I Showered Today

Those with mental illness have always said that when you have depression or crippling anxiety, sometimes the smallest tasks seem unbearable. I am one of those and today this is how I feel. But, I’m still here. For now.

I Showered Today

I showered today

And, To you it may seem small.

But I got up, I got out of bed when I didn’t have to. I got out of bed.

I got out of bed.

I say I got out of bed because that’s the only place I’ve been. My sanctuary. My home.

I don’t want to leave my home.

But I got out of bed.

One foot in front of the other, I twisted the knob and opened the door. One step, two steps, three steps… there.

I made it.

Can I go back to bed. No.

I grab a towel and set it aside. Good intentions aren’t good enough.

I undress. I’m naked in front of the mirror. I pause, scrutinizing every bruise, every flaw.

The deepest ones you can’t see, they grow inside around my organs. My heart, my lungs, my stomach. Hard to breathe. Hard to eat. Hard to beat.

Hard to sleep.

I step inside. The warmth touches my skin. And as it cleanses my body it cleanses my soul, I sob.

Sobbing. I remember I am whole.

Whole without people, places or things. Whole on my own without a single ring. Possibilities vanish down the drain.

I’m still whole. Maybe sad. Maybe unwell. The thorns loosen.

I return to my bed.

I showered today.

Awake

The following is a recent spoken word I wrote about unresolved conflict in my life. Read it in the cadence you wish. Thank you for taking the time.

AWAKE

Four days since dreaming of worms

They poured out of my hand like they made it a home and now they had to go.

Foreboding. People of ill repute will now leave. That’s what the book says. I come to it with my dreams, hopefully learning what all of this means.

People will leave. This time in droves.

But, it’s good right? An emotional, a people cleanse.

I lie awake. I think about the worms.

My time is a waterfall.

Rushing , a loud, enormous presence. It demands attention.

My sanity is fading. Parts of me disappearing.

I look at the clock. The hours pass, one, then two, then three and so on.

No sounds exist, no people.

Just me. My thoughts.

And the worms.

They are there. Flowing out of me like secrets.

Secrets. I never tell them. They don’t exist.

You don’t exist. I don’t exist.

I am awake.

2 o’clock. Almost on the dot. I am awake.

Every moment there. I lay awake.

I am alone.

Trying anything, everything to catch sleep.

I swell with another bottle of wine, daydreams of another man’s bed, just to pass the time.

Fighting the urge to swipe left and right. Keeping my options open so I just might

Feel something else. Dream something, someone, somewhere else.

Brief peace seems to sneak sleep.

2 o’clock returns. And the worms.

I am awake.

On love and fear

Current status: body brought to you by cheese. Can I get an amen from all my comfort eaters out there? Most recently it was because I was on my cycle and I feel like I need to comfort my dilapidated uterus with food, but after that upheaval is over the cheese cravings still remain.

I wanted to finish my latest series on love with this post: on love and fear.

I’m an emotional eater. When I notice my eating patterns changing I have to step back and reassess some of the mindless emotional decisions I’ve been making. Needless to say, it’s happened recently. So what emotions am I leaning into a lot lately? Love and fear. Because, don’t the two always kinda go hand in hand? Let’s dig a little deeper.

I think love is one of those universal concepts everyone wants to experience. It is both a feeling and an action. It’s both tactical and abstract. It’s the anomaly of feelings. And, there happens to be several different types of love. From platonic to deep romantic in love love. It’s a scale.

The antithesis of love some might say is hate. That’s not incorrect. But, I believe it to also be fear. Fear keeps us from bravely leaning into love. Fear keeps us from action. Fear tells us we are both too much and never enough. Fear imbeds in us the deepest of all insecurities… we’re not worthy of love.

I’m not a very insecure person anymore when it comes to certain things. I don’t mind being naked. It doesn’t bother me to speak in front of crowds. I’m not afraid of talking to strangers or trying new things or dancing in public or looking silly in really any way. But, for as much as those insecurities don’t exist, some very real ones still do.

I was at lunch with a few friends today and while we were chatting someone asked me why I think so and so acted a specific way. I responded with my opinion that he’s insecure. And then, the quietest and eldest one of the group calmly chimed in, “aren’t we all insecure?” Boom. Yeah, yes we are. And while I can talk about insecurities for a whole separate post… I’ll just say they are the bastard child of fear and vanity.

As I drove home I began to think about the past couple of months and how both my relationships and my life have changed. Drastically. And where change is, fear closely follows.

I love aspects of my new job and concurrently my new life, but I also fear I won’t be able to keep up this hectic schedule much longer. I fear I won’t be able to teach certain classes well, or worse, injure someone because I’m bad at it. Or, with all this cheesy laziness I’ll start to look less like a Pilates instructor and more like an Oompah Loompa and they’ll know I’m a fraud. Not doing things well… that’s an underlying insecurity that keeps me up at night.

Rounding third and heading home… why you’re here. Love and fear. My relationships have been a disaster lately. The romantic ones come down to one main folly…fear. It motivates me to be an idiot. And, sadly, the more I love you the more of an idiot I’m going to be. I’ll be insecure. I’ll start to second guess everything about our relationship. And then, I’ll start to make things up in my head and believe them to be true. All of this is because of fear. Especially when it comes to dating.

This week I decided to lean into the fear instead of running from it. To figure out the main issue and what it is that I’m really afraid of. One of those things being that the deep feeling of loneliness that I’ve had looming over me the past few months will never go away. I’d been filling my time with dates or new friendships that I don’t really have any investment in. And, none of those things really affected the loneliness at all, instead I just ended up wasting time with nice guys that’ll be nothing more than just nice guys. Fear that I’m not able to like anyone else because I already love someone. Fear that I don’t know what that looks like, don’t know if he feels the same, perhaps he’s just wasting time with me to feel less lonely. Fear I’m his nice girl. Fear that no one really ever loves anyone. Fear of running out of things to say. Fear of saying too much. Fear of being too much, just the way I am. Fear of being alone. Alone.

So what’s a girl to do? I started by deleting all my dating apps. All three of them… no judgment. I politely declined the invitations of dudes both new and old this week to go out. (Especially after one particularly scary first date we’ll get to another time! ) And that’ll continue, I’m trying to be more greedy with my time. It’s valuable… because I’m valuable. I think I lost that part of myself. It’s back now. I have very high self worth but it doesn’t mean fear doesn’t compromise that every once in a while.

I’ll also continue to lean into fear. What’s the worst that could happen? You’re never completely alone I tell myself, you have great friends. So what if your vision for your life doesn’t come to fruition, maybe that just means a better story is being written. If someone doesn’t love you the way you love them, that’s okay. Perhaps they just can’t. Perhaps they needed you more than you need them. Unrequited love is not going to kill you. And, it always makes for a great story. Silver linings. You are enough. I am enough. Fill your life with things and people that bring you joy and make your life full. But, don’t neglect the fact that without things and people you are not incomplete. They don’t fulfill us. We are complete on our own. They compliment our lives, make them full and bring us joy.

I hope you have found some value in my ramblings. That you’ll lean into fear and be brave. That you’ll love harder and stronger and with fear but that that fear will be the idea of losing out on something great because you didn’t try. I hope you try. Take chances. And, if it doesn’t work, you’ll leave having loved hard and fearlessly.

That’s my hope for all of us. Love well, the best you can, while you can. None of us are getting out of here alive.

On soulmates

This month I wanted to write about love. Honestly it’s a topic that’s come up rather frequently in the past couple of months. I really decided on this series when I had a chat with my friend. She’s been married for like ten years and when I asked her how she knew she was in love, she said she didn’t know if she’s ever truly been in love.

So I continued to ask questions. How did you/do you know that you’re in love? Is it a feeling that you’ve met “the one”? Is the one out there? Do we all have a soulmate? I need answers. So I sought them.

There is an overwhelming majority that believes in the existence of soulmates. Some even went as far to say they knew for a fact God existed because they were brought together with their soulmate. Many argued that their relationship was easy from day one, so obviously they’re destined. That was just the commentary in favor on my Facebook. Online there’s a whole heap of literature arguing for the existence of soulmates.

Some say soulmates exist in two different forms: romantic partners and platonic friends. The actual definition regards a soulmate as someone ideally suited for another as a close friend or partner. One of my friends believes our souls are little pieces scattered everywhere and those pieces live in other people and when we meet them we feel instantly connected because they hold a piece of us.

One of my friends thinks that soulmates exist because, science. But, this same friend also thinks we’re destined to never find our soulmates because it’s mathematically improbable. Bleak.

I’m not going to dismiss people’s hopeful ideals of love, but I will say that I don’t believe they exist. I believe love is a spectrum and the choice is ours how far we’ll place someone on that spectrum. Love is a feeling but also a choice and an action. The idea of soulmates often negates the idea that love is action.

I was watching a Netflix movie today. The whole premise of the movie was this guy going back in time to alter his relationship with his friend he has a crush on. Regardless of what he did he’d wake up three years later to find his life altered and her to be with the same guy she’s in love with from the beginning. By the end he realizes they were never meant to be but that the whole time it was actually her best friend he was in love with. Point of that movie might be that her soulmate was first guy and their destiny was to find each other. I think the point is that sometimes we’re so busy chasing a feeling that we ignore what is good for us and is almost always already present in our lives. We ignore the reality to chase the fantasy.

So, no I don’t believe soulmates exist. I think you have to put real work in. I think that we meet people of significance in our lives and we immediately know it. Time will tell whether that significance is good or bad and that feeling doesn’t negate the fact there will be work.

I’ve always been keen to significance in my life. I almost always know immediately whether someone will be important to me. This feeling has been the mark of several very important friendships and a couple of romantic relationships. And just because someone is significant doesn’t mean they’re going to around forever.

All of my significant romantic relationships have been the result of this “feeling” in the beginning. But, ultimately if that person doesn’t choose me back, if they hurt me, if they neglect me, if they treat me like I’m nothing… not a feeling in the world will make me stick around for that. And ,that’s the problem with soulmates too. People are afraid to leave. They’re willing to put up with mediocrity because of the sham that they’ve met their soulmate.

Relationships are hard. People are hard. But, people are worth loving and it sucks to be lonely!

I’m in favor of special people in our lives. I think we should love hard and fiercely and without fear. We shouldn’t be afraid to tell people how we feel about them. We should show them through action and not just words. Love people who love you, without fear, without hurt, without excuse. Those are your soulmates.

Sad isn’t bad

Today I feel sad.

Well, if we’re being completely honest, I’ve been sad for weeks. I’m just at capacity right now and having a hard time covering up my sad. 

I’m an advocate for feelings. Feel the way you feel. All feelings have their place. Sad doesn’t equal bad. 

So… today I’m sad. I’m depleted. Tired. At capacity. I don’t feel like I’m doing a great job at any of my one million jobs. I don’t feel like my relationships are going well. I’m constantly failing at being a good pup mom to Fitz. Literally failing hard at adulting. Failing everything, that’s how I feel. And while all feelings are valid, not all feelings are true. 

So, current life status is me weeding through the overwhelm of it all and figuring out what is true. 

Today my truth is that I’m sad. 

Today everything sucks, but it’s fine.

If you hear nothing else, hear that it’s okay to feel. It’s okay that you feel sad. It’s okay to feel angry. It’s okay to feel anxious. Etc. Etc. Etc. 

Feel all the things. Don’t let it consume you. Today I feel sad. 
But shit, at least I’m trying.

Solitude

Currently I’m sitting in one of my favorite fast casual dining spots in my city. I’ve been here numerous times on dates and with friends. I’m not normally a creature of habit when it comes to ordering, but here I am. I almost always get the salmon ceasar salad, because it’s delicious and because I hate catfish. I’ll keep it fresh by ordering a beer, black beans or sweet potato fries if I’m feeling particularly adventurous. 

Today I sit alone. Today I enjoy my solitude.

I don’t know why but people treat lone eaters as sad. While I’m a relatively sad person in general, I’m not sad because I eat alone and I’m not alone because I’m sad. When did solitude become such a burden. Why do we view this as less than?

My goal for February is to write a series of blogs on love and relationships. I’ve been scouring my Facebook for fodder. But, before we even get started, I wanted to write on solitude. I really think that before we can be with anyone, we’ve got to be okay with being alone with ourselves. If you can’t love yourself and take care of yourself, how can you expect anyone to know how to love or take care of you.

I’ve been alone most of my life so I’m very comfortable in my solitude. Being with people is very hard. Humans are hard ,so relationships are hard. It’s easy to be alone, but it’s not growing. And while the solitude offers many benefits, there are a lot of perks to being with people. 

So, before we dig deep into a series on love and relationships, I wanted to highlight all the things I know to be true about solitude and being alone. This is, after all, my area of expertise. 

Being alone and being lonely don’t always go hand in hand. I know numerous people who are surrounded by people almost always. They have significant others, an overflowing friend group and some even have kids. Yet, even still, they remain some of the most lonesome people I know. So, loneliness doesn’t always equate to being alone. I am sometimes my loneliest admidst a room full of people. The flip side of that is that being alone doesn’t always equal being lonely. Today I spent almost my entire afternoon alone. I took myself out for a meal, a movie, coffee & cupcakes and even shopped for a few things. I might have been alone but I didn’t feel lonely. I was doing things I enjoy, on my own time and it was nice not to have to factor in another human. I sometimes get “peopled out” and I need time and space to recharge.

Being alone is better than bad relationships. I really try in relationships. Sometimes way too much. A nurturer by nature, I often give more than I receive. And, I do this until I just have to tap out. I’m learning it’s better to be alone than spend your energy and time on people who don’t value it. This goes for both friendships and romantic relationships. A friend of mine recently said, “I do a lot. So I value time with myself over almost anything. If you’re getting my time it means that I’m giving up that greatly valued personal time. Don’t waste it and understand it’s fucking valuable. I have to like you more than I like my own time.” The greatest thing we can give people is our time. Don’t waste it on those who don’t value or deserve it. Sometimes that means reassessing our relationships and understanding that even though we care or love a person, they’re just bad for us. If you don’t add value, I’m going to have to let you go.

Being alone helps you be with someone else. I’be been alone the better part of my  adult life. I’m good at it. I find joy in solitude. Mostly. Being alone has taught me what I want, don’t want, what I need and what I don’t need. 

I went on a date a couple of weeks ago. This guy was a total dreamboat. He was 6’7 , successful, muscular, smart, a gentleman , charming, funny and really nice. He even called me on the phone after our date so he could hear my voice and ask me out again. Perfect on paper and yet I politely declined another date. The problem was, his ambitions didn’t really line up with my ambitions. What he valued didn’t exactly line up with what I valued. All he could talk about was arranging his life around having season basketball tickets and buying new things . He wanted to do all these things but yet worked a job he hated just to keep up a lavish lifestyle. I’m not judging that, I’m just saying stuff is not what I value. Living in a small town near the city I grew up in, raising a bunch of kids and getting comfortable in monotony so we can live surrounded by stuff, that’s not going to be my life. Good for him, not for me. And, while twenty year old me would’ve been tempted to marry Mr. Perfect on Paper, 28 year old me knows she’s better off alone. It’s better to be alone and happy than with someone and miserable. It’s so easy to let someone else steal your possibilities. 

People don’t need people. People want people. And when you’re able to come to terms with the fact that loving someone is a choice and you make that choice constantly, it gives you the freedom to choose wisely. And, there’s nothing wrong with choosing solitude. You don’t need a person to complete you. You are a complete person on your own. Instead choose a partner who compliments you. Someone who can live alongside you and cheer you on as you do the same. Someone who adds value to your life and who cherishes time with you. 

Substance

Happy is the heart that still feels pain. Darkness drains and the light will come again. – Ingrid Michaelson

I pay attention to lyrics a lot, more so than a melody. I’m a writer, so naturally it makes sense that words matter to me. I’ve always liked Ingrid, but when I came across this lyric several weeks ago I felt like we were soul sisters, because this is exactly how I felt then and somewhat how I feel now.

If you haven’t gathered already from reading this blog, I’m a sensitive person. I feel a lot, not just of my emotions but others as well. Empathy, it’s one of my biggest strengths and weaknesses. I’m a Cancer, so apparently that makes a lot of sense. All I know is that I feel shit. And I feel it a lot and hard and all the fucking time.

There’s a fine line between being self aware and being narcissistic and honestly I’ve been teetering on the side of the latter the past several weeks. You may recall my post in October about this really terrible thing that happened to me, yeah well, it fucked up my capacity bucket. Let me explain.

So my therapist (Therapy is weird. You should totally try it. It helps you keep your friends when you’re crazy   experiencing a lot of feelings. I secretly like it. Don’t tell my therapist.) is a delightful person and also really smart and great with metaphors. A few weeks ago we were discussing post trauma type feelings that I’ve been having and most of them not having anything to do with the actual incident itself but rather things I haven’t dealt with for a very long time or well, ever. Insert the capacity bucket metaphor. The idea is that everyone has this metaphorical emotional feelings bucket and some people may have a small bucket, some a large one but regardless, everyone has one. Regardless of size or scope, that bucket has a capacity, it can only be so full before the overflow starts to happen. And, when the shit hits the fan and your bucket starts to overflow because you’re not dealing with your feelings…you don’t get to choose what comes out.

To make a long story a little less long, my capacity has been met and I’ve been dealing with a few things. One of the feelings being heartbreak…old and new. Hence the last post.  It’s easy for me to let people go by omitting them completely, pretending things didn’t happen, but somewhere down the road you have to deal with loss of any kind. And sometimes we have to mourn the living, the death of possibilities. Pain demands to be felt, and the mind prefers closure. Insecurity is another thing that’s surfaced. Who doesn’t have some sort of insecurity though, aimiright? I won’t go into the little details over my own insecurities, because they’re still mine and I’m dealing with them but I will say this… one of my main problems is thinking I am both too much and never enough for people. I have a problem seeking perfection. And, nothing is ever perfect so imagine my constant disappointment. (Half joking.)

The biggest feeling to surface though has to be loneliness. I’ve always been good at being alone. I make myself busy. I’m not someone who needs constant attention. I’m independent. But there’s a huge difference in being alone and being lonely.  And when you can’t  make yourself busy or you find yourself wanting people to be there when they aren’t or can’t be, loneliness can rear it’s ugly head. Loneliness is one of those feelings I hate because it demands another person to alleviate. I don’t like “needing” people. I don’t like states of vulnerability. But, sooner or later, it happens. And all the feelings, good and bad demand to be felt. They demand to be dealt with. It’s not good or bad it’s just true.

So here I am with these feelings and stupidly trying to shovel out my capacity bucket so I can function like a normal human instead of a wallowing mess of a person, until it hits me.

Perhaps once upon a time I was a wallowing mess of person, full of broken bits I didn’t know how to put back together. But I’m not that girl anymore. I dealt with those parts of me, and now I can choose to move forward and be this awesome badass of a woman everyone reminds me I am or I can regress back to a wallowing mess. There really is no happy medium here.

Don’t get me wrong, feel the way you feel…but then move on. I haven’t been moving on. I’ve been a wallowing mess of a person. So focused on the bad feelings that have come from the overflow that I forgot to be present in my own life. I haven’t been here. I haven’t been present. I’ve been asleep. It took a really good friend of mine to say, “What’s got you so upset about this situation?” to wake up. She refused to coddle me. She reminded me it could be a lot worse. Yeah, something I am painfully aware of. Thanks. But she was right. I am not dead. And as long as I have breath in my lungs and feeling in my bones, I need to be present in my own goddamn life.

People keep asking me what I want. What would make me happy? I think at this moment it’s fluid. Adulting is difficult and at almost 30 I’m still trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing. One of the things that doesn’t change though is this, I want to fill my life with warmth, light and love. I want people to take care of and people to take care of me. Not to be afraid of loving someone or needing people. I want to experience things, not just buy them. I want to see the world and I want to try everything that’s within reason. Stop saying no just because I’m scared. These are little big things I think would make me happy.

What does any of this have to do with you? I have some advice. (Shocker!) Deal with your feelings. Because, sooner or later you’ll have to. Wake the fuck up in your own life. The hourglass is glued to the table and the mortality rate is still 100%, so live your life. Live it as well as humanly possible.

Terrible things happen every single day. Chances are that the terrible thing that happened to me didn’t happen to you. Your story is your story. Don’t let the bad things or past mistakes keep your future from being bright. Glass half empty or half full? Lately there’s been no glass. But then I woke up, and reminded myself that the glass is there and it’s not half empty or half full… it’s refillable.

And, isn’t that better. It’s just a season. One of growth,change and uncertainty. Deal with the ginormous bucket of feelings and find out what you’re made of. You have substance, kid.

So, if you’re in a season of wallowing, remember this: Happy is the heart that still feels pain. The darkness will drain and the light will come again.