happy april, y'all.
so. in the last two weeks, i have heard the group of therapists/healers/friends i have surrounded myself with all tell me the same thing: you are really mean to yourself. this has usually come after i have explained what the critical, anxious voice in my head has said to me in response to something i did/said/thought. lately this voice has been particularly cruel, stealing moments of calm and joy and replacing them with self-criticism and self-doubt. i know we all have this voice in our minds and so i never think much about it, but judging from the reaction i've gotten lately i think my inner mean girl has gone further down her mean path. girlfriend has no patience for her softer, more sensitive counterparts. she is on a rampage.
really. she is scared. she is so scared because things around her are changing. first and foremost being that i am no longer interested in letting her run me. nope. love her to pieces, but she does not know what is best for us. she is coming from a place of fear and she wants so badly to protect us, me, from getting hurt, but what she doesn't realize is the very things she does to protect me often end up hurting me in the long run. so...i've been defying her. i've been...enjoying myself. i've been...expressing what i want, how i feel. i've been...being myself. she doesn't understand that the calm, joyful, confident girl in me has got our backs and can carry her on this crazy road called life. so...
my girl is pissed.
as i said in the previous post, this year is dedicated to self-love, self-discovery, self-knowledge and self-intimacy. and that means learning to balance and love this inner mean girl while i nurture and support my inner calm, grounded, content girl. when i saw that the #100dayproject was about to start up again, i thought...well...what about dedicating 100 days to this? i did the #100dayproject a few years ago...i made it 60 days, writing one page of a novel a day.
this year, what if i wrote/shared/blogged/posted/whatever one thing i love about myself for 100 days?
because...it is really hard for me to not criticize myself, to not shy away from my quirks. it is all too easy for me to tear myself down...and i'm tired of that. i'm tired of it being easier to write a list of 100 faults. i want to appreciate myself, dammit. and inner mean girl would do well to have to calm down for five minutes while my joyful one spouted out sweet nothings about us. about me and all the different versions of me, all the dark and the light, the sad and the happy, the complicated and the easy.
i'm going to. it starts on april 3rd. i'll post here everyday. instagram probably too. feel free to read along...or not. after all it is really about me. and the sharing is for accountability but also because it terrifies me to share what i love about myself because it somehow feels...self-involved...? and because i'm worried people will roll their eyes. and because clearly i spend way too much time caring about what other people think and really if you think this is stupid you don't have to follow/talk/hang out with me so bye?
so yeah. i'm sharing. now to see if i can find 100 things i love about myself...
last week i turned 32.
i say that and can't quite believe it. how am i old enough to be 32? how is this person who forgets to feed herself 32? how is this person who still hasn't really found a pair of shoes that don't hurt 32? how is this person who still gets confused for a high school student 32?
32 is the age real adults are. not me.
but here i am. 32 and just feeling like i am being to get to know myself.
my therapist asked how i felt being 32 yesterday and it took only five seconds for me to start crying. really, i have no problem being 32. i am excited to be 32. i don't think i'm old or anything. i just had all these expectations for 32 i hadn't realized. i guess 32 was this *golden* age for me. the age my mom was when she had me. the age my grandma was when she got pregnant with my mom. by the time i was 32, i'd have my shit together. i'd be in a committed relationship. i'd have a stable career. i'd be a mother or about to be. i had plans for 32 and, well, life has looked at those plans and thrown them out the window.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, life says. we got another way of doing things. better saddle up. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
i was a little scared for this birthday. with all my expectations thrown out the window, it meant i had the opportunity to start fresh. 32 could be anything now.
anything. fucking. thing.
i have high hopes for 32, but they are completely different than what i expected. i want 32 to be all about...well...me. ME. i have decided to craft a version of a happiness project, but focused on self-knowledge, self-love, self-intimacy, and self-discovery. i want 32 to be a year that i figure out what i like and what i want and what i need--knowing these things shift all the time. i've been writing about this being the time for me to work on myself and i am just getting intentional about it. i am going to be a bit selfish...in a good way. i am going to indulge in me time. i am going to take care of myself better. i am going to get reacquainted with my gut and my heart. i'm not going to be militant about it--i have a habit of still being crappy to myself in the name of wellness. i'm going to do my best to not let this be just another way i feel i have failed. i am going to let it flow with just a little direction, a little guidance, a little reflection, and a lot of intention. i'll share a little from time to time probably.
i will be rounding out my 32nd year with my first professional production. [side note: i found out the theater was interested in producing my play the day my relationship ended. if the universe ain't got jokes...and signs...hella signs telling you life moves on...] so, in a way, i guess i'm still fulfilling some of those expectations. i wanted to have a baby around the time i was 32. i am. it is a play production baby. she is due in jan/feb 2019. she's gonna be beautiful. and also, that committed relationship...yeah...it's gonna be with myself. no worries, i won't throw a wedding for myself and making you buy me presents (unless you want too...i'll register at anthropologie, the strand, michael's)...but i am trying to fall in love with the one person i know will always be here for me.
at the beginning of the year, i chose a word. the word was trust. i originally chose it because i thought i needed to trust others' more. what i am learning is that i need to learn to trust myself more and trust that i am living the life that is meant for me and trust my strength and my knowledge and my voice and my words and my gut...trust it all.
so, hello 32. i trust you. let's do this thing.
it feels strange to be so aware of the work i'm doing personally.
what i mean is that i've never before felt so aware of how necessary work on myself is and how urgent it is and how important it is. before this, i knew i was working on things. i knew there was work to be done and questions to be asked and experiences to be had, but it felt like it would happen in time.
well, my brain says to itself, the time is now. you know it. i know it. your body knows it. have fun.
and here i am, walking through my days often lost in thought and feeling as i begin to parse out what lies beneath my skin and in my mind. huh, i find myself thinking as i encounter a belief or thought or fact i've buried. who knew that was lurking there? i feel like a researcher, taking notes on my own thoughts and habits. at night, i report back to myself. what did we gather today? i ask.
there are things i already knew. like how sitting by a lake, by the water, makes me feel seen and grounded in a way i don't have words for. like how i love my hiking boots and while i am still scared and allergic to everything outside, i love being there alone. like how i am filled with fear and worry.
but there are other discoveries.
like the socks day.
i looked down the other day and realized my socks had holes in them. this is the second pair i've noticed that with in the last week. i know there are a few others that have had holes in them for a while. no big deal really. until i remembered how i got my ex socks for christmas because his socks had holes in them. also no big deal. until i thought about how i literally hadn't noticed or hadn't cared/cared enough about myself to notice the holes in my socks and buy new socks.
i told this to my therapist. she said, you need to learn how to care for yourself. you don't really know how to or really want to do it.
point taken. i bought new socks.
and yesterday, days day happened.
i've been up at a farm, at a writers' residency since mid-february. i've been up here a number of times over the last three years. it is probably my favorite place to be other than my home and like lake atitlán in guatemala or the mountains of nicaragua. i love it here. and yet, i realized last night, that this is the first time i didn't keep track of how many nights i had until i got home. how many nights i had until i would be reunited with [enter whichever ex is appropriate here]. i loved my time up here and was always sad to go, but it always felt like i was waiting to return. this time, i'm anxious to return to my pup, but i didn't even think to count the nights. i didn't until last night...when i realized i hadn't...and after i did, i didn't feel a pull towards home in the least. i was so happy to just be here.
similarly, i've been leaving my phone upstairs in my room while at meals, something i never did when i was expecting a text or a call from [enter whichever ex is appropriate here]. i was always sitting and chatting with folks, a tad distracted. now i'm still distracted, but by my own thoughts...not the waiting for someone to reach out. last night as we chatted and drank wine, i thought about my phone upstairs and was grateful i didn't care about it.
this is a me thing. no partner ever made me text them. no partner ever required it. in fact, i think they would have preferred i leave them the hell alone...but i keep thinking about how nice it feels to not be looking at my phone, to not be wondering what that person is doing (as much as a recently heartbroken person can), to not feel like i'm missing someone (see previous parentheses).
i love being a partner. i love supporting and talking to and growing with another person. i want that in my life. i loved him. i miss intimacy. i miss touch. i miss late night whispers. i miss not feeling alone. i miss him. but also i don't. also it feels great to just be me, to just take care of me, to just worry about me. but also i hate it. it is the last thing i want to do. the person i care about least it seems is me but also i love myself beyond measure.
i write all this down. another research discovery. a walking contradiction (or two fish swimming in opposite directions...oh pisces...).
point taken. i try my best to enjoy the present moment. sometimes that is talking to my fellow writers, sometimes that is talking to myself at the lake, sometimes that is daydreaming about the man who will come next, sometimes it is working on plays so that my dreams come true.
there have been other discoveries or realizations. sadder ones. ones that i'm only beginning to find the words for. ones whose weight becomes clear when i share with others--they see the cracks and the scars and the pain inherent in them...things i didn't realize or have words for until now.
i am digging and unburying and bringing things to the light. i am looking at dusty old memories and asking myself what i learned then and how it affects me now. i am questioning and checking in and wondering and crying and laughing and throwing my hands up in the air. i give up every day. i feel a millimeter closer every day. i am doing the work. some work. and i am so aware of it and there is no turning back now and here i am.
i feel weird being aware of it, but i think it's okay.
i think it's all right.
because there is no place else for me to be.
and while i know this work is never really done, i look forward to the day all this work settles into my bones and you see me sitting opposite you and even you can see that i finally love myself unconditionally.
It has become clear lately that I am holding onto some pretty sad and frustrating beliefs about myself. Things that aren’t true but that I’ve absorbed/allowed/concluded based on life experiences. In a therapy appointment today and in a bodywork appointment yesterday, both therapists basically said to me: “our work together will be figuring out what you really need and want”. I literally groaned when they each said this. The five year old in me was like “whhhyyy?!?!” Clearly I resist taking my needs and wants seriously. It has always felt more comfortable to worry about satisfying others rather than myself. But...I’m no longer interested in ignoring myself. I’m interested in figuring out and really working toward this self-love thing so that I’m living the life I want to be living. So. This Valentine’s Day I’m focusing on feeling that love for myself and putting in the work to uncover what is holding that love back so it can spring forth like my love for others.
Happy love day, y’all.
the apartment is so quiet now.
i hear the buzz of the refrigerator now. the sighs of the walls. the pops of the radiator. the apartment is so quiet without another set of footsteps, without another set of lungs. it is quiet without the sound of soccer being watched on weekend mornings. it is quiet without the sound of the newspaper being read. it is quiet without the sound of someone hiding. it is quiet without the sound of someone waiting. it is quiet without the sound of being lost and lonely but not alone.
the quiet now is mine. just mine. it is the sound of my chest, opening despite itself. it is the sound of my heart beating. it is the sound of me learning to be lonely and alone, but not lost. it is the sound of disappointment and shock and settling and groundedness. it is the sound of coming home to myself. it is the sound of memory and fear. it is the sound of calm and breath and the present moment.
it is wonderful and heartbreaking, this quiet. this reminder that there is an energy, an entity, a dream, habits, hopes, beliefs...gone. also this reminder that there is an energy, an entity, a dream, habits, hopes, beliefs...still here.
i don't rush to fill the quiet. i sometimes sit and stare at the wall and just feel and listen to it. sometimes i let it enter my chest and linger there until tears fall. in the mornings this may have a terrible effect on the day. in the evenings this usually allows me to rest better. this quiet is a mixed bag of love and hate, loneliness that is needed and loneliness that is loathed. sometimes, after a bit, i turn on the music to drown out the edges of the quiet. i can only sit with it so long before the fear of being broken open forever fills me.
i started getting some bodywork done on friday and i was amazed by all she could tell about me and my life as she released tensions and realigned parts of me. she said a lot, but one thing she noted was my energy.
you really do have a super chill, grounded, and calm energy, charly.
i think i started crying because i haven't felt those things in months really. i've felt anything but that. but as i sit here, in the quiet, tears filling my eyelids for the second time this morning, i am not sure if i'm crying because he left or because i have returned. or maybe they are intertwined.
in the quiet, i feel her, myself. i feel the chill, grounded and calm version of me. i feel her so strongly. she is here in the quiet. she got lost before. she was pushed out before. she was hidden under worry and compromise and an inability to be understood. but she has returned. his departure has allowed for her arrival. i wish it didn't have to be that way, but here we are.
here we are, she says. here you are.
breathe in, breathe out.
feel the openness of your chest
feel how vulnerable you are
feel how closely linked sadness and happiness actually are
feel how filled with love you are as you experience the loss of it
feel the gratitude you have for those that get you even as you mourn those who didn't
don't run away from her, from you
you are right here
in the quiet
in the loneliness
you are here with yourself
welcome yourself in
sit with her a while
help her make a home here again
promise you won't let her go
promise her you know who she is despite what others say
promise her you'll stick up for her when others put her down
hold her in the quiet
hold her here
and let her hold you
i have discovered that the only music i can listen to these days is pop music that can be found on spotify's confidence boost playlist. listening to it has reminded me of how much i love to dance. i haven't danced in a long time. i am a homebody, i say. i am an introvert, i say. these things are true. but i am also someone who loves to go out, have a drink or two, and dance to music with my friends. there was a magical year in boston where my coworkers and i basically went out every weekend--working 12hr days at a middle school required an outlet. i was heartbroken then too and it was a lovely thing to go out every weekend, dance and drink soco lime shots. i cut my hair short and told men to leave me alone while i talked to my friends. it wasn't always amazing...i definitely puked in the bathroom of a very fancy restaurant which i had been brought to by a boss. oops.
but i say that to say, i am someone who loves to dance and i haven't been dancing.
there are a number of reasons for that-- my ex wasn't really a go out and dance person. i am an introvert and so going out to dance feels anti-everything i feel inside. i am sleepy and dancing often happens late. i don't think i'm that great of a dancer....
but it doesn't change the fact that even as i sit here and write this post, all i can picture in my head is me in some cute but practical outfit shaking my curls back and forth. this image feels so important to who i am and yet...my dancing shoes...don't even exist. why?
since my breakup, i've been thinking a lot about myself. obviously. but i've been really thinking about all it is that i want and need and ultimately...who the hell am i and what parts of myself have i been ignoring. i've been staring at myself in the mirror. i've been thinking long and hard about some of the things i thought of as "innately" me. i've been noticing when i'm on autopilot.
if i'm honest, it feels a little scary. i thought by now i'd just know the answer to these questions. i'd assumed that by this time in my life i wouldn't hide myself or i wouldn't let others make me feel somehow less than. i thought i wouldn't put others on pedestals as a way to keep myself down. i thought i would love myself completely and be myself completely and say f**k off to everyone who disagreed.
that has not proven true. what's true is that i have had to reconnect over and over again. remind myself over and over again that i am perfect in my imperfection. that i am who i am due to everything i am and that i can be amazing and worthy of love and successful just as i am. that i don't need validation. that i don't need someone's approval. i do that thing where i live a lot of my life listening to "shoulds". i learned early that to get through some less than stellar situations i should act a certain way. i should want certain things. i should be a certain type of person. i still deal with that--albeit in a different way now--but here i am again...looking at a list of shoulds that are not serving me. and i just want to feel like i can be me. and, really, the only person who is preventing that is this scared little girl inside of me who doesn't want to be laughed at or judged or called drama queen again so she steers us away from all the scary things...she steers as way from ourself.
i just want to know that i can want to dance some days and not want to other days, that i can deal with depression and anxiety and be sad and not be defined as a "sad person", that i can want to just sit by the water and listen to the waves, that i can want to jump in the water with all my clothes on, that i can sometimes be boring, that i can sometimes be spontaneous, that i can make mistakes, that i can share who i am and the right people will bring me in close as opposed to push me away, that i can cry and laugh and fart at the same time, that i can keep exploring who i am and changing my mind, that i can be me without apology.
the last two weekends i've been scared by the huge pockets of free time that have landed in my schedule. i've been running around like crazy and here i am scared of free time because then it is just me and me and me and the pup. and sure right now free time means a lot of time to feel the heartbreak, but i also feel it in the middle of plays and conversations with friends...so why avoid it? i can't. and all i'm really avoiding is time with myself. time to learn who i am. time to find me and be me.
so tonight i will go home earlier than i have for three weeks. and just...be with myself. learn who this weirdly wonderful, wonkily wise woman is...
i haven't been able to listen to music.
i don't know what happened. last week music was fine, but this week music does nothing but make me feel sad. i can't even listen to the songs that have no connection to him. i can't bring myself to play them. so i've been listening to podcasts and trying to read and watch tv but i miss music. in an effort to avoid love as a theme, i have sunk into my true crime podcasts and criminal minds tv episodes. i'm not sure these are the healthiest choices i could be making as a now single woman who is moving through the city mostly by herself, but oh well. serial killers it is. [i watched all of mindhunter when away in oregon earlier this month (when he was treating me terribly, when i knew it was a matter of days before we ended). mindhunter got me through some rough days...oddly. i'm not sure what this says about me...i'm not going to think about it too hard...]
deleting photos is an annoying process. there are so many more to go. boo.
taking a step back, i always find it interesting how the different stages of heartbreak appear and disappear and reappear. the stages have this odd familiarity. like a friend that just moved to L.A. for a bit, but has come back to the city. i'm like, oh hello there extremely painful third week! oh i remember this phase. the you can't shake it phase. i wonder how long you'll be around.
most of the day, i haven't been able to shake the sadness. i haven't been able to shake the anger. i haven't been able to shake the sense of loss, the sense of confusion, the sense of frustration. they have just been there, sitting inside my chest, right behind my eyes. i silently pleaded for them to go away. just for a bit. they have done no such thing so i am sitting here doing my best not to cry, but also knowing that it will end there. now or later, it will end in tears. i keep thinking of this nayyirah waheed poem: expect sadness/like/you expect the rain./both/cleanse you...
sadness is cleansing. tears are cleansing. cleanse me, i whisper as i cry, cleanse me. wipe away the dirt and grime, wipe away the pain, wipe away the hurt and pain, wipe away the fear, wipe away the grasping, wipe away the loss, wipe away the self-doubt, wipe away...cleanse me. rejuvenate me. let me jump into the puddles left behind.
but there was a moment, a few moments, today that i was fine...when i was teaching. teaching made me feel grounded. teaching got me out of my own head. teaching reminded me of the present and what's right in front of me. and of course, that faded as soon as the class ended and here i was fighting with sadness again...but i had that moment. i felt it. holy shit, i thought. teaching is going to get me thru, i thought. and it will. along with everything else.
that is my work. i know it is. loving myself. loving my work. believing in my worthiness. believing that i am more than what one person saw or concluded. believing my dreams can come true. knowing i am a good person. knowing i am a loving person. knowing another crack in my heart will only make it beat more furiously, will only make it more determined, will only make it more clear on what it wants and needs. that is the work. that is the lesson. back to me, back to loving me, back to loving my work, back to growing, back to the beat of my own heart.
speaking of which, as soon as this music hatred ends, i'd really love to go dancing. i need dancing. someone come dance with me. like rihanna.
on parks and rec, there is an episode when leslie, if i'm remembering correctly, has the flu. and she says "everything hurts and i'm dying". she is standing there smiling, looking seemingly okay, as she says it. for the last two weeks, i keep hearing her voice in my head.
"everything hurts and i'm dying."
and then my brain adds: but you aren't.
the times my depression has been the worst, be it because it just was bad or because of something like heartbreak or grief, that is how it feels. like everything hurts and i'm dying, but i'm not. in the past, in my darkest moments, that fact was frustrating. that fact caused pain. that makes me really sad to remember. now though, luckily, it doesn't and that makes me happy.
actually i am living. actually i like that i am living. actually i love and am so lucky that i am living. despite the pain. despite the fact that it feels like my soul is dying. actually my heart is beating and even though there are chest pains and body aches (and in my case terribly sore calf muscles after not working out for over a month), i am okay. i am breathing and living and time is rolling on.
and it is crazy to me that you can feel this way and yet good things happen. there is good news and exciting news and the sense of change and growth and possibility. and yet there is laughter and wine with friends and play readings and meetings that fill you with joy. and yet there is looking in the mirror and seeing your body, seeing yourself in your underwear, and seeing this beautiful being smiling back. and yet there is a satisfaction to coming home and sitting on the couch and putting on a record and having tea with just the dog. and yet there is contentment in the quiet and solitude.
living in this place confuses the hell out of me. my brain screams for clarity: ARE YOU HAPPY OR ARE YOU SAD? ARE YOU HOPEFUL OR ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE GOING TO DIE ALONE AND SUPER SAD? DO YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, DO YOU BELIEVE YOU DESERVE LOVE AND SUCCESS AND CONTENTMENT? ARE YOU GOING TO LET SOMEONE ELSE DEFINE YOU? DO YOU SEE THE MAGIC YOU HAVE? DO YOU? OR ARE YOU DENYING IT? ARE YOU LIVING AND GROWING OR ARE YOU LIKE A PLANT WHO NEEDS BRIGHT LIGHT IN A DARK CORNER?
(she is loud and speaks all in caps now because i ignored her for a while and she is hella pissed)
everything hurts and i felt beautiful today.
everything hurts and i wrote 20 pages of new work yesterday.
everything hurts and i got exciting news.
everything hurts and i just want to watch grace and frankie.
everything hurts and i laughed with fellow writers last night.
everything hurts and my syllabus is done and i'm excited for the new semester.
everything hurts and for like 20 seconds yesterday i imagined dating again and i wasn't filled with dread.
everything hurts and i want to plan a vacation or go on a retreat.
everything hurts and i sleep through the night.
everything hurts and i'm living.
everything hurts and everything doesn't hurt.
everything hurts and i'm dying, but i'm not.
I sit with it. I walk with it. I feel it in me, like a ghost just underneath my skin.
I’m sad she says. I know I say.
And then we sit and walk and move on, she and I twin sisters, chimera, attached like a invisible woman down into a dress.**
This sadness feels so familiar to me. I know heartbreak. While this one does not feel as earth-shattering as before, my heart feels wearier. She worries. But she knows what it is like to break and have to put herself together again and so she knows she has to wait, has to be patient, and already she is weary but also knows she will keep beating because that is what she does. she's over it and not.
I’m sad she, the one in me, says. I’m sad because in the end he seemed to be revolted by your very existence, seemed he wished you’d disappear from view, seemed to be laughing behind your back, planning his escape, cringing at your smile and your touch...
Stop, I tell her. I already know. I don’t want to think of this. I don’t want to remember anything.
I wish I didn’t have to cry for someone who seemed to care less about me in the end. My therapist says that I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t cry about this someone. It’s one of the qualities that makes you, you and it’s a good thing, she says.
She, the one inside me, starts to scream. I’m carrying groceries home and she is screaming. She is livid. She is red. She is throwing things. Burning things. Destroying things. She is angry and I am walking down the street with no expression just with the groceries as she yells for answers she will never get. She blames me. She yells at me. She tears me down. And I carry the groceries. I whisper that I know she has to do this, but really...maybe...really...could she pause. I can't hear myself over her yelling. And it is only when I get home and see something that frustrates me that suddenly I am yelling too and cursing and letting the anger fill us both. I hate her and I tell her that. I tell her I hate that I am stuck with her. Just her. Again. I tell her I don't want this either. And we are yelling and yelling and yelling and we realize we are mad at him. We are so mad at him. We curse him. We are walking the dog and we are cursing him out as we yell inside. We yell about feeling as though we can’t be angry. We yell about feeling as though we can’t be vulnerable. We yell because we never yell and all we want to do is yell. We yell because he never heard us yell and now never will and that makes us even angrier.
And then it’s over.
We are yelled out.
We just feel the anger. And the sadness. Still there. Intertwined.
I sigh. And cry. And she, the one in me, the sad and angry one, me, says I’m sad and I say I know and she says I'm angry and I say I know and that's wonderful and feel it and yell and cry and let it out and then someone else comes up and asks how are you and we say okay and these are all true and we walk and we sit and I feel her, the sadness, underneath the okayness mixed with the anger and I’m tired and it’s just the beginning and all there is to do is wait and work and breathe and grow and one day realize my twin, my chimera, my invisible girl sown into skin is resting.
Until then we walk together and when we get home I’ll make her some tea or pour a glass of wine or even just some water because we need to stay hydrated and I sit with her until one of us falls asleep.
**image borrowed from a short story by carmen maria machado
warning: this post is gonna talk about astrology. if that's not your style, feel free to skip it.
there is a new moon tonight.
i am thinking about what i want to create and what intentions i want to put out into the world.
i think it's apropos that tonight is a new moon, a new possible start. to be honest, and as i wrote in my blog post here, the new year didn't feel like a new start. i could feel things ending. while i set some loose intentions, i knew i couldn't really solidify them or really conceptualize them until...well...i knew what was going on. now i know. and yesterday felt like a new start to the year as i woke up in an apartment that was truly just mine. yesterday i felt like i could begin to make steps toward this year.
today i began buying a few new things for the apartment. i joined a gym. i started editing a play. i emailed my TAs.
and tonight i went to an event with the astro twins. they broke down what's in store this year according to the stars. they told us pisceans that we're recovering from an emotionally heavy year. i know i've said it 100 times, but 2017 was a really hard year. i didn't and couldn't write about all that happened here, but suffice it to say it was heavy and sad at times for me and some loved ones. and it was the last year of my saturn return. and then of course, the year ended in another sad and heavy place so...yeah...2017...you can suck it.
i realized as i sat in the audience tonight that the breakup essentially started the night my saturn return ended. i kind of laughed. yeah it took until last week for the relationship to officially end...but there saturn was, giving me one last lesson before it left. one left kick in the butt. one last reminder to come into my own. one last tug on the heart.
and this year, according to them,...as a pisces...i'm supposed to shake off the last year or so. i'm supposed to get reacquainted. i'm supposed to reset. i'm supposed to explore, get out there again, be a bit of a gambler. i'm supposed to travel.
when they said that, i smiled and nodded. i feel this. i really do feel that i am supposed to spend time on myself and my career and my passions and my wants and needs. i feel i am supposed to shake off the emotional heaviness. i feel i am supposed to explore not only the world, but most importantly myself. i feel that clearly in my bones. i could feel it for the last few weeks. i could feel it as i felt my heartbreaking. a sense of loss and a need to gain something else in its stead.
as i stare at my apartment, i am filled with a sense of calm. i am creating a nook for myself. just myself and the pup. people can visit of course, lol, but i really feel the need to live and breathe me for a bit.
and so tonight...this evening of the new moon...i'm sending those intentions up and into the universe. to just explore. to travel. to shake it off. to believe that things will get better. to take a few chances. to get back into myself.
some rude things:
i knew i hadn't been chosen for a fellowship, but i hadn't gotten the official word. the official word came yesterday and i think the universe should, like, know it needs to give you a 7 day hiatus from rejections at times like this.
the song 50 ways to leave your lover has been playing in my head over and over all week. he had played it a few times--including on monday--and the song had and has grown on me. but i don't really think it should be the song in my head right now...right?
i had the realization that i've had a longer relationship with some of the plants in my apartment than i have ever had with a man.
the two pimples that appeared on my chin on thursday that i've only made worse....
this interaction with my well-meaning but sometimes a little out of touch father--> me: yeah, i've been such an emotional mess that i've lost like 5 or 6lbs. // dad: that's good. // me: dad?!!!? // dad: i mean the way you lost it is bad but...
related to the above--> i don't really have an appetite, but when i do i like only want sushi or shake shack or wine. but girl needs some greens and some water.
but really the rudest thing is how much my friends have reach out to me. they call and text. they write instagram and twitter messages. they send videos of their dogs or gifs of lobsters and cats. they offer to walk the dog, to feed me. they offer to come over late at night or early in the morning. they offer to paint walls and move furniture. they offer words and they offer silence. they offer hugs and they offer space. they remind me of how loved i am and how strong i am. they are amazing. and...
and the other rudest thing is how i'm okay. filled with a lot of different emotions, but okay. it is rude how i can see and feel the need to work on myself for a bit. to get reacquainted. to get back into some of the habits i lost. to reaffirm some of the things i want. to find myself and my comfort with solitude. rude how i already know this will make me stronger and closer to the person i want to be. rude how i am not falling apart (yet?...i dunno....). rude how my body seems to know all of this and to know my strength and to know my self-worth and to know what i have to offer. rude how she is like you will be better. you will do better. you will love better and be loved better. that's your path. you are on it. stay the course.
in the best way.
i am sitting here, watching a bunch of papers burn.
it is not as cathartic as i was hoping. the fire didn't grow large and the papers didn't burst into flames and disintegrate quickly. it is now smoldering, slowly turning the pages with words into darkened remnants of themselves. but it is taking too long and i can still make out some of the words and i don't want to anymore.
you see the papers have words of love. these papers have promises of a lifetime together. these papers use to sit on my dresser, a daily reminder of the love i had and cherished.
today that love left.
i wasn't surprised that that love left today. i was blindsided three weeks ago when i got the first inkling, but today i wasn't. it has been a long, downright unfair three weeks, but i knew they'd be over today and so when i came home and 40min later that love left...i was not surprised.
the papers got to smokey so i had to cover them with water. also not as cathartic as i hoped.
i've been here before. in this very apartment. just over two years ago. i've been here, staring at a man's stuff that has yet to be removed. i know there are steps ahead. awkward dances while things are packed up and moved and then taken out. i know there will be the moment it is just me again here. me and the dog and our stuff. i know this will feel good and heartbreaking at the same time.
this time i don't know if i'll keep the couch or if he'll take it. who paid for it after all? maybe him? or maybe he bought the rug? i know the trunk and the tv will go, as will the record player and the sonos. at least two of the bookcases are his...but right now i am here staring at it all. feeling like everything has changed and yet the only sign here is that his suitcase is gone.
here are some things i've learned: don't buy a boyfriend tickets to hamilton. they will leave you before you get to go. also don't renew your lease for two years...you will be stuck in an apartment you probably wouldn't leave anyway, but now are committed to for two more years. also, if it feels like your boyfriend wants to break up with you and you have a trip planned to his hometown, maybe don't go. you'll spend the whole time feeling like it is a weird goodbye that no one else is in on. also, very often, you might be the one who has to start the breakup conversation. it will feel like you are breaking up with yourself. this might make it hurt more in the short term, but at least you know now. at least you can restart now.
i want to burn the memories away but i can't, can i?
the ends of relationships always reveal what someone actually thought about you. i have a new list of things to worry about. i have once again learned that sharing something vulnerable and scary can lead to someone leaving. i once again have learned i feel like a burden to someone in some ways. i look forward to internalizing all of this and having my therapist try to talk it out of me. of course it reveals disappointing things about your now ex too. things i'm glad to know now, but wish i didn't.
i hate how we get here and how something once so beautiful ends cold and painful.
at least he walked the dog. and took down the tree. and vacuumed all the pine needles off the floor. before i got home. before we'd officially say, it's over.
i can still smell the smoke and can feel it in my eyes and i don't want his words in my eyes.
i'll be 32 in forty-nine days. this feels significant, but probably isn't. i didn't think i'd be where i am, but i also feel okay about being here. i've done so much crying the last three weeks that i haven't really cried tonight. i'm sure it will come. i know myself well enough to know it will happen. but i also feel okay. i feel the most grounded i've felt in three weeks. maybe that is because tonight i worked with six women in a class all about being a badass. i don't feel like a badass, but i left there tonight with my breath and mind clear and grounded. i came home open and vulnerable, but also with a great sense of self, with a little fire in my belly about who i am and who i want to be and what i want.
that's a fire that is still burning. and i hope she keeps burning these next few days and weeks when things get harder and it hits me that love left...i hope she keeps burning as i move in the world and try to find someone who will love and not leave. i hope she keeps burning as i do all the writing i have to do. i hope she keeps burning and burning and burning and burning...
i keep trying to write a post about the year. i keep trying to make a list of the awesome things that happened--because there were so many awesome things. the sad and bad things are there too and it is sad to me how they risk overshadowing the good things that happened. i want to write a list here to remind myself that 2017 was actually okay, but i keep staring at the screen and, you know what, i'm not in the mood to force it.
and this is probably TMI, but whatever...for the second time this month, i woke up to spotting heavy enough to soak through my underwear and my pajamas. after spending a year trying to figure out what the hell is going on with my uterus and being told everything is normal and fine (which it probably is, but this is an annoying new normal), this morning i was downright annoyed and sad. i know that this, on the scale of stupid shit that can happen in your uterus, is probably quite low, but it is frustrating...not understanding what is going on with your body...not understanding why it has changed...and most importantly, how it may be affecting how you are in the world...ugh. guys. the hilarious part is that it was the perfect way to start the last day of this year which has been a shit show of dualities. i am in portland, on a vacation, trying to have fun with people i care about and forget some of the everyday worries and anxieties...and i wake up to one of the ones that's been the hardest to deal with this year.
as 2017 comes to an end today, what i am really feeling is uncertainty. nothing right now feels stable and secure. and that brings about my old friend, fear. it is not fun or glamorous or really in the "new year, new me" spirit to claim that i am entering a new year uncertain and fearful, but it is the truth. i know we never know what really lies ahead, but this year has taught me to...well...expect the unexpected...in all the good ways and bad ways one can take that. and so while i have brainstormed some intentions for 2018, i tried to make them open...to see how they show up naturally. to see how they adapt to the situations i may find myself in in 2018.
my hope for 2018 is that i don't let fear and uncertainty eat away at me...that i just let them be a part of my normal...something there, but not overpowering. something present but not overwhelming. i guess, really, my hope for 2018 is that i show up stronger and more grounded and more myself than ever before...no matter what happens. no matter the good, no matter the bad, no matter how many times my uterus decides to wake me up with a surprise...
yesterday morning i sat thinking about all the things i needed to do and didn't want to do. i then looked toward the closet door and then looked at the time and thought...
and i went to the closet and pulled out my paints and a small canvas and proceeded to paint for 45min.
the last two tuesdays i've done some version of this. spending some time i have alone at home to paint.
i'm not a painter though.
far from it. i have an affection of visual arts, but have never felt like they were in my wheelhouse. i love words and i love writing, but there is something about seeing, about the visual, about the thing that brings to mind thousands of words or no words, about expressing something inside that you don't have words for in a medium without words (sometimes...lots of visual arts include words too i realize).
i've been finding it hard to speak or write about many of the things bothering me. mostly i don't want to share things that aren't mine to share and i don't want to upset anyone, stress anyone else out. i fear the things i'm feeling are unfair and so i've been trying to stay quiet. it has resulted in me showing up in life as sometimes agitated. usually with those i love the most. because i've spent the rest of the day trying my darndest to be a nice, i usually can't keep the agitation at bay by the time i'm with people i care about. i'm festering--as I've been known to do. it's not pleasant. sorry friends who are dealing with me these days. i hate showing up in the world this way. i go to therapy every week and basically discuss this blockage that feels like it has made a home in my throat, keeping down words and separating my brain from my heart and gut. no doubt it thinks it's protecting me and instead it is reeking havoc on me and my relationships. so right now words are not helping me out. they are too tied up in my mind. so i've turned to paint.
i've had the urge to paint for over a year now, but didn't act on it because, well, i'm not a painter. because they wouldn't be any good. because where would i put the paintings?
finally, last week i just gave in to the urge.
blockage achievement 1 unlocked.
ever since i painted the first last week, i've found myself thinking about color and shape as i walk down the street. i think about starting with something circular rather than a line. i think about new paint colors i want and i picture myself sitting in front of my books with a much bigger canvas and just trying to create something else. i like how paint feels and how it marks you and the surfaces around you. i like that it is messy. i like that you can paint over something instead of hitting delete. i like that you can pile paint on top of each other. i like that i start out one place and end up somewhere else. i like when my instinct says to add more of a color even though i don't know why. i like that i can see things in the paint, in the painting, that you may not.
my brain appreciates having a different puzzle to figure out, a different form to learn. who knows how long this will last, but i'm happy for now that this urge is here and that i'm letting myself lean into it. i may not be a painter, but i am enjoying being someone who paints.
i'm grateful for friends that reach out and say they support you and are behind you.
i'm grateful for every baby step i make in my career.
i'm grateful for warm, comfy sweater dresses.
i'm grateful for tumeric lattes.
i'm grateful for short months.
i'm grateful for the promise of time off.
i'm grateful for busy days and lazy days and all the days in-between.