holding boundaries, speaking my truth.

I finally did that in my relationship with Mr. X and I did feel light and free and I also felt like shit. The thing that no one tells you when you are a people pleaser is that setting boundaries is going to hurt like crazy because you KNOW you are hurting the other person. As soon as I said what I needed to there was immediate self talk, the kind that goes, “you are making a mistake, you don’t hurt people!” It is in these moments that I was forced to take a deep breath and realize that the upper level may be saying it was a mistake but when I felt into my heart I knew what I was doing needed to be done.

Boundaries are amazing. They show people how to love us. If they are not in place then people will love you how they think it is acceptable to love you and when there is not alignment there with what you truly need then that is a train wreck waiting to happen. I am the conductor of many of those trains.

I live in the perpetual world of “If I don’t speak my mind, then they won’t leave. If I bend backwards enough then they will see my worth.” This is such deeply ingrained, flawed thinking. I can recognize it now even as I am doing it. At some point I reached the threshold of pain that said enough is enough, but damn it took a long time to get there.

Every day now is a constant redirection of the conversation in my head. It is a consistent reminder of why I chose me and I keep having to choose me again and again. It is not easy, this work.

As I look back on my life I realize that I have NO IDEA what I want, what lights me up. Every job I have taken, everything I have done in my life has been with a push from someone else. Even as I sit in a “good” profession I am not sure how I got here, or if it was really something that I wanted or just something I wanted to see if I was “good enough” to do.

I get really scared sometimes that my heart will not find anything of its own to latch onto. That I will always need another person to spark joy in my life. This is codependent as fuck. It’s interesting though that I spend LONG periods of time not in relationships. And I isolate myself quite a bit from the world. I sometimes wonder if I am doing this in an attempt to keep out the input from others so I can find my own path.

Before engaging in another romantic relationship I have made a promise to myself that I will find solidity in me. I will find out what sparks me, what I love, what I hate and embrace those things. I live so much of my life in the middle. I see all of the sides. I understand most parts of human nature, I can stand back and watch it like a movie playing. Doing this means that a lot of times I don’t engage. And when I don’t engage I quickly fall back into apathy.

These realizations have been tiring as fuck. I am finding myself all at once too exhausted to do much and eternally appreciative towards myself for stepping into my own power. There is so much mental and emotional processing going on that I am having to give myself a lot of space and compassion to just be, to let happen what needs to happen and to allow my body the rest and replenishment that it needs. And honestly, I don’t have much of a choice. My body has decided what it wants and done so in a way that does not accept me ignoring it.

I am grateful for this reminder to slow down, so listen within, so do what I need to do for me. I try not to land on frustration in not accomplishing more or taking as many forward steps as I like, and I remind myself this is all happening along side unprecedented global events.

This is a shout out to anyone out there going through shit, on top of the shit we are all collectively experiencing. You are doing great. Just keep doing.

Much love to you all. I would love to know what some of your struggles are right now on top of pandemic/civil rights/death hornets/sand storms and whatever other disasters 2020 has thrown our way. Drop them in the comments if you can find the energy. <3<3

Image by HeungSoon from Pixabay

Announcement Time!! and… Being Yourself


I did a thing.

First off, I left FaceBook because it was bringing more stress than good in my life. That’s not the announcement.

The announcement is……. *drum roll please* I now have an Instagram page. So exciting I know, I am only like five years behind the times. BUT…. it’s @thefrazzledromantic and I try to post a short little musing or thought daily. So if you are so inclined, please pop on over. I am working on integrating these two platforms but it’s gonna take me a minute to get there.

On the subject of being yourself….

Why is that so hard? Why are we so afraid to show up as us, as perfectly imperfect as we are?

I will tell you why… connection and the fear of not having any or losing what we do have.

In my experience I do not show up as me because I feel like a big damn weirdo and the deeper you dig the weirder it gets, so I keep people at surface level and learn to mold myself into whatever situation I am in. Sometimes I speak my truth and just keep blabbing on about how I experience the world and I get a ton of those raised eyebrow type looks. I am learning not to care.

I think I have it easier than some people in a way because, while I have struggled to find “my place” in the world, I didn’t grow up in an environment that was exceedingly strict in any one area. My parents did not raise us (me and my brother) in a religion and only later in life became devout themselves. We weren’t members of things or in a class where there were certain expectations, though I am sure there were some that I am not recognizing. And for me, while I haven’t felt like my voice was strong early on in life, I do see where many times I just flat out refused to do something just because every one else was doing it. Much to the chagrin of my parents.

Even for as independent as I was, I still feel prey to all of the messages we receive as children (and women) in the world. Act nice, be quiet, fit in. I never really pandered to those ideals but I also wasn’t brave enough to go boldly into who I was so I ended up somewhere in the messy middle, knowing that what I was being told probably wasn’t the best way, but fearing being completely ostracized. Ironically enough, me doing this means I don’t have a big community in my life. I like people who are honest and down to earth and authentic and it’s hard to attract people like that when I am not living fully into those parts of myself. I am honest, but only enough that other people stay comfortable. I am authentic but only loud enough that it doesn’t rock the boat.

Fuck that!

I had my coaching class today and it was all about creating a brand that aligns with who you are and why you do what you do and the over riding message was…. BE YOURSELF and your people will come.

I think we are all told this, and I am sure many of us think this is what we do, but how many times have you been out with friends and someone has said something you don’t agree with or maybe it’s downright hurtful (i.e. racist or sexist) and you’ve felt that clenching in your gut but kept your mouth shut? Or how many times have you gone to a family function or other event when you were completely exhausted because it was the “right” thing to do? I am not saying to move about the world like a selfish asshole. There are definitely things that we have to do and responsibilities that we have to uphold that sometimes we don’t want to, but denying ourselves again and again leads to a dimming of our voices. We tend to pander to the crowd and go with the flow of whoever we are around until we realize we are living a life that does not fulfill us.

It is our weirdness, our “flaws” and trials in life that make us unique, strong in our vulnerability and ultimately what will attract other like minded people to us.

So many people are afraid of losing what they have, even if it isn’t that great, because let’s face it, the unknown is hella scary. It feels safer sometimes to stay in a mediocre relationship where you know the pitfalls and there is relative safety in understanding how to manage the ups and downs than it is to go blindly into the unknown and hope we find something that works for us. The reason we don’t know if there are other people out there for us is because we have never been brave enough to look. We have accepted what we were born into, who we were told to like or love, how we were told to show up in the world, instead of blazing a path that was uniquely our own.

I have a hunch that when we start to do this and we live from a place that is brutally us, the pool of who is in our life will change. We will lose people. But we will also gain others and the people that come will be attracted to the real self that is showing up. Those are the people I want in my life.

It is easy to look at other people and see their gifts, or see their uniqueness in their “flaws” or to see someone standing on a stage telling a story that we feel in our gut, that we resonate with, a story that we have never been able to tell ourselves. It is much harder to look within and see the inherent value in what we have to offer through our experiences and how we move through/interpret the world. But the thing is…. and I have said this before, our stories are SO powerful and exactly what someone else needs to hear. We are all unique and how we interact with the world is very individual but perhaps how we express ourselves will be just the way that someone else can understand so we can make true connections and find a tribe that is full of love and encouragement and inspires us to find our fulfillment. ❤ ❤

What is some thing about you that you are holding back from expressing?

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

The Power of Story Telling

One of the biggest struggles for many people during this time in the world is knowing what is “right.” What is the right story? Is the virus a huge monster waiting to annihilate everyone or it is being oversold in the mainstream media? Is the death of George Floyd the catalyst for the next Nazi occupation or is it a total farce made up by big government to push us into socialism?

Obviously, these are extremes and the truth is there is no “right” story. The stories that we hear are all true in certain ways. There are aspects of both sides and everything in between that is happening in this world.

There is one story though, that is the most important. That is our story. The story we tell ourselves.

People have this amazing capacity for storytelling and when those stories are solidified they become real. Almost immovably so.

I think with everything that is going on one has to really think about the stories that they have been told, who has done the telling or the teaching and evaluate the source. As I am discovering more about my own ignorance I am realizing that the stories that I heard growing up and in school were very passively let in. The things that teachers taught, just one more thing to learn enough to pass a test. A test created by people with their own agendas. The insidious part about that, is that even when we passively hear stories, they start to create pathways in our brain that, as we age, become solidified. This can come in any number of forms. If I am told repeatedly that no man will love a “big” woman, then this becomes a subconscious pattern that I don’t even realize I let inform my world view. Even though the evidence is contrary when viewing the world, that thought might creep in every time I take a bite of ice cream and I might feel guilt and shame.

If I am told that racism is bad but that that was a construct that only existed with the advent of slavery and now that slavery is over, there is equality, then that is likely the world view that I will move through life with. It often takes a pretty big event in our lives to realize that we should even evaluate our stories. And that is where our society is at. Story evaluation.

There are a couple things we can do when looking at stories. We can refuse to look with an open heart and mind and continue in ignorance. We can completely lose ourselves to shame and guilt over what was and try to prove that we are not the result of our story, or….. we can change our story.

Humans have this tremendous ability to alter their realities. We hold enough power to completely transform ourselves over and over again.

This is thanks to a little thing called neuroplasticity which is basically a fancy word that means the brain has the ability to rewire and relearn new patterns. We can rewire thoughts, patterns… old stories… and replace then with ideas that serve us better. This is accomplished through the basic framework of duality and perspectives.

Sadly, as we live in an instant gratification society, this does not happen overnight. In fact new patterns take months to solidify. It takes diligent effort and work. It is very simple, but not easy in any way.

Constant. Conscious. Effort.

If I had to identify one thing that has resulted in the biggest change in my life it would be the incredible power of perspectives.

I have a friend who tells me, “if you are going to play the ‘what if’ game then you have to play both sides.” This is where duality comes in. When I was starting the process of reframing my life it was very difficult to see anything other than what I thought I had right in front of me. In my case I was conditioned from an early age to see only the fear and awful parts of any situation. Anything good that happened to me I would hold my breath knowing that it wouldn’t last, it wasn’t meant for me. In order to change these thought patterns I had to start by finding the complete opposite thought. It was only in going to these extremes that I was able to create enough space that I could start to see all of the other possibilities in any given situation.

What I learned was that in any scenario I could come up with a perspective that served my version of my highest self. A perspective that showed that the world was working for me instead of against me.

Does this mean that I always choose a better alternative? No, not yet. Sometimes I meet myself with a hard line of resistance attached to an old idea or paradigm. I can see other perspectives and know which one would be best suited and still choose something else. And that’s okay too, because life is dynamic. There isn’t a wrong way or a right way to do it and everything changes all the time. I know the choice to change my mindset is always there. So sometimes I go down a different road, explore that for a while, educate myself see how it makes me feel and then go back and choose something else. I am nothing if not a perfectly imperfect work in progress.

When we have the perspectives that we want we are able to craft a new life. A life where our lenses have cleared and we are able to see opportunity and resources instead of giving into a victim mentality and helplessness. In this way we are able to start to live an empowered life. Pretty soon that becomes normal and we start to attract things that serve us better and we find ourselves on an upward trajectory and when undesirable things happen we are better able to handle the bumpy transitions and maintain momentum in creating the life we really want.

The power of perspectives can be used in any situation. We can use it with reference to something that is going on in our personal lives, but we can also use it to evaluate the world in a broader sense. We may realize that the stories we have been told are all we know, but once we open our awareness to the fact that there even ARE other perspectives then we can start expanding our capacity.

I don’t know what is right for the world. But I do know what is right for me. Shifting perspectives to promote inclusivity and love for all has meant that I have had to evaluate some of the stories that I was told, stories I have told myself and all of the other junk that has settled in my energy system. It has been and continues to be a redirection, a reframe, an expansion of awareness and a compassionate pursuit.

The people who are willing to look at and change their stories (if they need to be changed) will be the people who find harmony and joy in life because in this deconstruction one will find themselves. As the inner knowing becomes stronger and the voice amplified a person will no longer be content to passively receive input but will become a purveyor of exactly what messaging their heart resonates with. ❤ ❤

Image by Sarah Richter from Pixabay

Arriving

I have always hated the quote, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” I lived my life in frustration over that quote. What did THEY mean, it’s about the journey??? What journey??? (As an aside I should put in here that the “they” referenced is actually Ralph Waldo Emerson, a pretty badass and quite famous dude, so I listen to the “they” with reverence).

I always pictured myself “arriving.” Much of the arrivals, I realize now, were preconceived ideas about what it meant to be a successful woman in the subset of society that I lived in. White, middle class, picket fence, 2.5 kids. If my parents had their way I would have remained without higher education, barefoot and pregnant at 20. Not that there is anything wrong with that…. if it’s what one wants.

For me, I always knew I was different. If you told me I was adopted I would have believed that without question. I always wanted more, wanted to see the world, to experience new foods, sights, sounds, cultures. I remember my parents getting so mad at my brother as he worked his way through college. They would always retort “isn’t this life enough? Why do you think you are better than us?” I took those words in and realized we weren’t better, we just wanted different.

I always waited for that arrival. That feeling of success when I was a doctor, success when I had a good man, a family, a house.

My life has looked NOTHING like that. And for that, I am extremely grateful.

When I become a doctor I felt….. excited to be done with school. That was about it. There was no moment’s pause to even consider what I had done. I was just… moving on to the next piece. That’s when I started to take that quote a little more seriously. It was about that time that I realized I was still, and would forever be, on a journey.

I wish I could say that I have stopped waiting, but there are days that is exactly what I do. I wait for the feeling of success to wash over me. I wait for that feeling of happiness. I wait for whatever. And I realize in that waiting that I sometimes miss what is right in front of me.

This journey has been epic, this journey of transformation. And it is true, the journey is the beautiful part because there is no such thing as a destination. We may hit milestones, we may tick boxes but the only destination we are assured of is the final sleep.

Now, as I walk through this world, I see the beauty in this journey. The beauty in the uncovering pieces of myself, the beauty in breaking down barriers and stories. I see the greatness in other people and see more and more that we are all connected, that we walk alone but we are all on the same journey. Our paths may wander in many different directions and some will stop and stand in one place for a while, but for many we will keep walking. We will question everything, we will approach the world and each other with curiosity. We will listen to stories of those that look nothing like us and we will take them into our hearts knowing we are all from the same energy soup.

Life is a journey. It is a beautiful, hard, painful, ecstatic journey. A journey where we can be sad but feel joy, we can love someone and know they cannot be in our life, we can sing and laugh and a second later burst into tears. We can approach it all with curiosity and wonder and we can move through life with the innocence of a child and the tenacity of a viking. We can be and do whatever we want. All of the resources are here, we just have to be brave enough to see them, open enough to receive them and confident enough to know that what we create is unique and necessary to this world, simply because we created it.

Enjoy your journey. Recognize that even as we are alone, we walk together. Be brave enough to take the first step and the next and the next. Know that sometimes you will trip and fall and skin your knee and sometimes you will fly higher than the mountain tops.

Embrace your journey, approach it with curiosity and know that each moment is its own perfect destination. ❤ ❤

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Tackling Racism

I am getting to the point in my journey where it’s time to expand my energy outward a little bit and take a peek at what is going on in the world. I have largely isolated myself during this pandemic and have cut myself off from most social media platforms. I haven’t owned a TV in years and mainstream news sources are too biased for my tastes. But, there are things happening in the world that need to be addressed.

Full disclosure, I am a white woman from a middle class upbringing.

I knew racism existed but like so many of the people I have talked to I just assumed if I didn’t have an issue with people of color then I wasn’t racist. Nice and tidy and in a cute little package. And this meant I didn’t need to speak up or do any work.

I was so wrong.

I did what a lot of us did when I first heard about protests and riots. I jumped on the internet and googled what was going on in the world. The first thing I did was look at Minneapolis. I used to live there. The destruction was intense and broke my heart. The next thing I did was jump on Instagram and see who all the women that I follow were following with reference to POC and I joined their communities. I did what most of us “good white women” were doing. And then I stopped for a second.

I have listened to so many stories and talks by these badass black women and holy smokes, they are mad. And they have every right to be. Their words are brutal and honest and so engagingly beautiful. It was quickly pointed out that all of us white women were doing the same thing, flooding their social media platforms, reaching out for help, giving money. Man, that hurt. I thought I was doing what was good and right and for a second I was mad, I wanted to scream I’m here, I’m open to help and still you are saying it’s not right!

Then I checked myself. I took a deep breath and shut the fuck up and started to listen.

I have a huge capacity for empathy but being the target of racism is something that I know nothing about. I have not even given it much thought and why? Because I lived and grew up and went to school and joined a profession of predominant whiteness. It was not a conscious choice, but it has been my reality. I have black friends, I have dated lots of brown men, I have friends in the LGBTQ community. I am a pretty open person. But in this, I knew nothing.

I heard stories of young black girls seeing cops and feeling unsafe. I heard stories of women being gunned down, dying in their beds at the hands of cops while they were sleeping. I realized I was one of those people who had immediately prioritized destruction of property over the painful reality of the existence of this group of people that I knew largely nothing about.

Ignorance is bliss… and it can also be deadly.

The more I look into white supremacy, racism, white fragility and all of the current buzz words, the more I realize I have no idea what these things really mean. I have never taken the time to unpack them. So I started reading and researching and stopping and listening.

I still don’t know “what to do.” Except to educate myself and know that next steps will unfold the more I learn. And I would encourage others to do the same.

I have never been one to push my beliefs on other people. I firmly believe in everyone following the path that is right for them. But I do encourage educating oneself, thinking critically about the information presented and to put yourself in the shoes of others even for just a second.

I don’t know what it is like to be a black woman in America, but I do know what it is to be a woman. I know what it is to be scared to leave your house or to walk alone at night. I know what is it to feel unseen and unheard and to feel like my presence has no value. I know what it is like to be threatened and I know what it is to hurt.

There is so much yelling and noise in the world. There is so much pain and fear. Pain and fear are things that we can all empathize with.

I don’t know the right actions. I mess stuff up a lot in this space. I try to start conversations and am met with resistance and often quiet my own voice so that it fits with the audience, so I don’t make people uncomfortable. I don’t push people. But I empathize with everyone. I empathize with the distrust that people of color feel with this situation and the discomfort of having the safe spaces they have created invaded by people who may bring in hate and destruction. I empathize with the people rushing to those spaces who think they are doing, and want to do “the right thing.” I empathize with the ones who have lost family members to brutal deaths and I empathize with the cops that are acting appropriately within the confines of that label.

This is what I can do right now. Empathize and educate and realize that all the outrage, the destruction the yelling… these are all people in pain. And as I said many times before, one can not have growth without destruction, without breaking barriers, without challenging beliefs and breaking weak foundation to pour something more solid. We can see people for who they are. We can acknowledge the distrust and fear from black communities and we can shut the hell up and listen so that we can learn. This is being human. This is humanity.

It isn’t about “love and light and everyone getting along.” This situation is about loving fiercely. It is about sitting and thinking instead of reacting when faced with opinions that ruffle your sense of ignorant safety. It is about opening your mind and heart to some of these badass black leaders who are paving the way for change. Love is not a one way street full of joy and mirth. Love takes real work. It takes sustained effort and the willingness to work through limiting beliefs. It takes eating some humble pie and sitting in your heat of embarrassment and shame. And it takes forgiveness and grace and compassion for oneself as you stumble your way to new beliefs.

Love fiercely. Challenge your beliefs. Create new patterns and choose something different. ❤ ❤

Image by mmi9 from Pixabay

Happening “to” versus “for”

I have had some really massive shifts in the last 48 hours and it feels really really good.

One of the biggest realizations was about things happening for me versus happening to me. Empowering mentality versus victim mentality. It’s taken so much work to get here and it is a constant balancing act to keep from tipping back into old ways of thinking, but for the first time since I started this personal development journey I feel like the balance has shifted into this new realm.

It’s really exciting actually and I am really proud of myself. And in many ways I owe much of this to the push that I have gotten from this situation with Mr. X. I have learned SO MUCH from that relationship. It has really shifted my world view in so many ways.

And still I am devastated. Devastated for the loss, for the distance, for the space. And that’s okay. This was a love that broke open so much in me. There was a deep vulnerability and caring that I have never experienced before and a very tender caring. It is totally normal to grieve. Honestly, I love that grief and I love that it is persisting because it shows me just how deeply I can love and be loved. I don’t have to sit in it, but I can appreciate its presence and take it into my heart and honor it for the depth that lives in me.

The difference now is that I can clearly see the roll that situation has played in my life. I can see the benefit it has brought. It is still tough to think that our journey may be over but I am, for the first time in a long time, excited about the future. I have gained so much clarity around what I want from life in the midst of this shit storm. I have been able to shift my focus to that and that feels AMAZING!

This life is a journey and so much of it the last year has been spent waiting. Waiting for a shift, waiting for a decision, waiting for clarity. I realize now that I have all of those things and I gained them not through waiting at all, but through conscious effort. Every. Single. Moment.

That’s were for vs to comes in.

I grew up thinking everything happening in the world was happening to me. Didn’t get a job, someone was out to get me. Failed at school work, clearly the professor was an idiot. My entire life was shrouded in this haze of victim hood. Flash forward to today. I have spent the last several months correcting every thought, reframing as much as I can. Sometimes it was a miserable failure, but also the most massive arena for growth. I realized somewhere along the line that I was the one standing in my way. I was the one perpetuating these thought patterns. I was the one gripping and writhing and holding on to the only way I knew. Everything was happening to me and I was always waiting for the next shoe to drop. I would hold my breath when something good happened, knowing it wouldn’t last, that it was a mistake for it to be happening to me.

Now…. now I realize I create my life. My mentality creates how I see it and the best part is that I can change my reality at any time. All it takes is making a shift, doing the work and stepping out of my own way. I can take every situation in my life and ask what it’s doing for me. I can thank people for showing up as they are and the the lessons inherent in our interactions. I can pick out the gains just as much as the losses these days and that is a HUGE shift for me. For the first time in my life I am proud of myself. I am looking forward to new challenges so I can continue growing.

When the script can be flipped to something that is empowering and forward focused then life becomes a bit more fascinating. There is, instead of fear of what’s happening, a curiosity that presents itself. I can ask “hm, I wonder what this situation is trying to teach or show me?” Life also becomes easier from the standpoint of reducing fear around new things. I am less afraid to try new stuff, to go out into the world. I put less weight on the decisions I make, knowing that they are all lessons and are leading me somewhere and there is more emphasis on the internal ability to course correct and trust in my own intuition. It’s really cool actually.

I have had glimpses of this in my work the last few months. There has been this kind of knowing of some path that I was traveling down and people have told me this would happen, but I didn’t really believe it fully until now. In many ways I still feel hesitant, like stepping out into the sun after a long, cold winter, but I know it will get easier from here.

This relationship happened for me, so that I could have a love experience and discover my capacity and my strengths. It’s really true that everyone we interact with is here to teach some kind of lesson, it’s all about seeing it as such and honoring that person for the role they play.

As I come around to this situation with Mr. X, this new mental framework is rippling out into my work and making it more tolerable. I am still making decisions and moving away from my current profession but I can indulge in the steps with a little more ease.

This year has been and continues to be brutal in so many ways, but for me, it has been the most growth I have ever experienced. Between my personal relationships, work transitions, discovering what I want out of life, a pandemic and now a civil rights push, my mind and heart have been stretched in ways I didn’t realize they could. There are a lot of things I thought I knew and was solid with that I am finding instead a real capacity and need for expansion.

As Glennon Doyle puts it, it’s Brutiful.

With this shift my heart feels… lighter, more open, tender and delicate but also strong and resilient and I cannot wait for the next adventures, whatever they may be. ❤ ❤

Surviving

I keep thinking things are getting better, I am feeling better, the intensity of feelings is lessening, I am focusing on the gains and not the losses.

And then a pain comes in my heart. It is a weight on my chest that makes it hard to breathe. My fingers are clenched, drawing blood from my palms. Tears start to stream and my breath is caught in my throat. The blood in my head starts to pound and I am on the floor in the fetal position choking down sobs. I wake up in tears for weeks on end, nausea bubbling up in my throat and fall asleep at night in a pool of grief. The mornings and nights are the worst. I have started to dread them.

The urge to reach out to him feels almost unbearable today. There is a need to know that he is still there for me. Even though he shut the door. Even though he knows I am not okay. He doesn’t reach out and I know that I can’t let myself go there. His actions say all that needs to be said.

A friend of mine told me recently to dig my roots deep into what I love and what loves me and to be honest there hasn’t been much love in my life. Except him. I love him. I love him in the depths of everything that is me. I love him in my heart and mind and body.

And I know he loves me. And he has finally let me go so I can live my life. And I dig my roots deep into him in the only way I can… by letting him go to do what he needs to do in this life.

That’s the cruelest irony of love, sometimes digging into love means letting go so that your hearts can be free.

I have so many questions, so much confusion, so much fear. But at the end of the day his actions speak louder than any words. And right now our place is not near each other. And some days it breaks me in pieces.

But I love him enough to let him go.

I am not good at this relationship business. I give way too much of myself. I give myself in ways that people don’t ask for. I give myself so much that I am labeled a unicorn and I make men feel great. All I want in return is someone to love me back. To stay when they say they will stay. I put myself so firmly in their shoes that I justify all of their actions and words even when they slice through the tenderness that lives within me. I forget I have shoes of my own. I get so scared they will leave that I don’t speak up. I don’t say what I feel.

This time, when I did, he did what I feared. He walked away. He walked away and I didn’t die. My heart breaks over and over and over again. He has disconnected us. I no longer feel him at all and this … this is brutal because I know he feels me. I know he has that sense of connection and can visit it whenever he wants to. He gets me in a way I can’t have him and it makes my insides scream.

The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes. He loved me. Maybe still does. But I am not what he wants his roots dug into. I am not someone he wants to support right now. I am not one he wants a life with. And he loves me enough to let me go.

There are so many stories going on in my head. So much downplay and back talk. So much diminishing my role in his life. So I had to make up a story that works for me. One that makes me feel honored and loved and cared for. It is the only way that I can get through. The only way that I can be confident moving forward.

I told him I didn’t know if we would survive this. At the time he laughed. Now his head and heart are clear and I am not in them. I am right… we have not survived. We will never go back to what we were. And honestly, what we were wasn’t that great.

I want great. I deserve great. And so does he. He deserves all of the best things that this life has to offer and I know he will have them. That thought… that brings me comfort and some relief. I know he is okay. I know he will be okay. So I am free.

I realize that even though I can’t breathe, even though the weight in my chest threatens to crush me, I know I am ready to receive a healthy and loving relationship. One with a man who is free to love me completely. And I am really really excited for that. It brings up its own set of new fears. Fears that I would love to have on my plate because it means a new experience.

I know this will come in waves, and every moment of relief from this agony is a welcome glimpse of the future. Those glimpses are distant and don’t come often right now, but they do come and I know I will be okay. I know I will be brave enough to show up in the way I need to for the next relationship. I know I will start out speaking my truth, and though there is so much fear in being accepted, I am no longer willing to put myself in someone’s experience so much that I lose myself.

I am, instead, finding myself. Every tear. Every sob. Every darkness and light that comes into my awareness. This is me. I love this person. I love this woman who is seeing herself for the first time. I love this woman that is starting to use her voice even though it means losing some things. I love this woman who is willing to lose in order to set herself free. I love this woman whose heart is so fucking big it has the capacity to step in someone’s shoes and give them the love that they need. I love this woman that is figuring out how to do that and still stay in herself. I love this woman whose heart is bleeding but open, who isn’t shutting down. I love this woman who is strong enough to give the man she loves what he needs and to be strong enough to support herself. I love this woman who is resisting the urge to reach out because she knows how she will feel if she does. I love this woman’s laugh and smile and the sparkle that visits her eyes. I love me. All of me. I love the messy shit and the good shit and everything in between. I love her fear and the lessons and challenges within it. And I love that she is still here. She is still trying. And though today she is just surviving, she is still here.

I am still here. ❤ ❤