Oh loves there are a million and one reasons why I haven’t written a post recently, so I cut the crap and I’m writing instead. Isn’t it funny that we can put so much between us and what we love to do? Why do you think that is? Fear? Anxiety? Groceries? Today was my first day off in a bit and I’ve lulled around in it, cleaned, spoken to a friend who warms my heart, and now I’m here, inhabiting this small space I’ve cut out for myself in the very very enormous internet. How are we? I’ve been a bit sick (probably has something to do with drinking after a long period of time in sobriety). I’ve been busy at work, getting to know work. I’ve been reading and trying to finish the memoir I’m Supposed to Protect You From All This. I need to get some snail mail out. That’s more my to-do list than anything else. Recently I’ve been learning what it means to embrace being alone. I’ve been alone for long bouts of time, but I’ve always struggled with sitting in there. Recently, I’ve been very cautious towards letting anyone hold my heart for too long. If I see a red flag or I’m just not one-hundred percent there, I pull myself out. It’s hard though. That space feels comfortable in the way growing up did: it was scary and confusing, harsh, and abusive, but it was home. Maybe we can redefine home. Maybe home doesn’t have to be a place. Maybe my home ebbs and flows, like the tide. Maybe it just is. Just is. Reminds me of my new favorite last lines from The Orange by Wendy Cope: I love you. I’m glad I exist.
I had sex for the first time in a long time last weekend. It was strange in the way sex is with a stranger. It’s a new space, new spots, an entirely new feeling coexisting between you and this person. It’s raw and made me feel uninhibited and fulfilled. Definitely choosing a bit of freedom in my sex life right now. It feels good to be in a place where my longing doesn’t unspool, but rather lingers, quietly, afresh, ready to be touched.
Ever since I was a little girl I always had stories running through my head. It was like I could narrate my life. Lines of dialogue would appear seconds before I needed them to. Often I just sort of knew how a particular situation would work out. I would often act them out ahead of time, playing house, talking to myself as a rearranged stacks of books. I have one memory of my dad overhearing me, walking up behind me, and telling me it would all work out. What would work out? I can’t remember and often I struggle with my memories. When you grow-up in a household muddled by discrepancies between what goes on behind closed doors as opposed to what happens on the outside, sometimes it’s hard to know what you believe. I’m reading a memoir right now, I’m Supposed to Protect You From All This, and the daughter struggles with a similar thing: truth-telling in light of other’s stories varying. I guess that’s what they always are at the end of the day, stories.
The stories we tell ourselves. The stories we pass down. The stories we write in order to both remember them as they once happened, but also in order to not forget them. Today my memory feels really muddled. It’s sticky and hot up there. My relationships with people feel strained. My sense of self a bit too abstract for my liking. I had someone call me out for my truth-telling. You say you live by honesty, but you can’t hear my truth. Something along those lines. It stung and then it started to feel true. So true. When I was younger I couldn’t hear anyone else’s truth because I was worried I would lose sense of my own and if I lost sense of my own I would lose my grounding in the chaos surrounding me.
Write it down to remember it. Hold onto it so I didn’t forget. But I’m no longer that younger version of myself. She’s grown up into a world that’s brimming of truths. I love the eager, honest conversations I engage in on a daily basis both on here and on social media and amongst friends. It’s like constantly weaving and re-weaving a beautiful tapestry: layers of truths and perceptions…but sometimes that’s how it feels: layered. Stagnant. Confusing. I strive for honesty, but maybe there’s a line I’m not supposed to cross. Maybe by telling all of my truth, I’m not leaving enough for myself. When I don’t have enough for myself I start becoming obsessive and scared and clingy. I start to feel like an imposter in my own life. Does this happen to you too? I talked to a friend last night on the phone. She reprimanded me for making a choice I had made numerous times before. Jumping into drinking she said. It’s always one and then…but this time feels different, more true. True.
Truetruetrue. Say it a few times fast and it starts to look anything but. I guess what I’m trying to say through this very muddled train of thought is all I’ve ever wanted are my insides to match my outsides. I want both to sparkle. I can sense that they’re beginning to reconcile. I just don’t want to scare them away. Maybe wanting is enough for now.
In her new memoir, Dani Shapiro writes, “What doesn’t go on Instagram: our bank statements; past due notices; quick glances exchanged when our son isn’t looking. Hangovers; sleepless nights; tuition bills. E-mails bearing disappointing news;; life insurance forms. Last wills and testaments. Great heaving sighs. The way sometimes we put our arms around each other early in the morning–bleary-eyed, the coffee brewing–and bury our heads in each other’s shoulders. It’s going to be okay, right? The arms tighten. It’s going to be okay. A shared vocabulary–like a soundtrack to our lives–so familiar that we hardly even notice which of us is speaking.”
What doesn’t get posted are usually the things that are shameful, too big for us, too scary, too much. I aim to expose those truths in myself too. Because both live inside of me, even if one is easier to grapple with. The best truths are usually the ugliest ones, the two-am revelations, the memories that have gone untarnished since they’re buried so deep down. The best truths are the hardest to say out loud. Perhaps they are easier to write down.
Hey you guys…Hi. I have butterflies right now. I’m listening to The Unruffled Podcast my friend Tammi made with Sondra. It’s so enjoyable listening to these ladies voices as I make my art for the #100daysofartbyHaley project I’ve taken on. I made my gratitude list as well. I love my creativity and I don’t ever take it for advantage because there have definitely been times when it’s been only whisper/completely gone. My art teacher in high school told me he would pass me if I vowed to never take his class again. After that, I just figured art wasn’t my thing. I just wasn’t good at it so why would I ever try it? Ouch. That statement hurts to read today, because today I do and say the things that scare me most. Usually that’s the truth. The truth is a really scary beast sometimes. It’s also a multilayered one. The other night I made an Instagram post and talked about an evolving truth in my life. I’m ready to share it with you a few days later. Here goes: I’m drinking again and I’ve made a conscious choice to leave both AA and my sobriety. If you know me or read my posts you know my drinking something I’ve been grappling with for nearly 4 years. Bouts of sobriety. Bouts of drinking. Pain. Conversations. Therapy. Lots of therapy.
Last weekend I sat on my therapist’s couch and these words fell out of my mouth onto her carpet: “I don’t think I have a problem with drinking. I think I have a problem with people.” Oh. The thing I have been so scared to admit to anyone, ever, my codependency, my obsessiveness, my need to have a person. It’s an issue I’ve grappled with since I was a little girl. I tried to deal with everything and everyone else. I tried to take on labels because it felt better than not having anything. Say the true shit out loud, my friend says. Here’s mine.
I understand that not everyone is going to be on board here. I feel in part that I don’t deserve that either, since a spent a long time convincing people that I had a very specific problem with alcohol. I didn’t know. Or I knew that maybe that wasn’t the issue, but it felt better to try to make myself fit because the love and the care and the conversations I found in the rooms and amongst sober women was mind-blowing. And I’m scared about losing that, them, in writing this. But I try to live in honesty, publicly and privately, so this has to be the way. I know this might change at some point. I know that I will never look at drinking normally. I know I will always relate in some way to addicts and their behavioral patterns.
I’m feeling super vulnerable saying all of this and pretty sleepy. But it needed to be said and done. More to come. Love you all.
Recently I’ve felt anything but together. My life has seemed a little too much like it’s spiraling out of control and I’m frequently feeling overwhelmed and overtired. Oh but yesterday was such a good day. Oh it was one of those days I dreamed about. It was bursting with beauty and new members of my tribe and smiles and laughter alone in my room because my heart felt settled. You know that feeling? After a big storm, when the world seems to quiet down. When everything is still glistening. When there’s such a distinct smell in the air it’s almost tangible? That was my yesterday. Right after a three-day shit storm.
WOMEN. EXPECTATIONS. LOVE. ANXIETY. Those were my all-cap friends for a few days and boy did it suck suck suck. Like really suck. It made me appreciate all the circumstances of a day when I felt like I could just show up and be taken care of. I fed myself and loved myself and asked for what I wanted. I respected others and loved others and listened to others. I detached from the stories I told myself for a few days. I let the day take me where it wanted to and needed to. I’m starting The 100 Day Project (#100dayproject), so I’m committing to making art for the next 100 days. I’m trying to show up in this space even if it seems a little haphazard and word vomit like. I’m still sober. I think we can so easily complicate the things that can offer us the most ease and comfort if we let them. I think honesty sometimes feels like an act of defeat, or departure, or devastation or all three.
Sometimes it’s messy. Sometimes it just fucking rains over and over and over again. But I’m no longer afraid of rain, in fact it’s a reminder of a friend who lives far away so in some ways I lived through a three day hug. I stayed stubborn and sad, but I never felt alone. That’s a big thing. That’s huge. I always felt like I was alone, other than, a woman of the bathroom floor who couldn’t get up. But, right now I feel like I’ve always had the people, my people, they just didn’t start to show themselves until we could both be ready. Until I could start to trust that maybe the universe does have my back. That maybe I don’t have any control.
Relinquishing control is a difficult task for a control freak, but I think it’s the last first step. It’s the thing holding me back from walking all the way off the cliff and free falling. I want all the freedom that comes from giving up my will, but in typical me fashion I want to control what that looks like. I’m a work in progress just like my art. But, I create nonetheless, everyday, in the hopes that after a rainstorm, I might find myself, soaked, but not scarred.
Hey y’all – Today I want to talk about calling in the love I WANT. Hell yes for the love we want. Hell yeah for the love we need. Need and want are two different things right? Sometimes we want things that aren’t good for us. Sometimes we need things we don’t want. Today I’m arguing for what I want. Because I think that’s okay. In the interim that I talked about yesterday on my recording (the waiting period between opportunities, the hallway between two doors, etc.) I’m thinking about what I want. I’m also learning how to assssk for what I want. Do you hear me? I’m not sitting on my bum watching 8+ hours of Netflix thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice if…”
I’m actively asking. As in: I am praying, talking to God out loud asking for a love I’ve never had. I am calling my dear Unicorn friend almost on a daily basis and she’s encouraging me to speak truly, freely, and actively. I am talking on Instagram and on here and on Facebook about where I am. I’m drifting away from beautifying the internal conflict, the feelings of confusion and anxiety and self-doubt. I am showing-up for what I want even if it isn’t pretty. I’m learning what it means to live in my body, own my soul, say this is what I want. Saying what I want doesn’t mean I’ll get it, but it does mean I get to have numerous dialogues on my evolution. I get to meet myself where I’m at. I am an analytical person therefore viewing things in terms of black and white or check-lists is really easy, living on life’s terms is way harder. Living on life’s terms means I get to stay on my side of the street and question, talk, love, feel, etc. It doesn’t mean I can change, mold, force, etc. to you. That’s the deal. It’s a tough one sometimes, but I believe it’s the only one.
When we move into a space of control we move into a space of fear, of obsession. We start putting all of our stuff on one thing (one outcome, one person, etc.). We start disengaging from ourselves. We forget what we want and we start mirroring others (in their wants/needs/truths). Mirroring works for me when I think about how we are all fundamentally the same person. Mirroring works when I look a friend dead in the eyes and I see myself reflected back. Mirroring does not work when I’m coping out from being myself or doing the uncomfortable, so I’m layering myself with someone else’s behaviors. Does that make sense? Embracing you and embracing me, doesn’t mean becoming you to become me.
So today I’m calling in the love I want. I want love. I want a big love. A great love. I want the love I want. And I refuse to settle for anything less.
Over the past few days I’ve been beating myself up for not having the words to write anything down. I’ve been talking a lot, but writing significantly less. And then I got an idea. What if I just talked. I’ve seen countless women do it on countless platforms, what if I just tried. So this is me trying to have a conversation with you all. It’s a tentative unedited 9 minutes of me talking about love. The different forms it takes in my life, the ways I want love now and tomorrow, and it’s inspired by all the love I currently have in my life. Love is something that we all get to share. Although it varies in the forms it takes, it’s the one universal tie that binds us all. I’m speaking from a place of fear, of hope, of LOVE. For you and me and for this. I mention the podcast I posted yesterday featuring Anne Lamott and Glennon Doyle Melton. I mention Cheryl Strayed who has one of my favorite quotes about love in her book of letters, Tiny Beautiful Things:
“It is not so incomprehensible as you pretend, sweet pea. Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard. It can be light as the hug we give a friend or heavy as the sacrifices we make for our children. It can be romantic, platonic, familial, fleeting, everlasting, conditional, unconditional, imbued with sorrow, stoked by sex, sullied by abuse, amplified by kindness, twisted by betrayal, deepened by time, darkened by difficulty, leavened by generosity, nourished by humor and “loaded with promises and commitments” that we may or may not want or keep.”
I want love for you. Whatever form it may take. I know we are worthy. Please let me know if you want to continue this dialogue with me. I’d love to keep holding this space and having conversations with as many of you as I can.
PS: Sometimes we need love bowls. I suggest you keep yours well-stocked. Let yourself see love, really see it, and suddenly you’ll see how surrounded you are by it. All the damn time.