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.

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.

#28LessonsLearned

19956135_10208487594982105_1744054014444002276_o

Here I am, another year older and perhaps a smidge wiser. Hopefully. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you might have noticed that I did a series of posts tagged #28lessonslearned. Spoiler alert, I turned 28 at the end of that series. The goal was to eventually tie all of those into a blog post to culminate and further explain all the posts, but I decided against it. Instead, I’m writing this post to catch you guys up on my illustrious life. (exaggerating of course)

This past year I’ve grown leaps and bounds. I’ve put myself through the ringer. I made a promise early on to grow into experiences, not things. I became an aunt for the second time. I became a fur mom for the first time. I dated. I traveled. I wrote. I adventured. And, numerous other things that I’ve lived to tell about.

Amongst all of those things is the one where I learned to love myself. You’d note that in the #28lessonslearned I demonstrate that wholeheartedly. Learning to say no to myself was one of the biggest growing moments I dealt with last year. I had to say no to my version of perfect and accept the present. I had to say no to what unrealistic expectations I had for myself in every area of my life. I had to say no to how I talked to myself almost daily. I learned that no is powerful. I learned that words are powerful. The words we hold within our spirit that are solely meant for us may be the most powerful of all.

In that revelation, the one where I stop being so shitty to myself, I learned how awesome I am. Some days I still don’t believe it. Some days people can tell me that I am the most awesome person on the face of the planet and I will still crawl into a hole as though I am that kid picked last for gym class. Until the day comes when you can accept the good things about yourself wholeheartedly, you will never be able to accept the compliments that people give to you as truth. You are wonderful. I am wonderful.

Real life, real people aren’t perfect. I took this photo the day before my birthday. I hated it and picked it apart and tried to over filter it so it looked halfway decent. My best friend took it and she refused to let me a. not post it and b. over filter it to the point of no return. I took it because I just got my nose pierced, something I had been wanting to do for YEARS. The imperfection of that photo made me not want to share this little victory with the world. I am brave. She said, “Post that photo, even though you don’t like it, it will be good for you.” So I did. I am brave.

Bravery is built in the little moments. It is built in the small mundane things we are afraid of. It is me getting my nose pierced. It is me sharing my thoughts on this blog where the whole world has privy to it. It is me traveling via the ocean to another country, something I was terrified of doing because the ocean is a scary, dark abyss. Bravery comes in small increments. I am brave.

So… in this new year, what will I do? First, I’ll finish what I’ve started. I’ll become a Pilates instructor. I will finish my book. I will write more and more on this little blog. I will write MORE wherever and whenever I can. Numerous people have told me that I’m a good writer, so I will write. I love to write. A great writer was all I ever wanted to be, but I was afraid of it for so long. Being told you are good at that one thing that you’ve always wanted to be but are afraid to do, well it kinda makes your heart explode and it kinda makes you want to do it all the days of your life. I am brave.

Other things I might do… travel to more places on the bucket list. Most notably, Everest Base Camp. Start a business (oh yes, I’ve had a few things brewing for a while now, perhaps I’ll finally get that stuff together). Find my person… hey, one can hope.

Cheers to inspiring yourself. May you find that you are capable of making yourself happy every day of your life.

 

The Lionheart Collective Co.

Hello there friends! I want to tell you about a little venture that is a few months if not years in the making.

This idea is grounded in my own path to finding and accepting who I am as a human. It’s been a long process… but aren’t we all there, every second of everyday, all of our lives? But the funny thing is, self acceptance isn’t prevalent in our society. People don’t often say how they really feel or do what they really want. 

I’m tired of it. People being put down because they don’t stick with the status quo. People being bullied. People being downright afraid of their feelings and expressing who they are & what they feel. I’m done with it. 

I hope you are too.

I bring you… the Lionhearted Collective Co. While still in the stages of (what the heck will this look like!) flux, it’s part store and part tribe.

Our mission: Strength. Bravery. Empathy. 

Undoubtedly all the qualities of a collective of lionhearted humans. Embrace who you are and what you feel. Use your gifts to make the world more beautiful and unique. It is only ever going to get one you! Make the you-ness that you are count!

That is the story behind what will be a store, a gathering, a blog, a whatever… so that your voices can be heard.
Be brave. Spread Empathy. Live with strength.

And a little sneak peek at a product I’m working on for my “granola” friends out there 😉! I know I’m not alone!

The Glass Is Refillable

If you know anything about me or follow me on social media…this past year has been a season of molting. Like a butterfly, (Cheesy, but I can’t really think of any other analogy on this so please bear with me.) I’ve been shedding the layers that kept me from becoming who I was meant to be. Letting go of doubt, fear, expectations, limits, subconscious ideals…etc. It’s been tough. Once I started coaching in December, I decided that part of this process (scary as that may be) needed to be lived out in the open. I needed to be authentic about all areas of my life if I was going to keep this growing process going. I needed to be real real…not just with myself, but with others.

I am what you would call an extroverted introvert. I am equally both, but as I get older I’ve found that I find solace and rest and renewal in leaning into my introverted ways. It is sometimes exhausting to me to be around other people believe it or not. When I am having a very introverted day, week or even month…I just simple can’t force myself to be excited about being in a room filled with people. It’s daunting and it’s hard and depleting. My inner ambivert also battles with the need to constantly build and foster relationships. One on ones and small groups of close friends aren’t nearly as hard, but sometimes…I really just want to go home and cuddle with my puppy.

I want you to know that this is completely real to me, this whole ambivert, extrovert, introvert thing. Some people have been like oh your just shy and quiet…well, no I’m not and I can for sure talk to a brick wall. But the fact of the matter is that we all get recharged in different ways. Mine just doesn’t happen to be in a party-like setting or out in a large gathering…most of the time. It has nothing to do with the people and everything to do with me.

So, I’m going to level with you. In my effort to continuously pursue my best life and authentically share it in front of you. I am here to tell you that it is really really really really   *BLEEPING* hard sometimes. Can I get an amen here? In my newly found pursuit of the glass half full life and my constant need to grow and give, I’ll be honest with you…that glass gets emptied really fast.

I was on my way in to work Tuesday morning and I hit the lever of our parking garage. I mean, I am not going to tell you I am the world’s worst driver but for real, like for real, I think that I need to just take UBER everywhere or maybe God is telling me to live in a city where I can walk everywhere (cough *Seattle* cough). But, I hit it. Then I forgot to go down and make sure everything was okay so I got paged to do that from work. Awesome. So any of my friends reading this who park in the parking garage that can be fun, you know the one, yeah that big dent was me.

I’ve also been dealing with a crazy sinus infection for the last week that I can’t really seem to get rid of. So, when I decided to cheer myself up on Monday, (before the whole garage debacle mind you) I used my free coffee coupon and I downloaded a free Audible audiobook written by Chip and Joanna Gaines. So I am driving in my car on the thirty minute drive home drinking my coffee, listening to my new audiobook…and I start BALLING.

I listen to the book again on Tuesday (after the whole garage debacle mind you), and I start BALLING. What is the deal?!?! The thing is, I cry now. I didn’t use to. I use to be tough as nails, and bottled that s*it up man…rub some dirt in it. But layer after layer, twenty million self development lessons later…I start to show emotion outwardly now. When I have empathy towards another human, when I’m sad or happy or thankful and when I just love.

I kinda cried a lot the week my nephew was born in February. The new baby smell, the thought of possibilities. Then when I started to pray for him and Jase even this week I started balling asking God to give them loving hearts and make them good men who earnestly sought after him. I pray a lot more these days. I don’t really know how not to. It’s not really a super religious experience , its more me just talking to God out loud or in my head just trying to get and keep my head above water. I don’t know if you get that impression yet or not…but I am constantly trying to keep my head above water. I’ve always taken on too much too fast and lately I’ve had to learn how to reign that in and start saying no, and being okay when the ball gets dropped sometimes. Because life goes on and people forgive.

So this book. It’s really not sad or depressing or tragic, it’s just their story. If you watch the Fixer Upper show that they host on HGTV you know that it isn’t just a home improvement show. The couple are two down-to-earth people who just love out loud and do what they’ve been called to do. They create with joy, persistence and gratitude. That stamp is everywhere in this book as I listen to them tell their story. They tell the story of how they met, fell in love, first year of marriage, etc.

So what is it that makes me just ball every time that I listen? I think it really just boils down to this constant thread that is becoming apparent in my life — pursuit. I am no stranger to hustling/busyness, but what am I in constant pursuit of? I know how to work hard, but what am I in pursuit of? What is my purpose here? Where am I creating and inputing value? Are the people in my life adding value or taking it away? Am I scared of the pursuit of what really sets my soul on fire? Why?

Components of their story really resonate with me. The fact that I see a lot of the qualities of Joanna Gaines in myself, (I know, bold ask. But bare with me.). She is tenacious and caring but at some times can be seen as a stick in the mud for being the straight laced one next to Chip Gaines. She constantly has to take care of things, people and places. She’s nurturing but she also struggled with her identity and trusting God when it didn’t really seem like what he was telling her to do could possibly be what he was telling her to do. She boldly declares that people should be doing what they are passionate about every single day.

I love their candidness and the way that they appreciate little blessings and at the root of their story is a whole lot of grace and authenticity.

Sometimes, we don’t know what we should be in pursuit of. Sometimes, what we are in pursuit of feels right but doesn’t necessarily make sense. I accept a lot of that in my current circumstances right now. I don’t know what the next few months hold but I know that this culmination of change is going to come to a head in my life because I feel it. Something big is around the corner. I feel constantly ill equipped to handle big things even though I am always in constant pursuit of them.

I know this revelation has been all over the place. It’s probably poorly written to some, and to me it would be if I were looking at it through my work lens. But I write in all candidness, like I would talk to you in a conversation. If I took the time to really edit it out I would probably cut a lot of it out, but I know that that would not be the most authentic version of what I am writing and how I want to say it. So that is why I leave the errors and the grammar and all the things at this point in time, because I know it would never get published otherwise.

 

I will leave you with one last thought before I wrap it up and blog again in another month. I was helping some friends of mine set up a photo exhibit the other day. While we were setting it up they had these old crepe myrtle branches that someone had given them to hang on the sides of the photos. As I was standing there holding one of these branches, I noticed it was almost split in two. Yet, it still did it’s job. Our lives are like trees. Sometimes we are planted in shallow soil and we don’t really ever take root. But sometimes, when the soil is really fertile and the water adequate, we become big and giant and beautiful. We have purpose in both places, but we don’t always have substance. A broken branch is still a branch, it’s still part of the tree. Just because the tree is partially broken, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have purpose. It doesn’t mean it isn’t usable. Sometimes, we just need to be replanted. Sometimes we just need someone to come alongside us, uproot us and put us on fertile soil so we can flourish. It’s possible for us to be split in two and be resilient and still be useful.

So, my friends, it seems that life is hard. When you do life with other humans you see that.  When you do life yourself, you feel that.

 

But the tree can be uprooted.

The empty glass is refillable.