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...
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.