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.

Six Years Later

toa-heftiba-274947A few months ago I was talking with a friend and a question came up… if you were given the opportunity to make something right or tell someone something and it was the last time you were able to do that, who would you choose and what would you say? I didn’t have the answer then. I think I chose something that would have been nice but I don’t think it was the real honest answer. So, because I’m not a verbal processor and I’m a writer, I’m going to share this answer with you & the universe.

To be honest, I think we all have that one thing we wish we would have said, that one apology, I love you and I’m really glad your in my life kind of thing. The following is a short and concise version of that for me. These are words that are actually too late to say but nevertheless they are true.

So here is my very real, honest and vulnerable apology love letter.

___________,

Sorry it’s taken so long. I’m not great with relationships. You know that all too well. It’s been a very long time. My fault of course. I cut you out of my life entirely. I do that and I am sorry. But the truth is I miss you. It use to be every couple of minutes, then every hour, then every few weeks, then every month and now every few months I think about you. The less and less I think about you the more it makes me kind of sad. Sad that would have, should have moments exist in our lives. Sad because it was of my own making. But,  it’s very easy to romanticize the past. It’s simple to reminisce about rose colored glass versions of people. I have a very real and rosy version of you in my mind. But… that’s all kind of changed.

This year was really difficult in ways I could have never imagined. It made me question  a lot of different things I thought to be true. One of those things was love. Once upon a time I thought I loved you. You were my best friend. But, the timing was never right. The gumption was never there. And, even though I was young and not a fully formed adult, I knew that I was way too much for someone like you. You treated me with so much kindness and grace all the time. You cared about what I cared about. You wanted to get to know my crazy family. You supported me in ways a lot of people didn’t. And… at the end of the day, you were there. You were there when I needed someone. Until… you weren’t.

The reason I could never tell you I loved you was because I wasn’t sure it was true. There were things I loved about you, but other things I really really didn’t. You were passive. You weren’t ambitious. Your number one priority was to get married and mine wasn’t.  And, most of all, you never fought for me. That’s the hard part. No one does. I leave. It’s what I do when things get hard. But, it’s not always what I want. I expected more.

I’ve learned a lot about love since then. There’s many different types. The fact that you can love people in different seasons of your life. And, when you want a person, you don’t get to choose which part, you take the whole thing and hope that all the good outweighs the bad. You also don’t get to choose when a person enters or leaves your life. I’m learning to embrace my seasons with people.

I use to think our timing was just a bit off. If I had met you later in life I would’ve been ready. Truth is, I’m not the same person. You’re not the same person. And, at the end of the day I cared about you in the right season of my life. I’m sorry it wasn’t enough. I’m sorry that I left and that I wasn’t a better friend. I’m sorry I broke your heart a little. I didn’t love you well. Love is a choice and it’s manifested through action. I didn’t choose you and I left. I chose me. My goals, ambitions and selfishness were my priorities.

Ours was the healthiest unhealthy relationship I’ve ever had. Complicated. Messy. I don’t do any of those things for very long you know. And I’m really good at cold cut endings. I’m sorry you were part of that. You were my best friend. Now you’re not.

Truth is, you don’t need my apology. You are happy. I know because you’ve found your person. You’ve made a life. A life you wanted, a life that you deserve. I’m happy that you are happy. This apology was really for me. Parts of me are still pretty selfish. I blamed you for all of it. I sowed a seed of bitterness towards you that made it super simple to walk away. But in all honest, I very much bare a lot of the blame.

So, one last I’m sorry and I’ll be done. I wish you well. Thank you for being the one who made me happy for a little while, for showing me what a good and decent man looks like and for treating me with kindness when I didn’t even know how to give that to myself. I’m glad we met. I’m glad you’re a forever piece of my story. Go, be happy.

with love,

Kate

People Watching

You know why airports are one of my favorite places on Earth? People watching galore, and the fact that it’s a cornucopia of places and cultures all at once headed to various destinations around the world. Everyone is going somewhere.

Being the loner that I am, I have always loved people watching. And the more you watch, the more you understand. The more understand, the more you become aware of why people do what they do. Subtle hints of why people share/exhibit certain emotions and actions. This is partially why I am borderline obsessed with personality tests. I find them fascinating. The reasons behind our actions and understanding them affords us the opportunity to evolve into the best versions of ourselves and to add value to those around us. Also, in less eloquent terms, if you’re really watching and listening, you have the opportunity to help make someone’s shitty day a little less shitty.

You pick up on certain subtle insecurities people have as well. It’s easy to write people off as shitty, but there’s almost always a deeper underlying reason for their behavior. It’s not always pretty but it’s almost always true. But… you’re right, some people are just shitty at the end of the day. I digress.

So, in my people watching obsession, I think a lot about a lot. I notice things. People are complex, sometimes complicated — most often not knowing what they want or where they’re going, just kickin’ it in the general monotony of time and space. I think you can learn a lot about yourself by observing others and you can really bring value into your life and in the lives of those you care about by putting some of what you observe into practice.

With that in mind, over the past few months I’ve been super interested in figuring out what people’s love languages are. Now, we all know that some of our love languages may not be on the list I’m about to provide…like my secondary love languages are definitely coffee and naps… but bare with me. Perhaps you’ll be able to associate with one or two and maybe learn to love your people/person a little better.

The idea of love languages has been circling around the self/relationship improvement community for over a decade. If I’m not mistaken it revolved around this book written by Gary Chapman, a well renowned relationship counselor. But, the premise is that it’s not about marriage it’s about relationships in general… all relationships. Try not to get too bogged down in the overused “love” part… this applies to how you give and receive affection of any kind in various capacities of your life.

The Five Different Love Languages*:

Gifts — It’s not a  love of materialism. This person loves the thoughtfulness behind receiving a gift of any kind. Missed birthdays and lack of thought put into special days is particularly devastating for a person whose primary love language is receiving gifts.

Service — This person feels loved and cared for when you go out of your way to help them in some capacity. Help around the house, cooking dinner, putting together a piece of furniture are all examples of acts of service. This person would feel particularly unloved by laziness or apathy towards their requests or hints for help.

Physical Touch — This person likes to be in the presence of people. A hug, pats on the shoulder, holding hands, kissing or even sex are all ways in which this person feels loved and valued. For this person, lack of desire or neglect can be particularly devastating.

Words of Affirmation — For this person, words are equated with actions. This person not only needs to be shown they are loved and valued, they need to hear it. Being told they are of value to you or they are doing a good job are ways in which this person might receive affection. Compliments are also well received by this love language. Silence and lack of communication would devastate someone who needs words of affirmation.

Quality Time — This person likes to receive undivided attention. They love one on one time with their people. What would devastate this person is routinely canceled dates, exhausted use of busyness and not listening or being present when you are actually with them.

The idea is a  little cheesy but makes a lot of sense. Read a brief plug *here.

I found this particularly interesting when I looked at it under the microscope of my friend. A few years ago she was having a rough go at her marriage. She would routinely speak with me about how she didn’t know if she and her husband would survive the separation of a move to different states. She talked about how she felt unloved and unwanted and womp womp… how they weren’t having sex, like ever. More conversations and months went by (…and yes, I know way too much about their intimate life) and her whole demeanor would change if they had had sex. Then they were able to live together again. Things were grand. Two things about this should be abundantly clear: my friend’s primary love languages are physical touch and quality time, lack of both by either party was devastating to their relationship. But, by acknowledging that this is something she needed/wanted allowed her to ask for it and save their relationship.

Not just with romantic relationships. I know a plenty of people who need words of affirmation and quality time but had absentee parents growing up… that equates to a devastating feeling of being unloved and unwanted. Both feelings which perpetuate bad behavior in their relationships well into adulthood.

So what are my love languages, glad you asked…

My primary love language is words of affirmation, it ranks astoundingly higher than any other of my love languages combined. Which is strange because I’ve never been good at receiving compliments or anything of the sort, but it makes sense. I have a fondness for truth and words. I have an intense need to feel valued and appreciated. That’s why my main giving love language is acts of service and quality time. I’m keen on seeing what people need a filling the gap.

My Ranked receiving : words of affirmation, quality time, physical affection, service and then gifts

My Ranked giving: acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, gifts and physical affection

I think the most important thing we can learn here is that people give and receive affection differently. They are flexible. You may need love in one way from your family and in another from a partner or friend. And the love language you may be putting out there might not be received by the person you’re giving it to.

Understanding where both needs should be met enables us to build better relationships while ensuring that there is no disparity on behalf of either party. I think we can all use a little help in learning to be a little less selfish and how to love others well.

Not only others, but ourselves too. Knowing how you receive affection will enable you to ask for what you want and practice a greater capacity of self-care. And realize that once you figure these things out, some people don’t have the capacity to give you what you need. In that moment of disparity, you then have the obligation to yourself to move on to someone who can. Never settle for less than you deserve. Love yourself well. Love others well. Be kind.

The road between hate & life

It was brutal how early I woke up this morning to get into the (Pilates) studio. I (assistant) taught then took a level 2 and now as my arms are a little shaky, I’m writing to you. A lot is going through my mind at the moment, advanced apologies if it seems convoluted.

As I was checking through social media and just mindlessly scrolling, my mind just centered on one thing…Vegas.

We can all agree that the shooting in Vegas was abhorrent. A depiction of the very lowest of humanity. Evil. Cowardly. And the questions that linger… how many times do we have to go through this? Why/how does this happen? What should our response be?

A few of my friends have mentioned they have friends who’ve been affected by this tragedy, one had a friend she knew of that was a victim. She didn’t make it. At a loss for words verbally for how I feel or how I think we should lament on the past couple of days, I’ve decided to write down a few thoughts.

This collection of thoughts can be summed up in a single sentence: In a world where hate is thriving, be a person who lives a life of purpose, value and love.

We’re shown a world full of terrible, no good, very bad things every minute of everyday. Our response can be a choice to make this statement a priority.

We make a million tiny little/big decisions every single day that either mold us into the best version of ourselves or the worst. Humanity at it’s worst doesn’t happen overnight, it’s the culmination of a million tiny little bad/selfish/hateful decisions.

We can do better than this.

On Purpose — Be so resolute about intentionality. We have so little time. Stop wasting it on things that don’t matter, people who don’t deserve it and monotony that’s slowly killing your dreams and desires. Live life on purpose. Daily. Wholeheartedly. Give yourself the freedom to pivot when it makes sense.

On Value — Purpose and value are sort of synonymous. Purpose is the intent of doing and value is the result of doing. Nothing lacks value. It either adds or takes away. Be ever aware of what/who adds value in your life and what you’re adding value to.

On Love — Love is a term so overused and undervalued. It’s just a word that we use as fluff in everyday vernacular. Instead, be more intentional about the act of love. The choice of love. Kindness you can give away freely, but love… that one I feel we can be a little more selfish about.

Love yourself more. Believe all the good things about yourself. When we are full, happy and filled with joy and purpose we add value to those around us. Empty people don’t fill others, unhappy people don’t make people happy. Therefore, loving yourself and making you a priority is not a selfish endeavor, it’s a necessity. And, stop wasting your time accepting all the worst things about yourself. So what, you have bad qualities, do better… evolve. Become the very best version of yourself, you deserve to live that life.

Love others well. Tell them you love them, show them you love them and accept their love. Even when it’s hard. And, the thing that I am so so so incredibly bad at, believe people when they tell/show you how they feel. When people like you, care about you, love you… just accept it. Sometimes I even vocalize it if I don’t believe it, “[so and so] really likes/loves me.” I need to start believing those things too. We need to stop overcomplicating human emotions.

So there you have it, three thoughts on how we move forward. As someone who thinks entirely too much about everything and has a tendency to over verbalize and give unsolicited advice, I’m giving most of this advice to myself. I am so incredibly lucky. Lucky to even have the luxury of being as ridiculous and dark and twisty as I am, feeling anxiety about superficial things is a freakin’ breeze compared to the alternative. So incredibly lucky to be able to get up in a new-to-me house, adorable puppy at my feet, and get up SUPER early for Pilates. I’ve seen things and done things this year I’ve only ever dreamed about, I just did the things. Lucky. So incredibly and unfathomably lucky. And, I don’t ever really appreciate that. I should start doing that.

So, what is my own response? I just want to be more intentionally kind, not nice, actually kind. I want to continue to be obsessive about happiness, mine and others around me. I want to love wholeheartedly and without fear. I want to stop letting fear have a foothold in my life. This means stop putting things off that would make me incredibly sad if I never did them… i.e. write that blasted book! Spend my time more wisely and intentionally, not just be “busy.” Be less selfish. And just allow myself to breath and not spend life moments wasted on debilitating emotions. Laugh more. Give more.

I just challenge you to do the same. In moments of tragedy, where we can’t really do much of anything for those affected, what can your response be? How can we fill the world with a little more light again?

Thank you for reading my nonsense, and sticking around the way that you do. I can’t believe it, but thank you abundantly for spending a little time with me. I hope you find your best life. And, I hope it makes you happy. We need more happy in the world.