Day 74: An Empowered Woman

I felt it only fair after yesterday to talk about what I feel an empowered woman looks like. I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot today.

So what is an empowered woman to me?

An empowered woman loves herself. She may not like all of her traits but she knows she is in complete control and can change them at any time.

An empowered woman embraces her independence and knows she doesn’t rely on anyone, but also sees the value in a partnership and when in one embraces it as such and treats her partner as an equal, and helps shoulder the load.

An empowered woman knows her strengths and weaknesses and can use them to move through life in a fashion that suits her. She moves with the confidence of knowing intimate familiarity with her darkness and her light.

Empowered women treat others with kindness and love but have boundaries in place so there is never any question of her own value.

An empowered woman claims her space in the world and does so by standing on her own feet, not by beating down the shoulders of others.

An empowered woman knows how and when to be soft and gentle and when to be firm and unyielding.

An empowered woman knows she isn’t right for everyone so she lets those go that no longer fit in her life, because she knows her table is small and reserved for a special collection of souls.

An empowered woman knows and understands her beauty, sensuality, sexuality and knows that those are tools of pleasure for her and her mate, not boxes that she has to live within.

An empowered woman speaks up for the things and people that she values, even when it doesn’t flow with popular opinion.

Empowered women celebrate their successes and the successes of those they love. They are humble in doing so and give credit where it is due.

An empowered woman knows how to be kind, nurturing, protective, supportive, soft, light, goofy, hard, dark and firm all rolled into one.

Empowered women know their values and continuously course correct to stay in line. Even when they are exhausted with this life.

Empowered woman know that there is an inherent responsibility to aid in the betterment of the collective, a part of which can only be enhanced through a feminine energy.

An empowered woman shows up. Authentically. Fully. Unabashedly. How they want to show up.

As Gandhi so eloquently put it, “be the change you want to see in the world.”

Be better. Find your power and go forth and shine your light in the world so damn bright that no one will ever question your presence again. ❤ ❤

Image by adam1762 from Pixabay

Day 72: Self Awareness

Yesterday I wrote about holding space and I forgot to talk about the most important part, holding space for yourself.

There is great beauty in having someone in your life to do this for you. It is incredibly helpful. But the ability to hold space for yourself, to let your thoughts and emotions come without judging them, to accept that they are there and maybe they aren’t as nice as you’d like, is an act of self care that far outweighs any of the spa days and massages. It is truly an act of self compassion. When you sit with yourself, there are no barriers, no attempts to shield another person from the darkness or the light, it’s just you and in that way you can dig much deeper into yourself and your journey than you can with another person. This is not to say that personal growth should always be undertaken alone. We NEED other people to help us stay the course, to inspire us to keep going when the going gets tough, to cheer us on and call us out when we need it. Being able to do this for yourself….it’s not easy, but is one of the most rewarding things that a person can do.

When I started this blog I made a promise to myself that I would stay honest and authentic. So I’m going to dig into some dark stuff here. Maybe it will help someone, maybe it will help me to process.

I reached out to Mr. X this week. I don’t know how I feel about this actually. There is a small part of me that feels like I am failing womanhood by doing so, a much larger part of me just wants to hear some kindness and support from someone I love.

I am struggling really really hard to get through this situation with him. It’s all self induced really. The darker parts of me want him to know how much he has hurt me. The other part wants to shut completely off so no one can see that pain. There are parts of me that know some of the things he did and said weren’t really okay to me, but I let them go because I am really good empathizing with other people and accepting less than ideal behavior for fear of losing the relationship. When I try to talk stuff through with friends, even me just telling them I am going through a breakup of sorts (without all of the details), the automatic, immediate reaction from them is to tell me I need to cut off all contact. I need to go out and get wasted and numb the pain and move on with some other guy. They want to immediately demonize him and I don’t. Then, my friends start telling me things like I sound like a woman who is in love with an abuser. Some of the shit they come up with is absolutely ludicrous. I realize it is them dealing with their own pain and issues, so I don’t talk to them anymore about this. I am mostly alone processing. And this is where holding space and self awareness comes in.

The reasons I reached out aren’t totally conducive to my own self love but have helped me flush out some patterns that I realize now are from my childhood. One of the reasons I wanted to talk to him is because I love him, and I really miss him and I want a hug so god damn bad and to hear what is going on in his world. I know that those wants are lifting a scab that needs more time to heal, so maybe isn’t completely in our best interest. One of the other reasons is because there is a part of me that wants to string him up and use him as a punching bag, to dredge up all the shit he said that hurt me and launch into a verbal lashing that would make a sailor blush.

When this first came up there were so many emotions that came with it – righteousness, anger, pain, guilt, shame. I felt simultaneously that it was my place to want this and he should just take it, as well as feeling like a completely rubbish human being for even allowing that thought to cross my mind with reference to someone that I love. I have been judging that thought hard. I know where it comes from. I lived this experience my entire life. Every time anything was done to my mother to “hurt” her, even if it was a simple expression of self, she would lash out. I’m talking screaming and crying and trying to hit things. Feeling this, knowing this is in me and that I allowed it into a space where there once was so much love really weighed heavily on my heart. And then I realized, we haven’t talked yet. This is not the action that I have to choose. It is one option, but not the one I will feel the best about, and not one that supports me in being a better version of myself. So I stopped judging it, accepted it was there and allowed it to just be.

To set aside that anger almost feels like giving in. It feels like giving up on fighting for a relationship that I cherish so deeply. And this is where the internal battle ensues. I don’t know if it is this way for most people, but for me it is really intense. I have a massive amount of resistance to the thought of just letting go and accepting what has happened. Even though I know it will make me … and him feel better. And letting go would be an ultimate act of love, for both of us, but I’m just not there yet, and that’s okay too.

I was never one of those little girls that had BIG dreams. I never dreamed of being a vet actually. It was something that I thought would come naturally so I did it. I never dreamed of a wedding and kids or a big fancy house. My whole life, from as far back as I could remember, I have wanted one thing. One thing that lit me up, ignited my heart and kept me going in pursuit. I wanted to find an out of this world love connection with a man. That’s all. I have never settled for less and thus have been single pretty much my entire life. To find the feeling that I wanted in this amazing and beautiful human being who makes me heart light up, who induces butterflies in my chest, whose touch sends goosebumps down my body… and then to “lose” it…. feels …. empty and hollow and dreamless. I don’t know how else to describe it. When you have put all of your energy into searching for one thing and it doesn’t show up like you thought it would and you can’t actually access all of it, it’s a huge bitter pill to swallow.

So I find myself sifting through the ashes, wandering in the darkness, playing with all of the pieces and seeing what fits and what doesn’t and it is there I realize that my heart opened with him, so it is capable of opening, but that I need a lot. I need a lot of love. Not many people can provide that. And to expect that one person will be enough for all of that is too much for anyone to bear. It all comes back to me. Me being able to fill myself with love. Me seeing me for what I am and accepting it, embracing it and figuring out how to live in this world where I don’t feel like I have ever belonged. It is about finding a new dream so that there is some compulsion to stick around a while longer in this experience. I like puzzles so this is right up my alley. I have created my life as one 3-D, monochromatic, million piece puzzle to solve. And I am a hell of a creator.

As my mind wanders to all of the interactions we could possibly have, I know that the one thing I will not allow myself is to use him as a punching bag to sort through my own insecurities and fears. He deserves better than that and so do I.

Image by Mrdidg from Pixabay

One of the things that helps me with self awareness is clarifying my values. This is a new exercise for me so I am in the stage where it isn’t automatic quite yet. I struggle really really hard with is knowing what is MY voice. I understand Mr. X and how his brain and heart work so I can live in his perspective. I get where my friends are coming from, the ones who tell me to go out and party and just move on so I can live there too. Obviously, I can live in my own past which dictates situations like this call for a complete excision of the relationship from my life with never a look back. I am comfortable there too. Where I am not comfortable is the new paradigm of what I want to be, who I want to be, how I want to show up in the world. Since there are so many noises coming in I decided to make a values list to take all of the static out of the equation.

What are my top values? Authenticity, kindness and love. There are other ways I want to show up, but to simplify I am starting there.

Then I say okay, is getting pissed and verbally abusing someone you love in line with those values? No, obviously. Is it authentic? Yes, because that is what I feel, but it isn’t necessarily a truth. Is it kind? No, not at all. Is it born of love? No, it doesn’t express love for him, my words would not be born of love and it certainly won’t help me feel more love for myself. That is my voice. That is self- awareness.

Whenever someone says something to me with relation to this situation (and any others I am confused about) I run it through those filters, does that feel authentic to me, is it coming from a place of or expressing kindness and love? If yes then I may place it in my toolbox, if not I allow it to be there, know it is an expression of me and then let it be and give myself a huge proverbial pat on the back for winning another round, for feeding something better.

I also like to go back to what I wrote yesterday about people knowing what is best for them. I have to remind myself often of this. I know what is best for me. Not my friends, not Mr. X, me. Even if I choose a dark path, it is my choice. Doing something different for someone else will not create sustained change.

Some other self awarenesses that I am sitting with include: I am stubborn… like REALLY stubborn and I sometimes act out when I don’t get my way. The way I express my anger sometimes is very intense, with little to no space between my anger and lashing out. Sometimes when I am hurt I want other people to hurt too. I don’t trust words, only actions and it is still a really long road to gain my trust. In the wake of this situation I do not want to open my heart to anyone but me. Physical touch does not feel good to me with other people. I can walk away from most of the people in my life very VERY easily as I do not actually allow myself to connect with them. These are things that keep coming up, that I sit with, filter through and see how I can utilize them. Most of the time I just work on shifting perspectives to something more useful.

I am stubborn, but I am also very passionate about what I feel and when I come up against something that is a true “wrong” in this world I will fight for what is right. The intensity of my anger and fear and pain are the opposition to the intensity of my love which when opened and softened to people can create a space for a love that is huge and very filling and warm. I may want to hurt people when I am hurt, but I actively pursue other solutions. I still act in the kindest way that I can, and seek to see their perspective. My love is deep and not easily given and I have reasons not to trust people and that is okay, the ones who stick around for me earn my loyalty, respect and love. I am very very good at protecting myself and have created a space where I am safe. I don’t need to soften to everyone for them to receive some of the love I have to give, my body is my own and it does not need to be a tool for expression of love.

See, when I put it that way those traits are empowering and come from a place of alignment with my values.

Personal growth really is all about figuring out how you want to show up, becoming aware of existing thought patterns, finding different perspectives and interacting with them to build a new reality brick by brick. It isn’t a fast or fun process, but the new version brings with it a whole new life and a new playground to find your dreams, build your reality and flourish in the life you have been given. ❤ ❤

Top Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Day 66: A Retreat Within

Sometimes in order to heal and open your heart, what is required is a trip within.

It is the times of dark turmoil that almost call for total reclusion.

I have pulled away from almost all of the people I have come to rely on the last year or so. I was simply becoming too much. Too much for them, too much for me.

I finally took the plunge and reached out to a therapist to really dig into why I do the things that I do, why I seem to overwhelm people I am in relationships with, why I continually choose men that are unavailable.

It is a time of deep healing, upgrading to a better version, soul searching.

I am simultaneously terrified and relieved to have reached out to someone.

Retreating within is okay, as long as you have some guides to help you find the way out again. ❤ ❤

Day 63: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

In every journey there are course corrections. A step to the left, two to the right… and sometimes you fall flat on your face. Sometimes when you’re falling, you are still making progress. Sometimes it is the fall that inspires action, boundaries, the forcing of self love because the alternative is to completely stop.

I had a panic attack this morning. There was no reason for it that I can immediately identify. Usually there is. It caught me off guard, the racing heart, the pressure in the chest, the fragility of needing to fall apart for a second. The feeling lasted about 30 minutes. Really fucking long…. and all day I have felt off and on guard.

While not a pleasant experience, it tells me a few things.

  1. I have nothing to give to anyone but myself right now.
  2. I am about at the end of my rope and cannot tolerate anything in my life that will distract me from getting back to myself.

It also enabled me to say no. To set some boundaries.

I have no words of advice. Those situations really fucking suck, but they do provide a perspective that cannot be ignored and in many ways forces a change in path.

So I leave you with this quote by Ruby Dhal:

“Be brave enough to be alone.

By alone, I mean only depending on yourself for your happiness and your comfort. I mean dreaming of a future where your goals rely on you, and only you, to achieve them.

By alone, I mean strolling down a beach with the sand between your feet and hugging yourself as the wind brushes your bare arms. I mean taking yourself on a date to your favorite cafe with a book, a coffee, and yourself for company and watching the sun rise and fall back down again, feeling nothing but comfort in that moment.

By alone, I mean listening to your own thoughts, being your best friend, and cherishing the solitude that you find yourself in. I mean being okay with not having a partner and still feeling loved. I mean being comfortable in the presence of those that do. I mean being happy when those you grew up with fold themselves in the arms of relationships, jobs, children, and new countries while you are on a journey to find whom you truly are.

Be brave enough to love yourself.

By love, I mean wrapping strength around your wrists as you bunch your hands into tight fists for anyone who dares to treat you badly and letting your heart rest inside your chest rather than carrying it on your sleeve for people who will never see it for what it is worth.

I mean loving yourself enough to walk away, enough to say when you have endured too much, enough to smile at your reflection in the mirror when life feels grim, enough to put yourself first and not let anyone take you for granted.

By love, I mean hugging yourself when you feel empty, pouring all the tenderness that you give to others inside yourself, where it belongs. I mean given and giving to your heart until you fill your empty bucket with enough love to last you a lifetime. I mean cherishing your soul, comforting yourself, and never letting yourself go astray again.

Be brave enough to become the right person for yourself.

Because if you are brave enough to do what is right for your heart, then promising you, you will never feel lonely when you are alone.” ❤ ❤

Image by kordula vahle from Pixabay

Day 59: A Prelude to Happiness

I think there is something that happens when you grow up in an environment where you are not loved in a way that you need to be loved. I think you don’t learn what love is supposed to be and when the only thing you know is fear and insecurity you adapt and figure out how to live there quite successfully. When you have adapted to any situation it starts to feel normal. Then, at some point in your 30s you realize you want to know what happiness feels like.

It seems like it should be an easy thing to do, find things that make you happy and then embrace it.

For me, that is not my experience. I could find things that made me happy for a split second, but it was as if there was something preventing that feeling from traveling to my heart. I knew I was happy in those moments but I didn’t FEEL happy.

Then I learned about love. I learned that love can be the most overwhelmingly beautiful experience and also one of the darkest parts of living. Love can heal and destroy. I thought true love would be this nirvana, and I still think it can be, but I think that real love comes in layers. Once there are enough layers of experience and disagreements and sticking around love settles in for the long haul. This to me is true love. Love that stays.

My love experience has been a rocky one the last few months. I have no clue where my future will end up, what man I will end up with, if I will even find a partner. But I do know that I am loved, very very deeply. When that love isn’t around I feel really sad.

I used to think that the depth of anguish I felt was in direct proportion to how much I loved someone. It turns out that depth of pain is really a reflection of how strong I am and how much I can handle. In an effort to feel something, sometimes I will amplify that pain to the point of near breaking. It expands that boundary of what I am capable of feeling. I am really well versed in expanding the pain and it is and has been, where I have lived for many many years.

This morning for a second I felt a glimmer of happiness in my heart and I immediately squashed it. Didn’t I remember I was supposed to be mourning the loss of Mr. X in my life (in the capacity I wanted him anyways)? The feeling came again for a second and again I thought, aren’t I supposed to be sad?

What is the prelude to happiness? For me, it was giving myself permission to feel happy.

I was driving down the road repeating to myself, “It’s okay to be happy. ” It is okay to be happy in the middle of sadness. That pain isn’t gone, it just released and moved around a little. It is okay to experience happiness even though your heart is breaking. It is okay to feel happiness during mourning.

After repeating these things a few times, the guilt started to dissipate. I remembered that another thing love is to me is wanting the person you love to be happy, whatever that looks like. In that moment I knew that Mr. X would be happy that I was happy. Happy that I was smiling in spite of the pain, happy that I was moving forward without him.

So I chose to smile, to sing a little in my car, to embrace the feeling and let it plant a seed in my heart. The next time it comes to bloom I will welcome it with arms open a little wider. ❤ ❤

Day 55: The Fear of Not Belonging

I think, at a core level, all of us have a fear of not belonging.

It makes complete biological sense. In ancient civilizations being an outcast meant certain death. Even in modern times we see this play out with the LBGTQ community and various other “factions.” As a society we are becoming more accepting overall with pockets of increased polarization. The more people express their differences, the more often they tend to find people with the same qualities or interests and a tribe can be formed.

And then there are the people like me who aren’t exceedingly “different” by traditional standards but have never fit in. As a young child I remember thinking that I didn’t have a family and certainly didn’t belong in the one that I was dropped into. I remember longing for someone to come tell me that I was adopted because I felt so different. I was not one of those people who made themselves fit in socially, I am far too introverted for that and so easily exhausted around “faking” things and groups of people. What I did to fit in was learn to read people, anticipate needs and give them everything that I could so that, maybe, they would reciprocate love. I wanted so badly to feel like I belonged… somewhere. Belonging to me equaled love.

I learned really quickly how to show up, for men mostly. I knew their fears, their insecurities and how to make them feel loved. That’s the thing about me, I love masculine energy. I think it is so often squashed in our society. I think a lot of times men are confused on how to act and what to say and think and feel. We all want to feel powerful and I meet few men who truly feel that in themselves. I see that energy and that power and that capacity and I love to help bring that out. And I am pretty good at it. It has gotten to a point in my life though where it is almost second nature. This isn’t a bad thing, except that I often point my energy into situations where men are feeling particularly vulnerable or unappreciated and this takes a fair amount of energy for me to do. Sometimes I pull from my reserves to help boost them, often times I don’t even realize I am doing it. As I write this it makes me wonder if my boosting them up leaves me hoping they will be the knight in shining armor that I am looking for who will save me from this world and show me a place where I feel loved.

What I have failed to do in this life though, is show up for myself. I am always saving someone. People are drawn to me, they like to be vulnerable, tell me their story, lean in for support, and while I think, ultimately, that is my gift in this world, I have depleted myself so much in unhealthy ways that I cannot even find the capacity to show up like I need to. I have completely neglected showing up for me. I have traded myself for the hope that I would fit in somewhere, with someone.

I did this with Mr. X. I’m having a really tough go of the emotional processing today.

I have heard this from many men “I didn’t ask you to do all of that for me.” It is usually followed by “I don’t need your support, I don’t need anyone.” To hear those words coming from the mouth of Mr. X was heart wrenching. He is different and elevated in so many ways, but those lines, those I have heard before. It isn’t untrue. These men don’t ask for me to do things for them, but they do love how it feels and keep coming back for more. And it is also true that once they are boosted they don’t need my support, but hearing how that is said to me, I immediately translate that to “I don’t want you anymore, you’re not worthy of being in my life.” Then I take that in, I place it in my heart, I go back through all of the conversations and scenarios and I sweep up all of the blame for myself. I play the martyr card and the victim card in the hopes that they will grab the knight card and play it one last time. I am still waiting for someone to save me. When what I really need is to save myself. I need to stop waiting to fit in and just own my weirdo place in this world. I need to accept that I have something to offer that other people don’t. I have to realize that I am special and I don’t need HUGE dramatic acts of sacrifice from other people on my behalf to see what is special about me. These interactions, while well-intentioned most of the time, are toxic and do not allow a person’s real power to be expressed. I do it to the men in my life, they do it to me. It is a spin cycle. I find men that need healing and need to feel like a hero then I allow myself to be the victim. It’s toxic and dysfunctional. Things with Mr. X were not far off that script. The difference lies in the fact that he took less than he could have,he is making room for me in his life and he always supports me in my growth even if it means he gets hurt in the process. For me the difference is that I am trying not to walk away from a love that isn’t showing up like I want it to. I am really good at walking. We are both encouraging the other to be better. We both love each other deeply. And we will figure out a way to exist together. This is not always pretty and it certainly isn’t easy. Sometimes it means really strict, difficult to swallow boundaries and a trust that I am not sure I am even capable of having.

It feels incredibly scary to think that I have lost him. With him, I belong. I feel like I am home. I feel… entitled to him because of how we show up for each other. But the truth is, I am not entitled to anything, any more than he is entitled to any part of me. We are our own people. We belong to ourselves individually. We show up for us. We answer to ourselves. We do things by our own code of ethics. Mr. X is fabulous at showing up for him. He does so brutally at times. Me, I am still learning. I have to remind myself that I haven’t lost him. I just have to adjust my expectations of our relationship. I do this repeatedly on a loop, second after second. I am still waiting for it to sink in enough that it feels true. The empowering and also shit thing is that it is really up to me. I know he will be there. I know he wants me in his life. It is all up to me to get over my shit that decides whether I lose him or whether I gain a friend. It is a battle royale between head and heart right now.

I spend a lot of nights looking up at the stars. Sometimes I drop into a meditative state and travel around the galaxy. When I come back to earth I always think to myself, I can’t wait to be home.

The thing is though, everything on this earth is made of the same energy. “Going home” simply means being devoured back into the eternal soup that creates all life on this earth. It means that we lose the separation from that soup that allows us to experience this human life. If we are brave enough to look around we can see that we are connected to everything and everyone. We are all from the same blueprint. Logically I know this, even viscerally I know this, but it doesn’t take away from the deep well of isolation that I feel. To be connected to someone, to feel their heart beating next to yours, to feel their gentle breath on the back of your neck, this… this is bliss to me. This is home. This is belonging.

The tricky thing is that one has to belong to themselves first before they can fully relax and enjoy the fruits of belonging with another. ❤ ❤

Image by Patricia Alexandre from Pixabay

Day 54: Letting Go

Two simple words. Let. Go. Open your hands, your heart, your mind and let the energy flow. In and out, up and down. Letting go means not trying to dictate scenarios. It means trusting that things will work out. It means setting something down and walking away knowing that you gave it the right amount of soil and water and sun needed for growth.

Letting go can be really fucking hard. The more you want it, the more elusive it will be. The more you resist the pain and anger and energy, the more it will hold on. One has only to step back, create some space from the thoughts and emotions and let them be. Process them in the time that it takes, and only then will there be freedom.

Nature is amazing at letting go. A tree blooms in summer’s glory and as fall approaches and the leaves wither and die they are released easily into the wind. The tree goes dormant for the winter all the while preparing itself for the next cycle. We, as humans, struggle so much with the expiration, the detachment, the trusting that life will restore itself.

Letting go can be very, very scary. Especially when talking about a relationship or another person. It requires trusting that there is enough soil there for the flower to bloom again. It is trusting that that person loves you enough to come back, because words are just meaningless capsules filled in with context. Letting go requires walking into an abyss where steps are not lit and there’s no way to know what lies at your feet. Letting go means trusting that there is something worthwhile once you have traversed the darkness of the unknown.

It doesn’t seem like it should be hard to let go. Everything that has happened in my life, the things I have let go of, have all worked out. I haven’t regretted those decisions and the people that were meant to be in my life are in it. All of the lessons learned have brought me to the place I am today which is an elevation from where I started so there has been a continual upward trend. Letting go of the one person who opened your heart, who showed you it was okay to just be you, who loved you with all he was capable at the time, that… that is not easy.

But…. the situation is out of my control. Playing back all of the past conversations does me no good and only serves to confuse my heart and my mind even more. Letting go is releasing what you hoped so hard that the outcome would be. It is creating space for a new beginning.

Letting go can’t be rushed, and the words alone aren’t enough. One has to actually feel as though they have let go before the space can be created for something else.

Letting go means choosing perspectives that are beneficial to us. It means accepting that things won’t always work out as desired but knowing that they will work out. Letting go means processing energy and not letting it stagnate. It means ending the cycle of wishing and wanting and just learning to accept what is. Letting go is forgiving all parties, including yourself and wrapping yourself in so much love that there is no choice but to be okay and keep moving.

What does this all mean in practical steps?

Letting go is moving your body. It’s journaling or crying or boxing or running. It’s sitting with you and allowing your thoughts to come and correcting the ones that are trying to tell you your self worth is tied to that person or that situation. It means accepting that you alone are enough. It means taking care of yourself and gently ushering yourself through the stages of grief. It is remembering all of the good and putting that love in your heart for later use. Letting go means to keep moving, especially when all you want to do is curl up in the dirt and hibernate for the rest of eternity. Letting go is knowing that every storm runs out of rain. Letting go is focusing on the moment you are in, and then the next and then the next, even if it is just a second at a time. It is staying present when you want to run back to the past. It is being in your body and mind and loving all of you. It means knowing you showed up the best that you knew how and now that you know better you can show up differently.

Letting go means walking away and knowing the flower will bloom if it is meant to. ❤ ❤

Image by Wow Phochiangrak from Pixabay