Just Listen

Just Listen

 

Hey you loves! I’m having trouble finding my words today. I started crushing a little bit on someone. It’s making me shaky and doubtful and excited and I blush constantly. So I’m getting grounded by listening to these ladies. Bird by bird as Anne says. That’s all that’s required of us today. Right now. There’s so much goodness here. Listen with me. Please.

The People of The Bathroom Floor

The People of The Bathroom Floor

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You guys this OPENED UP MY HEART

How many bathroom floor moments have you had? Where you knees hit the cool tile, your head presses against the floor, and your heart bursts open. I’ve had a few. I’ve asked for help. I’ve slammed my fists into the ground. I’ve cried and yelled. I’ve asked forgiveness. I’ve heard God. Eat, Pray, Love begins with a memorable bathroom floor moment. Glennon Doyle Melton shares about hers in Love Warrior. In case you’re unfamiliar, a bathroom floor moment is rock bottom. It’s the moment when we fall apart. When we don’t know how to keep going, if we can keep going. It’s when we turn our wills over, ask for help, listen to someone, anyone to give it. We people of the bathroom floor know that everything starts from the bottom up. We don’t get to rise if we start on our feet.

Last night during a moment of doubt, I finished watching GDM’s family meeting on Facebook Live. In the last 30 seconds she mentioned her people, the people of the bathroom floor, the people of rock bottoms, and how her people know that before we rise we have to fall: “As people of the bathroom floor we know that everything beautiful starts on the bathroom floor.” I LOVED her words. I loved her words so much. I’ve always been looking for my people. Last night it became VERY clear that my people of the unicorns of the bathroom floor. The unicorns of the bathroom floor. Because anyone who has had there knees pressed into the ground, anyone who has lost anything understands that to rise we have to be mythical. We have to be stronger than we’ve ever been before.

As people of the bathroom floor we know that when the going gets tough that’s when the miracles start happening. And boy are they happening in abundance in my life. Beauty stacked upon beauty. I’m trying to stay in the day, trying to stay even in the moment, but mannnn I just want to think about all of the future beauty that’s about to be born. I think what I’m really trying to say is I’m embracing a new way of living my life. In any moments of doubt, I’m putting the heavy right on down. In any moments of beauty I’m dancing my freaking heart out. I’m loving and showing-up and slowing down and remembering that I once prayed for days like these. Today was in my past prayers. How can I even begin to get over the beauty and awe of that? I hope I never do.

Learning to Love Myself Through the Eyes of a Stranger

Learning to Love Myself Through the Eyes of a Stranger

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It’s the very best one I have. (Photo credit: Stephanie Anderson)

I’m a notorious friendship cheerleader. Literally. I will do anything for the people in my life. Over and over again. And I don’t usually expect a lot back. It’s been a struggle. Sometimes the ebb and flow feels pushed or stagnant. Sometimes I just need a little loving, but I’m not sure who to ask. Loving yourself is really handwork and I think we need people in our lives who do so with little risk, with ease and comfort. I think I found that person. Which brings me to the very best part…we’re strangers! We’ve never met. We have a few weeks of friendship between the both of us and yet. And yet, last week was the best week of my life when I started to learn how valuable I am. I can ask for boundaries and love and my own cheerleader. I can show-up for my life consistently, not always with a smile on my face, but always with peace in my heart. It’s incredible to get to see yourself through the eyes of another person. It’s incredible to get to reflect that other person back to them. It’s pretty incredible how big this world is, yet how small it feels when you feel loved and seen and heard. Sometimes I feel in writing about this I sound too happy. The stories of the pink cloud are abundant. But, I’ve been there too. The happiness that’s fleeting because it was never really mine to begin with. It was pausing, hovering over my head, my life, but bound to disappear at the whiff of a little trouble, a little trial or error.

This happiness y’all. This happiness feels tangible. Like I can look at my flowers in the only cup I had that would fit them and feel content. Like how I danced in bed this morning over and over again to the same song (Heavy by Birdtalker listttten to it). How life feels new, but at the same time ancient. The title of one of my favorite essays by Cheryl Strayed comes to mind – The Future Has an Ancient Heart. I think I finally understand what Carlo Levi meant. Of course. We’re not doing any of this for the first time. We’re relearning how to do the things that feel the most primal. We are all born nurturers, but this world tears us so far from that thing, that thing that makes you recognize yourself in a stranger, or love in a random act. That thing is what propels me to look at my happiness now as not something fleeting, not something to be scared of, but something that is only going to continue to evolve. If I keep nurturing it. Ever so slightly, it will grow bigger. Happy Monday.

I Didn’t Know It Could Be This Good

I Didn’t Know It Could Be This Good

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I never just rely on my own words because why would I? I’m not reinventing the wheel, plus there are so many good words in the world to share and love. // Words are by Rupi Kaur, but image is from my friend Sasha’s IG.

I had no idea. I feel like a sappy Hallmark card, BUT all the time. And some stressful and incredible shit has gone down during this week. I sat in the room with my abuser for an hour and a half. I gave the friend a choice to opt out of our friendship if she needed to. I gave another friend space, so I could see what road our relationship would take. I fucking grooved along with another. I wrote. I shared. I had a therapy session where I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling. I learned how to love myself even if it was cloudy or I didn’t get the job or if I couldn’t get the date.

I really didn’t know it could be this good. Ever. At all. It was one of those things I would think about before I fell asleep, a life constructed purely by my own imagination. The space that would feel like a home, the friends who would mutually love and care for me, the books that would fall perfectly into my lap, the writing that would flow, uninhibited, raw. I haven’t stopped reminding myself this week though of the time in my life when I didn’t think I would make it. I was very close to suicide as a kid. I didn’t know it, but I also didn’t know how to continue to live in such a loveless scary household. I had the “nice” stuff, but I didn’t ever feel nice on the inside.

And so I constructed a less scary story for myself and I climbed inside and sat. For years. I didn’t love myself in this story, I was waiting for someone to do that for me. I didn’t do the things I loved or the things I feared because I doubted I could do the former successfully or overcome the latter. I was miserable. It was a hard place to live. But for whatever reason I decided to keep going. Call it luck, faith, the Universe, something kept promising another life that would be mine.

~

Last night I had a dream I drank. I had a glass of wine in my hand. I thought about what I was throwing away, but suddenly I looked down and the glass was half-empty. I had drank unbeknownst to me. It sort of always happened that way anyway. When I woke up I rolled my tongue around my mouth so concerned was I that it would come up retched, tasting of morning-after booze. I opened my eyes. I was completely okay. Better than okay.

I’ve been sober 102 days. My friendships continue to blossom into these beautiful, incredible things. I cooked dinner last night! I built a nightstand! I said “I love you” without fear. Who am I? How did I get so lucky? Maybe I didn’t. Maybe I constructed a life that is better than I could’ve ever dreamed up. All of the pain and sadness and confusion. The nights that ended in tears again. The drunken stupors. The manipulation and exhaustion. It all got me right here. Sounds pretty beautiful to me.

In How to Be a Person in the World,” Heather Havrilesky writes: “Life is not about knowing. Life is about feeling your way through the dark. If you say, “This should be light by now,” you’re shutting yourself off from your own happiness. So let there be darkness. Get down on your knees, and crawl through the dark.”

I’m writing this because a friend reminded me to write. This. Down. I never want to forget what moving into my life feels like. I never want to forget what it means to fall into your Lucky-Charm-eating-self at noon on a Saturday. I just refuse to. Plain out.

I know that light fades, but I also know that darkness is only temporary. If I embrace it, learn to love it, I can create my own light no matter what the external circumstances. It doesn’t always look perfect and it won’t. But it’ll look like mine and I think that’s exactly right.

5 Ways to Embrace Your Light:

  • Designate it Unicorn/Magic/Motherfucking Self-Care week, find a buddy, and love the shit out of yourselves and one another. Check in. Make a playlist. Cry. Write. Just try. I promise that sometimes/usually can’t means won’t, so allow yourself a little trial and error but also a little kick to the butt.
  • READ! I cannot emphasize that enough. Even in my darkest darkest days I read. Then I read Bukowski and Plath. Today I read Rumi, Mary Oliver, Cheryl Strayed, Glennon Doyle Melton and a lotta other ladies for the most part who have found their light throooough their pain. Through is the keyword.
  • Show-up for the people you truly love. I don’t care if it means bringing them coffee on a bad day, calling them instead of texting them, or giving them a little bit of space to go love themselves. Showing-up looks different for everyone and every relationship, but put some concentrated effort into it.
  • Do one thing you told yourself you can’t do – cook! Knit! Skydive! Dance in your living room with nothing but socks on. Please report back! I promise a happier, fuller heart as a result.
  • Start again always. Always. We’re going to fuck up along this new/better you/loving journey. It starts with one week of concentrated effort, but this is a lifetime of work. Just because I’m living in my light, doesn’t mean I’m  a new person suddenly. I still say “fuck you,” when something goes wrong (even if it’s a super small thing). I curse out slow walkers because like MOVE IT, BUDDY. And my insides are basically always ready to flight or fright. It’s okay. I’m still loving myself through it. If it’s 11:50pm and your day went to shit, find a way to embrace the last 10 minutes of it.
100 Days Sober

100 Days Sober

 

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Yesterday’s Gratitude List

Yesterday was 100 days sober. I’m celebrating by launching this blog officially into the world. I’m also celebrating by listing the very best words that have touched my heart in the last 100 days. The tips & tricks that have kept me sane and sober. This is for today and this what works for my the very best. Here goes:

I heard this on HOME podcast, an episode that was recorded last year, but when I listened to quiet recently:

Come with every wound and every woman you’ve ever loved; every lie you’ve ever told and whatever it is that keeps you up at night. Every mouth you’ve punched in, all the blood you’ve ever tasted. Come with every enemy you’ve ever made and all the family you’ve ever buried and every dirty thing you’ve ever done; every drink that’s burnt your throat and every morning you’ve woken with nothing and no one. Come with all your loss, your regrets, sins, memories, black outs, secrets. I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than you. ~ Warsan Shire

This is a quote my friend sent to me that is currently my phone’s background, so I read it approximately a million times a day.

I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be important and beautiful and afraid of nothing as if I had wings. ~Mary Oliver 

This is from part of a poem called “Could Have” by Wislawa Szymborska. I posted it the day before I put down the drink 100 days before this.

It could have happened. It had to happen. It happened earlier. Later. Nearer. Farther off. It happened, but not to you. You were saved because you were the first. You were saved because you were the last. Alone. With others. On the right. The left. Because it was raining. Because of the shade. Because the day was sunny. You were in luck — there was a forest. You were in luck — there were no trees. You were in luck — a rake, a hook, a beam, a brake. A jamb, a turn, a quarter-inch, an instant…

6 Things I Do To Stay Sober:

  • Pray – I believe in God, I pray and talk and check-in with Her every single day, multiple times a day.
  • Call my sponsor – I call a woman I trust every single day even if I have nothing to say.
  • Write a gratitude list – I’ve been writing a gratitude list since January 1st, so pretty much all of my sobriety. It’s a creative outlet for me. It’s my spark. I love it.
  • Attend AA meetings – It’s where the shit gets real, where I can share, help, and feel loved unconditionally.
  • Listen to HOME Podcast – These two ladies crack me up! Listen to them. Follow them on the social media. Really, you’ll thank me.
  • Read memoirs written by other sober, struggling ladies like: Blackout, Drink, Lit, Abandon Me, Traveling Mercies. And others. Read Rumi and Mary Oliver too.

What words bring you home? Do you have rituals that help you stay sane and sober? Please share them with me.

Trying to Write About a Miracle

Trying to Write About a Miracle

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I can sleep at ease today. The face of someone 100 days sober who witnesses miracles.

You guys, I don’t know quite how to write about what happened to me on Wednesday night. I’ve written A LOT of things over the past few years, but I don’t think I’ve ever written about an in real life MIRACLE. Because I never believed in miracles until quite recently. Recently God and I started to build our relationship and sloooowly like dripping molasses I started to believe in him.

The other day I wrote about being really angry that expectations I had for a certain situation didn’t work out the way I wanted them to. I wrote about it and then I read about accepting my brokenness and being vulnerable and letting go of all that shitty stuff, in my own time. I went to meet a friend for coffee and a meeting and unbeknownst to me my life was about to change. I definitely have had a few life defining moments and one of the biggest happened yesterday. In order to protect this women’s identity I’m not going to give away all the details, but instead try to concentrate on the exact physical reaction that took place. I’ll call the woman E. E was the woman who fucked me up and took something she shouldn’t have and who I want to read her fucking rights to the other day. She was the one who said she wasn’t ready and pissed me off in doing so. E was the first person I saw when I walked into that meeting the evening of the same day she’d sent me that text. There was E. Sitting. On the fucking couch. In the same small, hot room I had just entered. Holy fuck. I couldn’t believe it. When I go back and think how I felt in the moment I walked into that room it was completely an out-of-body experience. I was uncomfortable coupled with completely confused. I was angry and sad and happy  and hopeful. I was in literal awe, with my jaw hitting the floor. I decided to stay. I decided to sit in that room and meditate and share and be there. And I experienced every emotion in that hour and a half. Every. Single. One.

~

So basically I wrote everything before this sentence this morning and since then I had to deal with like the little nitty parts of a day that can totally take you out of happy swaddled healing…but I think the point I was making is healing isn’t going to be pretty, it isn’t going to be on your terms EVER, and it is always going to be exactly right. Can I forgive E? Yes, I can. Here and now. I can give it what I can today. I won’t be perfect at it, but I will do my very very best to do be gracious and kind. When I can forgive someone else, I can also forgive myself. Biggest gift, I think. Maybe it seems like a jump that I can forgive someone who caused great trauma in my life after only sitting in a room with her, not even speaking to her, for 90 minutes. That’s okay. I would’ve thought the same thing if I read this and hadn’t experienced it.

Also, I’m sorry this is in no way concise but I don’t really know how to write about the unbelievable – the holy part of me, as my friend Laura refers to it – thank you for allowing me the space to continue to try. This piece doesn’t feel finished and I think it’s something I’ll keep circling back to and writing about. I wanted to end on a few bullet points I wrote down after listening to Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability:

  • Courage to tell your story with your whole heart
  • Willing to let go of who they thought they should be for who they are
  • EMBRACE VULNERABILITY
  • Vulnerable = beautiful, necessary

Shiiit. We always always get what we need when we need it. And the rest…somehow just all falls away.

Walking Through the Muck

Walking Through the Muck

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The tiny, beautiful note that changed my life.

The first time I saw those words I was waiting to cross the street in front of my childhood home. My heart was heavy. I live in a hell that I couldn’t get out. Everywhere I turned was misery. I felt helpless and terrified most of the time. I was 105 pounds and 5’6. There was nothing healthy in any sense of the word happening. I hated – no I loathed – my mother’s new boyfriend. And for really good reason. He was AWFUL. He was gross. He made me feel small and wounded even more than my mother already had. I had turned to a wise older friend for many years and on this particular day she sent me the advice of Sugar aka Cheryl Strayed aka one of my now favorite writers. I remember clinging to the words with all the hope of a survivor in a life raft. I was dessssperate.

Almost 8 years later I look at the note on my phone where I saved the words that changed my life. Acceptance is a small quiet room. Acceptance is not taking shit. Acceptance is not resigning myself to a life of monkhood. Acceptance is not bawling my eyes out every night. Acceptance is showing up today for my fucking repressed feelings. Acceptance is coming to terms with the fact that yup I have a problem with alcohol and commitment and intimacy. Acceptance is going to a professional and saying those words aloud and trying not to worry how I sound. Acceptance is not making some grand statement about change and relishing in a pretty bow on the ending of every blog post because this is my life and I don’t even own a bow let alone have enough energy to insert one into every life lesson. Cause sometime life lessons suck. Big time. And I’m still alive and sober and breathing and I can also feel my pain and feel raw and allow myself to just sit. There’s no shortcut through healing. We don’t get to the other side by a nice tidy raft. We walk. Usually alone. With a lot of self-doubt plagued by every other time it didn’t work out. This time I walk with a little bit of a whisper in my ear. I’m not in fact alone. Because if I was I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be okay. I wouldn’t feel safe and loved a lot of the time.

Acceptance is a small quiet room. It’s an understanding that today is where I need to be. That one day this helpless period of sadness and depression and loneliness will add up to something beautiful. There’s a scene in Love Warrior when the author Glennon Doyle Melton is talking to her God who’s sitting in the corner knitting. She’s telling her all the horrible ugly truths of her life. And she’s getting really frustrated that God just keeps knitting. Like what the fuck God? And then she takes a closer look and she realizes that God is knitting her life. Of course.

On the ugliest saddest loneliest days I think about my God knitting. Rocking back and forth. Working on the tapestry of my life. And literally a feel a pop in my sternum and I breathe.