Reconciling My Private & Public Self

Reconciling My Private & Public Self

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Home to selfies, pretty stuff, and moments of awe. Feel free to follow this weird, beautiful, ever broken up tapestry of my life.

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.

Today’s Truth

Today’s Truth

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Last lines from a James Wright poem//Feeling this way now//One of my 100 Days project

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.

Sometimes It’s Messy

Sometimes It’s Messy

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My favorite spot in the world. Here. Boston, you’re my heart and home. PS: rain!

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.

Calling In the Love I Want

Calling In the Love I Want

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Part of asking for the love I want is by writing VERY specific dating profiles. Here is one of mine.

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.

Love is Love

Love is Love

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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.

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.