But then I thought, wait. It would have been perfect timing even if that didn’t happen in Las Vegas last night.
September was a doozy. Three devastating hurricanes, a deadly earthquake, wildfires, a White House that makes me sick to my stomach on a regular basis, a Hepatitis A outbreak requiring the actual bleaching down of the streets of my little beach town, a guy who is slowly but surely showing signs he is about to break my heart, and one of my best friends literally dying and coming back to life. I also had one of my highest earning months so far this year, even though I spent most nights washing down the days with more vodka and wine than any girl really needs.
I don’t know how I made it to October.
So, I thought today’s episode was good timing. But the more I thought about it, it’s really just a complete crapshoot that some major tragedy will hit way too close to home between the time I fall asleep and the time I wake up the next morning.
I don’t say that to be depressing or to make anyone feel bad. I say that because it is the reality I’m currently living in. And I’m no stranger to feeling bad. Nope. In fact, I’ve even gotten shit for how comfortable I am with feeling bad in the past. I’ve done my fair share of wallowing, and mostly in times that look like a freaking vacation compared to what’s going on today. That’s not what this is about, though. Because the weight of all of it is a continuous reminder to me of one very important thing:
I just want to feel good.
That’s it. It’s that simple. I just want to feel good as much as possible and I want to help other people feel good, too.
It’s easier said than done, especially for someone super sensitive like me. There are times I feel intense waves of pain that I know are not even my own, but belong to all the other humans I’m connected to in the world. And I’m pretty sure if anyone knew how much I actually loved all other humans and living on this earth in this time they would think I’m an absolute freak.
You may not be as woo-woo or sensitive as me or get freaky pain vibes from the other side of the world, but I think you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve ever watched the news or read a headline about suffering happening in some place you’ve never been, or felt sadness for some person you’ve never met, or been affected by someone else’s bad mood, you’ve felt this, too. You know you are connected to other people.
The way we feel affects everyone and everything we come into contact with. We are all connected, regardless of how disconnected we may feel at times and how divided the media and other institutions would like us to believe we are. When tragedy strikes, we feel helpless and hopeless. We aren’t allowed to feel good. People scream at each other across social media: “How could you be okay when that just happened?” But why?
Wayne said it best:
You can’t feel bad enough to make anybody else’s life better.
You can’t get sick enough to help one person get well.
You can’t get confused enough to unconfuse any other person.
You can’t feel sad enough to bring another person joy.
So as sickness in all its forms attacks the world, I just want to be as healthy as I can possibly be. And as things become unclear and more confusing, I just want to understand more so I can explain to those who don’t. And if there is any chance for me to bring happiness to another person, I must figure out how to find peace and gratitude in any moment, especially when it seems there is none.
And I’ll do anything and everything I can to feel good. Because even when you feel like you can’t do anything, if you do everything to be your best self and feel good and keep moving forward through the bullshit, it counts more than you could ever know.
You know those things that you are dead set against, that you totally have figured out?
Those things that are 100% non-negotiable, never-will-I-ever-change-my-mind-about-this kind of stuff?
For example, I’m dead set against cubicles. I’m never going back, people.
Or McDonalds and anything like it. During my last cross-country road trip I was faced with little to no choice and got a McDonald’s iced coffee. I regretted even that for days. Blech.
Or boys that make me feel bad about my body. Just…no. Nope. Bye.
Or the words “delicious” and “yummy” being used to describe anything other than food. Seriously, if I’m within earshot please don’t even think about calling that cute baby delicious. Ugh. There’s roughly 200,000 words in the English language, surely you can find another one to use. Not to mention, do you want to, like, eat that baby? This is super awkward.
But all of that is the easy stuff to figure out.
What about the things that I’m just not sure about, or I don’t even know about yet?
What about when I find myself crying about things I thought I was sooo over, and when I laugh about things that still hurt so much I can barely breathe?
What about things I used to hate but now love? Or worse, things I used to love but now hate?
How do we decide how we feel about all of that?
All my life, all I’ve ever wanted was to feel free. It’s one of those non-negotiables that I was so sure about and have been searching for since I could walk. It’s been one of my core desired feelings since I discovered core desired feelings. It’s what made me quit jobs with nothing lined up, or move across the country with nothing but a California dream, or sell everything I owned to move alone to the other side of the world.
Now? I have anxiety about going alone to the new coffee shop in town.
Apparently, a certain amount of freedom can be paralyzing.
Sometimes I feel like the hardest part of being an “adult” is not having to ask permission to do anything.
Wait, what? You mean I have to make all the decisions? Uh, I think I signed up for the wrong thing.
I still feel like I have to ask permission to do what I want to do until I realize that there’s nobody to ask. My life has been this way for a while now and sometimes I still feel like I have to look over my shoulder or let someone know when I go to yoga in the middle of a Tuesday or sleep in because my body needs it.
I’m also single, live alone, and am more or less self-employed. No pets, kids, roommates, boss or boyfriend to speak of. I don’t really have to answer to anyone. About anything. Ever.
I’m sure there are people who dream of such freedom, but the ability to do absolutely anything has created a space so large that I feel like I’ve done almost nothing. I could go anywhere but don’t know if my heart can take getting lost again right now, so I just stay anchored to my favorite spot–even though I know there’s an even better spot probably not that far from here.
Now, this isn’t a pity party. I love my life very much. But sometimes I wonder how this happens. How do you go from being so sure of who you want to be to not knowing where the real you went? How do you go from feeling like the world is at your fingertips to being afraid of what’s happening in the world? From fearing the pain of failure to being terrified of the responsibility of success?
Sometimes I lie to myself about it. Well, maybe that’s just not me anymore.
Sometimes I beat myself up. Umm, how have you not figured this out yet?
Most of the time I’m pretty nice. It’s okay, just keep going. You’re doing everything you can and the universe has your back.
Because I know that person is me. It always will be. I know that girl that wants to be free is still in me somewhere. But she’s stuck under a big pile of broken hearts and fake memories that make me believe I can’t do it, or that it will never work out, or wow, I’m just so freaking tired of this. Every time I want to find that girl, I get distracted by a bunch of bullshit and forget to remember that she’s in there, just waiting for me to dig her out.
I forget how the exact quote goes, but it’s something about how humans are creative beings and that we’re either creating a solution, or we’re creating a problem so we can solve it. We lie to ourselves about what we want or need or how happy we are. We do extreme excess or complete lack when moderation would do us just fine. We don’t say the things that we know we should say to the people we care about and let it blow up somewhere down the line. We pretend there are no solutions to our problems when the only real problem is that we’re unwilling to change what we know is not working.
But it takes more energy to do all that than to just let yourself move on and be free.
So, maybe I don’t have to answer to anyone else about anything for now. But at the end of the day, we all have to answer to ourselves and we better make sure it’s an answer we can live with. And if you need permission to find that answer? Just give it to yourself.
Because you always have permission to change your mind, or change where you are, or who you hang out with and what you do…or even change who you are completely if you want to.
At any time. For any reason or no reason at all. Without feeling bad about it.
Whew. This last week really took it out of me. I think most of you can probably relate. I’ve always been one of those weirdo Monday lovers, but was worried I’d wake up wanting to take a four year nap. I woke up somehow refreshed though, feeling better than I thought I would. I think I’ve crossed the threshold. My frustration and anger is morphing into hope and momentum. I wasn’t sure I would ever get here. But this is how I’m doing it.
Stop wasting time and energy fighting Trump support.
I said I was dunzo last week, and I meant it. The time for polite acceptance of harmful and antiquated ideas is O-V-E-R. It’s 2017 for fuck’s sake. I completely understand that we are a diverse bunch. We might want different things and we may disagree on the details of how things should be done, but this is no longer that. Look, I am not a things-are-black-and-white type of girl. It’s almost always shades of gray. It used to always “depend” with me, but not anymore. If you are still defending this guy, I send you love and compassion. I send love and compassion to anyone still willing to go to bat for you about it or try to convince you of the other side. But for the sake of my sanity and strength…IDFWU on this one anymore.
I’ve searched the whole of the world wide web. I’ve been to all the corners of my mind and the deepest, darkest parts of my heart looking for a valid reason to compromise here and I have come up short. Money, power, and political parties over humanity and our home planet? That is not the kind of world I want to live in–now or ever. So for now, I must separate myself and hope that one day we will come together again. I wouldn’t be the woman I’ve worked so hard to become if I didn’t stand up for what I know is right. My words and my time need to be spent elsewhere. And my offer to hug you if and when you’re ready to come around? It’s good until the end of time.
START spending more time and energy on doing what you can, educating yourself, and connecting with people you care about.
These are crazy, heavy times. There’s a lot of BS out there. A LOT. And I get sucked into it way too easily. In a time when it feels like everything is unraveling, it’s been important for me to find those things that keep me grounded and level-headed. I text my family. I call my Dad. I send heart emojis to friends I haven’t talked to in a while. I read up on history and dig for facts about what’s actually happening, promising myself that I will not have knee-jerk reactions to headlines. I learn about the president, the people around him, and the people who are being directly affected by his actions. I decide on one or two issues that are most important to me, and try to figure out how I can be most helpful. I donate a few bucks. I write a few words. I dance in my kitchen. I take some deep breaths. Little by little, however I can, I focus on what really matters to me.
Gratitude, gratitude, and more gratitude.
When I first saw of the protests happening at JFK I burst into tears. I still don’t know if I’m more sensitive to this particular issue or if it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was as if I could feel the pain of every hurting human on the planet.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This is the type of human I choose to be. I want to be able to feel what others feel and find connection with someone on the other side of the world I’ll never meet. I have specifically chosen experiences so that I feel this way. I’ve traveled through third world countries and spent months of my life “showering” with a bowl and a 32 gallon garbage can full of cold water. I donated a year of my life after college to public service. I spent my twenties working jobs created for the sole purpose of helping underserved minorities. I did these things because I thought they were important for me to understand the world I live in and understand my role in it.
There are also experiences that we don’t choose for ourselves, like where we’re was born or how we’re raised, or untimely and tragic deaths of friends and family. I had no control over the history I’ve been exposed to, like coming home from school like any other day to see the Columbine shootings all over the news, or sitting in English class getting word that an airplane just flew into the Twin towers, or seeing our first black president elected to office, followed by the first woman candidate who almost won, or even watching the world go from my Dad’s first Zack Morris cell phone to an iPhone that’s seems to be an extension of my arm sometimes.
Some of these things may not compare to what many have experienced, but this is my story and I wouldn’t be who I am without each and every part of it. And sometimes you get to choose, but a lot of times you’ll never see it coming, whatever “it” is gonna be. Either way, what a fucking time to be alive, to be witness, to be part of the process of humans just trying to figure out how to live and grow and do the right thing.
If you can get down to that, strip all the way down to having gratitude for simply existing, it will move you. It will change you. And you should let it.
Check out. Byeee.
For as long as you need to. In whatever way you need to. My personal go-tos are long walks on the beach, sunsets, and anything created by Andy Cohen. And videos of Earth from space. Always videos of earth from space. My favorites are here, here, and here. They’re the best way I’ve found to pull me out of whatever hole I’m digging and give me some perspective. We’re on a living, breathing ROCK. Floating through SPACE! Damn.
Find hope and inspiration wherever you can.
Pictures and video from the Women’s March and other protests. Articles about celebrities, business owners, and thought leaders taking a stand, matching donations, and offering free services. People processing their pain into art, and coming together in the most unexpected, creative ways.
Tweets like this:
I’m 20 minutes from landing at JFK. Pilot just warned us about delays due to #NoBan protests at T4.
Fool me twice, or over and over again, for four years or more…Shame on who?
Look. I’m all for chances. I really am. I’ll give people another chance when they probably don’t deserve it. I believe that people are good. I wanna believe that they’re gonna change. But rarely, if ever, do they change unless they really want to. I’ve learned this lesson time and time again.
And that’s how I know when it’s time to stop.
So this optimistic idea floating around that we should “give him a chance?”
I was all for it a couple months ago. You can even read about it here. I’m pretty sure I did give him a chance. We actually all gave him a chance, whether we wanted to or not. And he blew it real fast.
How many chances is this guy supposed to get? What does he have to do for you to stop giving him more time or more chances? How many times would you let someone lie to you, or steal from you, or insult people you love, before you had enough?
Give him a chance? How is this still a thing?
I feel like anyone who still wants me to give Trump a chance is gonna tell me I should also send all my money to Bernie Madoff and go out for drinks with f-ing Brock Turner. Good grief, internet.
I’m sick about it. Completely obsessed. I can’t understand it. I can’t even sleep. It’s taken me 7 hours to get 30 minutes of work done. I pace back in forth with a lump in my throat listening to what has happened in only the last few days, and feel even worse when I see people defending any of this.
But I’m not gonna give up. I can’t and I won’t.
I’m not the activist type and I’m not much of a martyr. I’m just not. But I feel powerless and frustrated and pissed off.
So, I’m dunzo. This is where I stop.
This is where I stop entertaining the idea that any of this is normal or that it’s not as bad as it seems. This is where I stop pretending that it’s OK with me if you think this way. This is where I stop pretending that we might still have lots in common if you are OK with what is happening to our country and our people. Yes, we still have our humanness, and we may be Americans, or women, or anything other group that we both happen to fall into–but right now that is just not enough for me. This is where I stop pretending that we’re all in this together, because as much as I wish we could be, it’s become very clear that we are not. This is where I stop giving my attention to people and things that drain my energy and start focusing on those that empower me. This is where I stop spending time defending my opinions, and instead start joining my heart and mind with others who want the same things I do.
And just to be clear, I’ll be here for you when you’re finally done giving out chances.
I’ll give you a big hug, and I even promise not to say, “We told you so.”
Wait, was 2016 actually crappy? Or was it really just a crappy last two months? Or am I just being brainwashed by everybody else’s crappy year? Right now, the worst part of my 2016 is not being able to figure out where my mind ends and my Facebook feed begins.
Uhhh, note to self: Less Facebook in 2017.
Sometimes New Year’s Eve irks me. You want to be different, completely changed without any effort at all at the stroke of midnight. You want so badly to be saved from everything that ever hurt you before this moment, and have the power to do anything you never could. But that isn’t how this works. Time is mostly an illusion, after all.
What if years and months had no names or numbers? Who would we choose to blame then? How would we decide that things were either good or bad, and couldn’t be changed until some arbitrary day sometime in the middle of winter? That would be crazy. But that is what we crazy humans do.
This year is going to go down as a lot of things, but the worst year ever? I just don’t know about that. The good thing is that whether the last year was good or bad, the end of the year always seems to give people hope that something better is in store. If it was the best year ever, we’re ready for it to get even better in 2017. If 2016 seemed not so good, we’re ready for a clean slate and a fresh start where we can leave all the bad stuff behind. Either way they’re the same thing.
I would never say it was the worst anything ever. I’ve learned that the hard way. The universe loves that trick.
“Oh, you think that was the worst? Hahahaha. I’ll show you the worst.” – The Universe
For sure, it was an interesting year with some challenging times, some tough losses, some major surprises, and plenty of fun. I was pulled and pushed and hugged and cracked open again and again by people, places, and things. I found myself confronting issues that I’ve either been avoiding OR trying to get to the bottom of for years. And damn, it hurt. I cried. I hid under the covers. I said the F word a lot. I felt things I’ve never felt before. But in the end?
I still think it’s just better.
And I learned so, so much.
Like taking a much needed break and slacking off are two completely different things. And if you let yourself get away with slacking for too long you’ll turn into someone you don’t want to be.
And that you shouldn’t think about something for too long, because you’ll go round and round in circles until you convince yourself that you’re right about anything.
And that small things make the biggest difference, and things can change faster than we can even comprehend. One book. One yes. One no. One hello. One kiss. One phone call or message that someone is pregnant, or moving, or sick, or dead. Everything changes. Just. Like. That.
And I learned that I should’ve asked more questions several years ago when my friend told me that the first time he met me, he thought that I’m selling myself short, because I think I’m finally starting to see what he meant.
And that nobody want to says that struggle is progress and progress is struggle. They’re the same goddamn thing.
And that you should never make a plan that relies too much on another person. No matter what they say, they might do something completely different.
And that one of the hardest things ever is being grateful for things you forget you didn’t always have, and being grateful for things coming that you don’t even know about yet.
And that just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. And just because something feels good doesn’t mean that it’s good for you. And not wanting to do something? Well, a lot of times that means you should just be an adult and do that thing.
And I learned that sometimes it’s better to trust your head, but other times you have to trust your heart. Knowing when to do which will save you from a lot of pain. Sometimes there’s no way to know which one to trust until it’s too late.
And that life’s not fair, not ever. Nobody can win unless someone else loses. Even when it feels like life is being fair to you it’s being unfair to someone else.
And that I will never, ever punish myself again for my emotions to make someone else feel more comfortable. And being OK with not being OK sometimes is the only way I am absolutely, positively certain that I’m going to be OK.
And that I am open to any and all things, good or bad, that may come my way. Because if you commit to taking responsibility and commit to keep going no matter what, even when things are super shitty? You get to take all the credit when things get better than you ever thought they could be, too.
I don’t know what 2017 has in store. I just know that I’m ready for whatever it may be, and I owe plenty of thanks to everything we went through in 2016 for that.
So as for me? I ain’t mad at ya, 2016. I’m gonna love you just as much, if not more, than all the other years I’ve lived, because that’s the kind of woman you’ve shown me I can be. And I’m going to end this year and this post with my full moon forgiveness ritual declaration, because it never fails to free me when I’m ready to move on and let go.
I forgive you, I love you, I thank you for this experience.
Ughhh. This whole being-part-of-the-better stuff I set out to do isn’t as easy or clear-cut as I thought it was going to be. This is the time of year when holiday cheer is supposed to take over. Right now it’s in constant conflict with the dark and the cold that we all want so badly to not exist. Sometimes I love this time of year. Other times I want nothing to do with it. This year is one of the other times.
Maybe I’m overreacting. Did you know I once decided to move across the country because the local grocery store was sold out of organic baby spinach? I can be that way sometimes.
I’ll also block people on Facebook at the drop of a hat. I’ll delete your number from my phone if I haven’t heard from you in six weeks. I will wallow and torture myself for hours over things that do not matter like the chocolate chip cookies I ate two weeks ago, or the text I sent in the wee hours of the morning but really shouldn’t have sent at any hour of any day under any circumstances, or that guy who won’t ever love me because he won’t even give me a chance, or that other guy who bought me flowers—the first time anyone has ever bought me flowers—and how disappointed and subhuman I felt when he gave them to me because I did not want the first time a boy gave me flowers to be from a boy I didn’t even want flowers from.
Yes, I can be that way sometimes, and I sure don’t want you to know some of that. But you know what they say.
What you can’t say owns you. What you hide controls you.
The parts that you want to hide are the parts that you need to figure out. It’s so true it’s almost annoying. I regularly spill my guts on the internet, but there are still things I don’t want you to know about me. I want you to see me in a certain way, just like everybody wants to be seen in a certain way. I want to hide things and pretend they aren’t there and talk about them to nobody.
But that isn’t how this works. Telling you about those chocolate chip cookies I ate? I could die over that. My shame about my body and every single bite that has ever passed my lips is something I kept hidden for far too long. That means I have to publish it. I don’t want to be controlled by a fucking cookie.
So I just say it, and then I can let it go.
Plus, I’m not here for small talk. I want to medium talk. Big talk. The biggest.
Not everyone is into talking this way. Earlier this year I actually got my first hate mail from a reader who thought I was going to far. Telling me I shouldn’t write these things. That it wasn’t OK. That I needed help. We all need help, my love.
Part of me feels silly for obsessing over silly things that don’t matter, but another part of me knows that if they actually didn’t matter I wouldn’t be telling you about them.
By the way, is it gossiping if you’re talking about your own life?
And then there’s the terrible person inside of me who gets sick of always doing the right thing. The one who has nothing left to give sometimes, who can’t read one more goddamn self-help book, who wants nothing to do with discipline or routine, who doesn’t give a shit about other people, who has wine in her coffee cup on a Sunday afternoon, who can’t take care of your feelings right now because she doesn’t know how to take care of herself, who cannot hold back, who simply has to get it out or she’ll just die, who–even if just for a moment—-does not give a damn about the consequences of her actions.
We all have that terrible person inside. Lots of people pretend they don’t have it. I’m not one of those people.
So I push the limits to see what I can get away with. I cross all the lines, and tell too much truth, and write things about myself that make people uncomfortable. Maybe it’s all in vain in some sort of selfish, self-indulgent effort to let all the bullshit go.
But I don’t see it this way. I wish more people would do this. And I wish more people could do this. I think the world would be a better place. The consequences that terrible person inside of us doesn’t care about are rarely as bad as they seem, and the biggest problems only come up when we don’t tell each other the truth, and hold on to things that weigh us down. Once in a while we have to push, and cross the line, and be too honest, and get hurt, and obsess about things that don’t matter, because we wouldn’t be stuck on them if they didn’t, and we can’t let them go until they become so heavy that we decide we just don’t want to carry them anymore.
So the only way to stop torturing yourself over things that don’t matter is to figure out why you thought you deserved to be tortured in the first place. And the reality is you only know when you’re being too honest after it’s too late. And you can’t ever actually see the line because the line is fucking invisible, and everyone else’s line is different than yours, and the only way you’ll know you crossed it is because you hurt someone else or you hurt yourself or you can’t fall asleep at night, and when you do finally fall asleep you wake up feeling like a sack of human garbage.
You never could have known what too far was without going there, and anything less than too far just wasn’t far enough. And it’s always worth the risk, because sometimes going too far?
Is the only way to figure out who you really want to be.
We can get so convinced that we understand it. We think we have all the right information. We know it so well, so much so that we can predict the future.
“I just know what’s going to happen next,” we think.
But really? You’re never gonna see it coming. You get fired when you thought you were about to get a raise. You get dumped when you thought he was going to say he can’t live without you. Your test results say cancer when you thought you were the healthiest person you know.
The harshest reminder that we know nothing about anything.
And when there’s a choice to make, somebody has to win while the other guy loses. Sorry, kids. There are times when there actually isn’t room for everyone.
A few months ago I read a book about Bill and Hillary’s marriage and this quote got me right in the gut:
“They’ve all underestimated our capacity for pain.” – Hillary
I don’t care who you voted for. Hell, I don’t really even care who I voted for anymore. Right now, I don’t think it matters. It doesn’t change the results of the election. It doesn’t change anything that happened in the past that got us to this moment. It doesn’t change what it means to be a good and decent human being. It doesn’t change who I want to be, or what I want to accomplish, or the future I envision for myself and my loved ones.
Do you know why people get angry or act out? It’s because they are in pain. Something inside of them hurts, and they don’t know what to do about it. They don’t know how to process it from the inside, so it gets projected out onto everyone and everything else.
Anger. Unbelievable. I’m shocked. Gross. Unsettling. Horrific. Terrifying. Scary. Embarrassed and ashamed. Doomed. Despair. Disgusted. Can’t believe it. I feel like I’m on another planet. This is a dark day. A living nightmare. America isn’t what I thought it was.
These are the words I saw and heard from my people last night and today. I feel some of these things, too, and feel them even more deeply for those who feel like their lives are in serious danger right now. And I mean it from the bottom of my heart when I say you have permission from me to feel anything you need to feel about it.
But I also don’t believe the sentiment that hate won, or that fear won, or that prejudice won.
I’ve seen enough of the world and this country to know that evil does exist, but for the most part it is the exception and NOT the rule. I don’t believe that all Trump supporters are extreme racists, sexists, full of hate, or any other words you could use to stereotype someone who voted for him. I can’t believe that half of this country is full of negative intentions and wants to see us go up in flames. I don’t believe that. I won’t believe that. I know it’s not true because plenty of them are right there on my Facebook friend list.
The people out there who got Trump enough votes to get elected? Many of them would appear to be just like me and the people I know. They have families and friends and jobs. But they have been living in so much frustration and pain–much like all of Hillary’s supporters may feel right now–for so long that they were simply so desperate for change, that they put that value above all else. They’re not thinking about woman’s rights or LGBTQ rights or racism or nuclear codes or international relations or any other policy. They are so sick and tired of being sick and tired. They feel completely powerless, like no one is paying attention to them, like they’re being left behind. It’s the only thing they know and they didn’t know what to do about it, so they picked the low-hanging fruit and that fruit was Donald Trump. And I can’t blame someone for believing that the president can and will save them from their own lives, because there was a time I probably believed that, too.
Does that category define all Trump supporters? Of course not. There are plenty of people who support him for other reasons, and we have to find peace in that, too. It’s these people, though–the ones who were “supposed to” vote Hillary or not vote at all–who surprised so many of us, and there are plenty of others who were “supposed to” vote against Trump that are so disengaged or pissed at the system that they didn’t even bother to show up.
Instead of deciding that America is fucked beyond repair, that people who didn’t vote are lazy, that all Trump supporters are bad people, or that Donald Trump himself is a bad person, I’m going to take them as what they are: human. And really, we all just want the same thing. Everyone wants a better life, safety for their family, more security, and more good times than bad — even if that doesn’t look the same for all of us, and we disagree on how to get it.
No, I don’t think hate won this election. I think pain won.
Half our country has decided that the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain and uncertainty this change might bring. The pain of another human being is something I can’t ignore, and I don’t want to live in a world where one person’s pain is less important than another person’s because of who they voted for.
Yes, it might hurt for a little bit longer. It might hurt for a lot longer. But no man or woman, president or not, can dictate the outcome of my life, however much it may seem like they do. Uncertainty and the unknown actually creates the potential for things that are even better than anyone could have imagined, doesn’t it? So after the pain is processed is when you get to prove that you are the person you want to be. And if you aren’t that person yet or feel like you could be or should be doing more or you’re still angry and scared? This is where you get to start.
On this day, absolutely anything is possible.
And there’s always going to be one more bully. There’s always going to be one more racist, one more sexist, and one more person who does not agree with you or like you. There’s always going to be someone at the top who probably doesn’t deserve it, or who cheated their way there, or didn’t put the work in you think they should have. There’s always going to be one more time when you don’t get what you want. And there’s always going to be a time when the person or thing you choose just doesn’t work out.
So, the only thing for me to do now is to take my own pain and continue to choose with a deep knowing that there will be a better outcome for everyone. I choose to move forward. I choose to feel all of my feelings, in private or with the ones who love me most. I choose to process all my feelings so hard and so deeply and for as long as I need to so feelings that do not serve me will be stopped dead in their tracks and can not spread out among us.
I choose feelings of empowerment instead of those that leave me feeling powerless, because thats how we got here in the first place. I choose taking responsibility over placing blame. I choose to give the next president a chance to prove himself and surprise me instead of hoping that he fails. I choose to see the good in all people until they show me otherwise, and support people who are doing good in this world.
I choose to acknowledge and take responsibility for my own privilege and use it for good, not evil. I’ll choose to speak up more often for myself and others, especially those who may be afraid to use their own voice. I’ll choose to see those who feel unseen, and do what I can to protect the rights of people whose lives may truly be at risk as a result of this election. I will continue to show love and respect to the people who matter most to me, and support them in the ways they ask me to, not in the ways I think are best for them.
I will ask more questions, and do my best to be curious, not judgmental. I choose to fully accept this challenge we have been provided to practice love and acceptance and connectedness and creativity. I choose to do everything I can to show love in the face of hate, and to be kind in the face of rudeness, and to be compassionate in the face of intolerance. I choose to think before I speak, or say nothing when there is nothing productive to say. I will choose to do more things that matter, and shine light on things that have been hiding in the dark for so long. I choose not to disregard the progress we have already made, just because there is more work to do and a long road to travel.
I choose not be afraid of the future, now or ever.
“They’ve all underestimated our capacity for pain.”
Because all the times before when everything fell apart, when I thought there was no hope, when I thought everything was over and would never be good again? Is when I came back stronger and better. And that’s what we’re gonna do this time. We’re strong enough to always take just a little more. And the more it hurts, the deeper the cut, the more space there is for growth and healing.
And it still might get worse before it gets better.
But I’m going to make damn sure that I’m part of the better.
This was the year I ran away – again. I packed a suitcase. Put it in my car. I washed the dishes and made my bed. Watered my plants. Locked up my house. I drove away. I like to run away when it gets bad. I like to say there are no mistakes, that everything happens for a reason. This year I made a mistake that could have turned into something big. I could have and would have handled it, but I sure didn’t want to. I wanted to take it back. Turn back time. Lock myself inside my house and never come back out. Scoop out my outsides and wash them down the kitchen sink. Hang upside down and shake myself until all the pain stuck inside me was laying in a pile on the floor beneath me. Please, just let me start over. There really is no starting over, though, and sometimes I need to get out so I don’t get sucked in too deep. It just takes a little bit of time and space. I always come back. It’s the best part. Maybe I don’t like to run away. Maybe I want the come back part. Because when I get back, I can’t start over but I always find a way to start again.
This was the year I stopped letting the reason be the excuse, and stopped fooling myself into believing that an excuse is a good reason. An excuse is never a good reason, and using up energy to justify something is a sure sign that you should’ve stopped doing it a long time ago. I let the reason be the excuse when I say things like “I can’t go to yoga because my body hurts,” when the reason I need to go to yoga is so my body doesn’t hurt anymore. I pretend the excuse is a good reason when I give someone one more chance because I’m lonely, when the reason I’m lonely is because I spend time with people who don’t deserve any more chances. It sounds like, “Yeah, this project sucks, but I need the money.” “Yeah, this person flaked on me before, but I don’t have any other plans.” “Yeah, we’re not a good fit, but my friend set us up.” Too many yeah-buts and it’s time to start letting go. The things that are awesome and good for my life don’t need justification or explanation. They just feel good and make sense without a bunch of lame yeah-buts.
This was the year someone I just met told me I have a beautiful body, and I notice that all I want is to believe him but I don’t. What an asshole, I think. Why would he even say something like that? He doesn’t know anything about me and my body. Then I spend the next week wondering if maybe he really did think my body is beautiful? And all I want is to know how he could see a beautiful body in 30 seconds when I’ve been trying to see one for 30 fucking years. I think about it and I think about it until it hurts. My body does absolutely nothing but look out for me 24/7, keeping me alive, even when I’m not paying attention, even when I treat it like shit, and all I do is obsess about whether or not it looks good? I can allow myself to be shallow and superficial about some things, but I can’t allow myself to be shallow and superficial about that anymore. Ugh. And so I start to believe he was telling me the truth. I don’t believe it all day every day yet but I want to believe it more than anything. That’s a start. That guy will probably never know what he’s done for me.
This was the year I decided I’d rather be understood than liked. I get stuck because I don’t even understand myself sometimes and other times I’m in situations where I really want people to like me. But you can’t make people understand you any more than you can make people like who you really are, and you never know where or when or why it happens. This year someone I’ve know for a very long time stopped understanding me at all by telling me I shouldn’t do the one thing that makes me feel most like myself. A few months later I felt more understood than ever by someone I just met. He let me borrow his jacket and stood with me on a street corner in the middle of the night and let me read his writing. You’re reading this now, but I don’t know who you are and you can’t see me. If you were standing right next to me reading my writing I’d probably barf up my breakfast. Letting me do that, being that comfortable with someone you just met, knowing all I needed was a reminder that it’s ok to let people in sometimes? I don’t know the last time I felt so understood.
This was the year I did more yoga than I’ve ever done before, and I never feel less scared on my way to class. I’ve also never regretted going, not once. I’ll also never get used to the disgusting feeling of walking home in soaking wet yoga clothes, even though I’ll jump at any chance I get to go for a run in pouring rain. I feel like everyone is staring at me wondering why I’m walking around in soaking wet yoga clothes, which makes zero sense because I live in a town where you could throw a rock and hit a yogi. Somehow it feels like all the other soaking wet yoga people disappear the moment I step out of the studio and I’m the only sweaty freak for miles. I never think about any of these things during the one hour yoga class, though. I spend every second of that hour thinking only of my breath and my heartbeat and how it feels to be in my body and the universe and what it might all mean. Which is why I’ll probably never stop going to yoga, no matter how scared I get before every single class.
This was the year I said I love you to a guy I’ve been in love with forever. He said he loves me, too, but he loves someone else more. It was really sad but I wasn’t mad about this guy this time, because I think I love him with the kind of love that I’d only ever heard about, that I thought people lied about, the kind of love I didn’t even think I was capable of until the moment he said he wanted someone else instead of me. Because in that moment I felt something inside of me that I’ve never felt before, and his happiness was more important than mine, and it doesn’t matter if our lives aren’t together because part of my heart is with him forever and it feels safe there. And if what he wants is to be with someone else more and love her then that’s what I want, too. It didn’t break me this time like it did all the times before. It just cracked my heart wide open, ready for more. I owe him everything for that.
This was the year for more practice and less perfection. Because it seems to me that all the things that make someone great aren’t things you get right one time, the first time. They aren’t things that you either have or you don’t have. Almost every good thing is a skill and can be learned and practiced, and you have to practice at the things you want to actually get what you want. And by turning everything into a practice you can’t really ever mess them up, because practice is just something you do when you want to get better. No games or races. No winning or losing. Gratitude. Practice. Good attitude. Practice. Kindness. Practice. Happy thoughts. Practice. Good health. Practice. Some days the practice is easy. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes you’re good. Sometimes you’re not. Some days you even forget to show up. It doesn’t matter as long as you show up eventually, but the sooner the better. And the best part is you get to practice as much as you want and get as good as you want.
This was the year there’s some stuff I still can’t figure out. Like why looking at a picture of a thing is never as good as the way that thing made you feel in real life. Or why I’m stuck in one body that is also stuck in only one place at a time. I still don’t know how to politely tell a guy that the way he’s looking at me makes me want to peel my fucking face off, and he really shouldn’t look at anyone like that ever. Or why people say they want the truth and then get mad when you give it to them (which is probably why most people don’t tell you the whole truth when you ask them for it.) Sometimes I still can’t for the life of me figure out how the hell I got here.
Other stuff I know for sure. Like dancing alone in my kitchen fixes most problems, at least for a little while. I should never read the comments anywhere. Having peace is way better than having control. They’re both equally difficult to get, but peace is much easier to keep once you get there and most control isn’t even real. This is my favorite thing I wrote this year, possibly ever. Asking the right questions changes everything, and “right” answers to the wrong questions from the wrong people are fucking useless. Every once in a while, staying up all night is totally worth it. Things still always take longer than I think they will, but I’m getting much better at waiting. I should always watch the sunset, even when I tell myself there’s going to be another one tomorrow. All I’ve ever wanted is to feel free. Most days I do feel that way. And as far as I’ve come, it feels more and more like I’m just getting started. Sometimes it feels like I haven’t even started yet.
But what if they don’t want one? I tried to talk to him. It wasn’t the best time, but it was the only time that I had. He didn’t want to talk to me. He answered all my questions with questions. He didn’t even want to look me in the eye. (I don’t know why not. I get complimented on them all the time.) A week later he ignored me on the street, twice in one day. It hurts in a can’t breathe kind of way. I wish I didn’t hurt because of someone who does that. But it still hurts.
It’s possible he doesn’t like the way he acted and is embarrassed and doesn’t know what to say to me and is afraid of what I’ll say (I’m intimidating, remember?). It’s possible he thinks I’m mad and don’t want to talk to him again. I do want to talk to him, and I think everyone deserves a second chance. I think the more possible thing is that he doesn’t want a second chance from me, and it certainly seems like I’m not going to get one from him. Both these things are equally terrible.
If (blank) , don’t go on Facebook on a day that someone (blank).
Like, if your mother is dead, don’t go on Facebook on Mother’s day!
If you can’t get pregnant, don’t go on Facebook the day someone else announces they’re having a boy and are SO excited!
If you just got dumped, don’t go on Facebook the day someone uglier or meaner or more annoying than you gets engaged!
If you hate your job, don’t go on Facebook the day someone posts about their awesome vacation or big huge promotion!
If you’re not sure you can pay rent this month, don’t go on Facebook the day someone just got keys to their new house!
So, I guess don’t go on Facebook any day or time that you don’t feel amazing and awesome about anything and everything and everyone.
“Oops” or “What if?”
Would you rather make a mistake or always be wondering what if? I can’t choose. Because sometimes I decide that I don’t want to wonder what-if anymore, so I just do the thing and it ends up being an “oops” anyways. At least then you can stop wondering and move on with your life. And “oops” can’t really ever be a what if unless you’re thinking, “What if that never happened?”
And wondering about that is pointless, really, because it did happen and you can’t go back or change it or fix it or even explain yourself, not even if you try. I guess oops is all that’s left because it turns out any “what if” is either going to be awesome or is going to turn into an oops eventually anyways. So, instead of wondering what if we should just spend that time trying to love all the oops.
Hillary and OJ
OJ wins the case and it’s great for like two seconds while people are celebrating, thinking that there has been some huge progress made against racism. Then two seconds are over and OJ is still a murderer and people are still racists and nothing really changes and may have even been made worse, because the system just let a murderer go free.
You can think that having a woman president is going to be a huge big awesome deal for women everywhere, but is it? What if it just makes it worse, because instead of focusing on who is the best you focus on trying to make a point? I’m certainly a feminist and a woman president sure sounds awesome, until it stops being awesome because she’s still a gross corrupt politician and not the right woman for the job, and will likely not make much progress as a president, and ends up just making the whole thing go backwards because people can say she’s doing a terrible job “because she’s a woman” and takes the attention away from all the stuff that really actually matters.
How to Get What You Want
Right now I have the freedom to work when I want, where I want, how I want. I struggled for years so that I can go to yoga or get a massage or go to the beach in the middle of the day. I can go out partying on a Wednesday or work my ass off all weekend if that’s what I decide to do. This is what I want. This is what I like. You don’t know what I’ve done for this. I probably work more than you, too. I’m not sorry.
I guess when people see me doing whatever I want in the middle of the day they might get upset, because they also want to do whatever they want in the middle of the day, but they can’t because they have a job that they hate. This happened to me this week when someone I know saw me going for a leisurely walk with coffee in the middle of the day and told me to “Get a fucking job.”
The funny thing is that a surefire way to push away what you want is to judge and criticize the people who already have it. If you want lots of money, you can’t resent the wealthy. If you want to find love, you can’t feel anger towards every couple you see. If you want to be happy, you can’t spend your time around people who love being miserable.
And if you want to be free and to live life on your own terms, you can’t tell someone who has figured out how to do it that they’re doing something wrong.
A cute boy invited me out for a drink, and I turned him down because I’m in sweatpants reading a book. This might not sound like a big deal to you, but for a girl who not so long ago would never turn down a drink or a cute boy, who is also very single and (almost) lonely?
That’s definitely not the obvious choice. So, here’s more on my nerd alert.
Have you ever read something or heard something that was just so real and so true for you that it almost feels like it changes everything you know about everything in an instant?
Something that is so, so true for you that it’s almost like you’re not even reading it, but remembering that you already know it deep down in the absolute center of your core?
It happens to me sometimes. It may be the reason why I even read books. I’m just searching for a sentence or few that will give me that feeling. There is some sort of magic in that moment where you can feel something another person wrote with every inch of your being. Some sort of comfort, some small freedom from the pain, some sort of relief that at some point another human felt the exact same way that you did.
You’re not alone after all. Not even close.
The line of this book that sucker punched me right in the gut?
“The worst that can happen is that I think you think about me what I think about myself. So I am sitting in a pool of me.”
– Byron Katie, (Queen of being at peace with what is)
I actually slapped my forehead with an open palm. I almost laughed out loud. It was so true for me right now. I don’t know about you, but sometimes this “pool of me” gets murky and gross as fuck.
One of my life resolutions (I think normal-not-Katey people call them new year’s resolutions) this year was to be less affected by what other people do and say, and stop caring so much what other people think. I can get super sensitive at times and am hyper aware of other people’s energy. Sometimes I love this about myself, but it also drains me and frustrates me to no end when I just want to shut off.
I want to truly not be offended by anything anyone says. I want to not be so affected by anything anyone does. I don’t want to take anything personally. I want to act, not react. I want to be so firm and deeply grounded in myself that nobody can push me over unless it’s really freaking important. I want to know myself so well and so deeply that I know immediately if what someone says is truth, or not truth, or simply not truth for me, and be able to move on effortlessly.
“The worst that can happen is that I think you think about me what I think about myself.”
I’m not actually worried about what you’re thinking about me. I’m worried that you’re thinking all the worst things I think about myself.
And as much as I wish it was my business sometimes, what others think of me isn’t really any of my business. Plus, despite what a person says or does we can’t really ever truly know what another person is actually thinking. Even if we could, it wouldn’t matter.
Because really, what can someone say to me or about me that I don’t already know about myself?
What could they possibly say that I haven’t already thought or know about myself?
We are our worst critics after all. We all know that I go pretty dark sometimes. So really, any thought that any other person could have about me? Couldn’t possibly be worse than the things I’ve thought myself. Even if someone says something to me that hurts, or that I’ve tried to forget, or would rather not hear, the reason it hurts isn’t because I’m not aware of it. It’s because I already do know about it, and didn’t want them to know, too. That’s the part that makes it hurt.
(Side note rant: People almost always know what they need to work on. You can’t help someone by using their insecurities against them or by throwing their flaws in their face. Give them a break. Especially if you love them and want them in your life. Rant over.)
But nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Other people can see you from the outside but only you can see you from the inside. Sometimes it can help to use other people’s perception of you. Sometimes people can see things you can’t that will help you. Most of the time, though, it’s everyone else that is missing the information. For better or worse, they don’t know what it’s like to be you, to live in your body. They don’t know your thoughts or your dreams or your plans or experiences. They don’t know everything about you, and anything they do know about it is based on their own life and their own thoughts and dreams and plans and experiences.
It reminds me of that time my dad was telling me and my mother a story about when he was a kid. After more than 30 years of marriage and shared lives, my mother never knew this story or how much it had affected my father.It’s almost as if we can’t ever really know another person.
So how do we make that hurt go away?
Well, that’s easy. You just stop.
I don’t have to be worried or afraid of what you’re thinking about me anymore because it’s only what I’m thinking about myself. And I can change my thoughts at any time.
So…I guess I’ll stop doing that to myself now. And if I can stop doing it, you can stop doing it, too.
So this is where I’ll be. Sitting over here in a pool of me, turning this dirty murky water into the clearest, cleanest, most sparkling flowing liquid you’ve ever seen.