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.

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.