Nov 092016
 

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.



 November 9, 2016
Sep 232016
 

It was a good year.

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.

It was a good year. It was the best year ever.



 September 23, 2016
May 132016
 

Everyone Deserves a Second Chance

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.



 May 13, 2016
Apr 292016
 

Nerd alert.

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.

And you can think whatever you want about it. 😉



 April 29, 2016
Apr 262016
 

My friend’s wife was knocking on the bathroom door. I don’t know how long I’d been locked inside. All I know is that it had been long enough to warrant a door knock from a woman I barely knew.

I’d been staring in the mirror, talking to myself.

“What are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing?”

I asked myself over and over again out loud. I wonder if they could hear me? I couldn’t stop staring myself in the eyes, asking.

“What are you doing? What are you doing?”

I didn’t know what the hell I was doing there, and I was determined to figure it out. I stared at myself in the mirror and asked myself. I didn’t have an answer yet, so I just kept asking. It was late, long after last call. I looked beautiful and totally partied out, so drunk and confused and sad and that special kind of lonely you feel when you’re in a room full of people. Everyone else knew what they were doing there. I knew how I got there. I knew what everyone else was doing there. I knew that I didn’t want to be there, doing what I was doing.

“What are you doing?”

Sometimes, you just gotta ask. We’ve all been there. Well, I hope we have. If I’m the only one that has ever asked, “Why did I do that,” or “What are you doing,” or “ugh, what’s wrong with me?!” my problem might be bigger than I thought.

Your favorite self-help guru would try to comfort me by saying there isn’t such thing as a wrong decision or mistake. They’d say that we’re all doing the best we can, with the information we have, with the thoughts we believed at the time. If you knew better, or could have done better, you would have. That’s all great, and pretty accurate in my experience, but it does little to comfort a person in the moments after they’ve decided and are living with a decision they aren’t sure about, finding themselves not having a clue what they did or how they got there.

And then, what about when somebody else decides these things for you?

Maybe someone breaks up with you out of the blue. You don’t get picked for the job. Your crush doesn’t call. You get fired without any warning. You walk out of the store into the parking lot to find your bumper crushed into your trunk. Your best friend decides to move to the other side of the country. Somebody you thought would be around forever gets sick or dies.

That’s when I stop asking and start shouting, “Hey, nobody asked me if I wanted any of this. Why didn’t anybody ask me?!”

Just kidding. (Kind of.)

I take full responsibility for my decisions and attitude as much as I can, but it’s not always fun and almost never easy. Especially because I don’t always even know why I make the decisions that I do. The bathroom incident happened a few years ago. I hadn’t even thought about it until the other night when I found myself in a similar situation, and can’t remember having been in a similar situation since that time many years ago. I’d say that’s a pretty good track record for finding yourself in yucky situations that your own decisions put you in.

Twice in five years? Damn, that’s winning!

But when it’s me, I beat myself up all over town for days having some sort of existential crisis about who I am and about what I’m doing with my whole life and about how everything I’ve accomplished is silly and completely wasted because of things I did or said, or didn’t do or didn’t say, or what other people think, or who so-and-so thinks I am after one night of a little too much fun.

Stop, Katey. Just stop.

Maybe we need those moments.

The ones where we have no clue who we are or what we’re doing. The moments when you do something that is just so not you. Or maybe it’s who you were at one time, but not anymore. We need those moments to remind us of how far we’ve come, to ground us in the fact that we aren’t invincible or perfect. We need them to prove that we’re all doing the best we can, but that we can also always do a little bit better. We need these moments to remind us of the type of person we don’t want to be so that we can become the best version of ourself.

And the best part is? You get to decide from one moment to the next who you are. If who you are in this moment doesn’t match up with who you want to be in the next, you get to change it. Even if it’s one of those somebody-else-decided, out-of-your-control moments, at the very least you get to choose how you feel about it and how you’re going to be from each moment forward.

As for me, well, I can’t promise that I’ll never have “too much fun” again. But I can promise that I’ll be nicer to myself if it happens. That way, if I do find myself staring at in the mirror again, I’ll love the girl I see for doing everything she can to do better and be better in each next moment.



 April 26, 2016
Mar 132016
 

I keep waking  up in the middle of the night with no clue where I am while my heart feels like it’s beating out of my chest.

This is surely a symptom of a two week solo backpacking trip to the Dominican Republic. It’s been almost a week since I got home. I’m extremely passionate about getting a good night’s sleep so I hope this symptom resolves itself soon.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: travel–solo travel, specifically–is the biggest and best shortcut that exists for personal growth and self-awareness. I get that travel is not for everyone. To be honest, I don’t know if travel is really for anyone.

That’s the point.

Traveling alone to a foreign land you’ve never been before where they don’t speak your language sounds almost ridiculous on paper. It sounds like a romantic and exciting adventure to bring only yourself and a backpack to a place where nobody knows you and anything could happen. It is definitely both of those things. It’s also a lot of other things, too.

It’s turning a quick 3-4 hour bus ride turned into a 12 hour mess that included one overpriced taxi, one missed bus, one wrong bus that broke down, one wrong bus that dropped me off on the side of the freeway, another taxi, one right bus, and one moto ride from a kind stranger to get me to my hotel. It’s drinking rum and eating grilled lobster on an island in the middle of the carribean sea.

It’s getting stared at and whispered about because you’re the only white girl for miles. It’s misunderstandings and miscommunications and never really knowing for sure if you understand or if you’re being understood. It’s meal after meal alone, and always with a prayer that you’ll actually get what you ordered and that it won’t make you sick. It’s sunburns and bug bites and wearing the same dirty clothes for two weeks. It’s paying extra for a special car to get to your friend’s wedding early, and being told that it starts at 4pm in the church when the wedding actually starts at 5pm on the beach.

It’s completely trusting strangers with your life because you have no other choice, and because the only way to know if you can trust someone is to trust them. It’s completely trusting yourself and your gut to keep you safe.

These things happen, and then something else happens. You find yourself in a moment, completely in awe of where you are and what you’re doing. It is beautiful. You are grateful. You also might be crying.

You know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you can go anywhere and do anything and be anyone you want to be.



 March 13, 2016
Feb 032016
 

There’s something I want you to know about me:

I’m not afraid of the dark.

Not anymore, anyways.

I used to be afraid of the dark. Very afraid. I’ll tell you why in a minute, but first I’m going to tell you what I mean by “the dark.”

I don’t mean the sleepy time dark. This isn’t about turning out the light and then taking a running leap onto your bed so the monsters underneath can’t grab your ankles. I don’t mean the planet earth dark. This isn’t about the sun going down, or the blackness of a new moon, or how creepy and still it gets during the dead hours of the night. Dark isn’t a hair color or a skin color or a type of coffee.

The dark I’m talking about? It’s a part of me. It’s a part of you. It’s a part of us.

I know what some of you are thinking. Some of you are thinking that you don’t have that dark side. You’ve done all the work to get rid of your dark, or you were raised right, or born all good and light inside. Dark is for criminals or deadbeats and losers. You’re one of the normal, healthy, smart, successful, optimistic, happy, or always-look-on-the-bright-side-of-things type of people.

Guess what? Me, too.

I would use all of those words to describe myself. And right now, I am happier and more proud of my life than I have ever been. I move closer to my personal goals and vision of success almost every day. I spend most of my time doing exactly what I want to do, and most of the time I feel the way I want to feel. I’ve been called sweet, strong, fearless, special, inspirational, and radiant before. I believe that I am all of those “good” things.

I have also been called reckless, dark (most recently after my last post), crazy, lazy, scary, mentally unstable, stubborn, intimidating, the devil–by my mother!–and a bitch more times than I’d like to admit. I can be all of those things, too. 

Dark and light. I have both. I want both.

Parts of me are dark. Other parts of me are light. Some are serious and raw and deep and ugly and they hurt. Some are bright and airy and silly and they feel good. I love all these parts. I have to love them all because really, one doesn’t exist without the other. All the parts exist for a reason. All the parts have a purpose. All the parts need love. All the parts need recognition. I don’t have to hate any part of myself in order to love an opposing part. I don’t have to hide one part of me in order to show another. I don’t have to choose to be this or that, because I am this AND that.

This means that I love the simple joys of this life while feeling burdened by the complexities of who I am and why I’m here. I live in constant awe of the beauty of the universe and am in full awareness of the world’s suffering–mine included–all at the same time. I walk around with a genuine smile on my face while still processing the pain of a broken heart. I know about the chaos and troubles happening in my own neighborhood and still feel safe at night in my bed. I can live in complete gratitude for who I am and what I have, and still want to be more and have more. I can fully give in to really awful, uncomfortable feelings and thoughts with complete confidence that it won’t kill me and I will make it out the other side.

Here’s the thing, dear reader. I feel very deeply in all directions and always have. I am a very private person, but want so much to wear my heart on my sleeve. I spent my childhood being told I was too sensitive, which is probably one of the reasons it’s so hard for me to let other people in and why my throat chakra is consistently blocked. I can’t always say the things I want to say, and so I write. I write everything that is inside of me because I want to be free. I want to be seen. I want people to know me. All of me. Dark sides, light sides, and everything in between. It may be too much at times, but my words are on purpose. These words are my truth. These words make me whole.

I used to be afraid of the dark. I spent years hating my dark. I didn’t want anyone to see it or know it was there. I tried to hide it, cover it up, push it down, run from it, and make it go away. I lived in constant fear of being found out or abandoned or judged. As a result, I ended up lost and far, far away from everything I wanted. All things light and seemingly good were just out of reach until I started paying attention to this dark. I started observing it. I started asking it questions. I started loving it. I started showing it compassion. I started showing it here on this blog to let others know that their dark is OK, too. And now?

I am a better writer. I am a better person. I am a better soul.

I am just…better.

No, I’m not afraid of the dark anymore. It’s OK if you are, and I hope one day you won’t be. I know it can be hard to see but the dark is beautiful, too.

“It is by embracing all of who we are that we can earn the freedom to choose what we do in this world.”       Debbie Ford

A handful of books have changed my life. One of them is The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford. It is a big reason why this post exists and should be required reading before you’re allowed to be an adult. (Side note: At age 31, I’m still not an actual adult and don’t know if I’ve ever met one.) If you haven’t read it, please read it.

 



 February 3, 2016
Jan 312016
 

IMG_9124I’m sitting at the end of the Ocean Beach pier, writing, listening to music in the dark. I’ve been to the other side of the world and back, and this is still one of my favorite places to be. Being able to walk here from my house is humbling and ridiculous and not real all at the same time.

I’ve been to the end of this pier a million times before. It always feels different at night. A little bit scary. A little bit exciting. Still, I feel safe here. Tonight, I’ve had a bit of wine and the surf is so big that I can feel the pier rocking back an forth. A surge of nausea moves through me every few minutes and I kind of like it.

It’s gloomy and dark and quiet enough that it feels like anything could happen. A rogue wave could come in at any second and wash me away. Lightning could strike, or a plane coming in could crash in the water right in front of me. My mermaid fairy godmother could swim up to the surface below me and call out my name, or a giant sea monster could swallow the pier up whole. A stranger could run up behind me and throw me over the railing into the freezing Pacific or slit my throat with a knife or ask me for help or tell me he thinks I’m the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen.

Yes, these are the things I think about when I’m alone in the dark at the end of the pier. I’m sharing my premonitions here as a sort of insurance policy. Isn’t that how it works? Once you share your fears or say them out loud they can’t ever happen. It’s like making a wish on your birthday and then blowing out the candles. If you tell someone your birthday wish it can’t come true. So, I’m telling you the strange thoughts that cross my imagination. I don’t want any of those things to happen. Well, maybe the stranger telling me I’m beautiful is OK–as long as he was single and moderately handsome with good intentions. But that mermaid fairy godmother thing? I’m pretty sure even that would freak me out.

Do you see what I’m dealing with up in my mind? I don’t want it to go there, but it goes there. I can’t stop it.

The San Diego winter gloom might finally be getting to me. The end of year high I was feeling might be wearing off. I’m back to work and I love it. But something is missing. I still don’t know what it is. My mind is going crazy. I’m going crazy.

I think I’m bored. Ugh, I hate that word. It takes me back to my childhood when my mother would say “only boring people get bored” or tell me to “use my imagination.” (I love you, Mom!)

But…I’m bored and try everything I know to not be bored. I feel nothing, so I do anything I know to make me feel things. I sit at the end of the pier thinking about how I’ll survive that rogue wave and save all those plane crash victims. I walk around at night with headphones blasting Fetty Wap into my ears so my other senses are on high to anything going on around me. I watch Grey’s Anatomy reruns because I know it will make me cry. I push my body until I’m in physical pain. I throw money around until I’m stressed about paying rent. I eat sugar until my stomach hurts. I go out with boys I don’t like. I daydream for hours about the boys that will never ask me out. I drink wine and vodka until it’s time to go to bed, and then it’s finally tomorrow and I get to start over again and be one day closer to having it all figured out and be one day closer to the day that I feel something again.

I do all of it. Because feeling anything is almost always better than feeling nothing. And there’s nothing worse than feeling nothing until you get to the point where even feeling nothing starts to hurt.

It’s OK, guys. I’m not worried. I’ve been worried about myself before, but not this time.

Because this time I know that the feeling part is coming. I know that sometimes feeling bad is better than feeling nothing. I also know that feeling nothing isn’t always bad. And I know that feeling nothing once in a while doesn’t  mean that there’s something wrong with me.

And I know that most of the time…feeling bad or feeling nothing?

Is what comes right before you feel better than you ever thought possible.



 January 31, 2016
Jan 262016
 

“She has it all,” I told him.

I really think she does. I had just spent days studying this amazing woman. She is hot. Rich. Likable, well-known and respected. Funny, smart. Extremely generous with her time and money. In a solid relationship. Owns a successful business. The list could go on. She has worked for all of it. She deserves all of it. My favorite part is she never ever seems to take it for granted. Most of me loves her. Part of me wants to be her. Part of me wonders why I’m not my own version of her yet. The last part of me wonders if there are women out there that ever look at me and think that I’m the one that has everything.

“Nobody has it all,” he said.

I appreciated the effort to make me feel better.

“Yeah. I know.” I said. I didn’t believe it, though.

I felt deflated when I should have felt inspired. I felt like a failure when I should have felt more motivated than ever. I wanted to be proud of this woman. I wanted to see her as proof that a woman not that different from me really can have it all. Instead, I wanted to be anyone that seems to have the things I want. I wanted to be everyone that appears to be the anything I so want to be. I wanted to be anyone but myself, negative self-talking myself into a black hole about why I’m not further along in any and all areas of my life. Yuck.

I think we’ve all read about why we–women in particular–fall into this comparison trap. I’m not here to talk about society’s influences and pressures and bias. It’s all very interesting and valid. But I don’t care about it all that much. Why this happens doesn’t matter to me. Society isn’t going to completely change anytime soon. All we’re left with to completely change is ourselves. Unfortunately, my stubborn self was pretty intent on staying completely sorry for myself for the time being.

As I wallowed in self-pity, I picked up my phone to distract myself and scrolled through my camera roll. I came across a picture I took several weeks ago:

1172334_577059402459510_1267653055_n

I had to laugh at how perfect it was.

“Another woman’s beauty is not the absence of your own.”

It was the reminder that I so needed.

That I am exactly where I am supposed to be. That everyone else is, too. That we don’t need to down the best parts of ourselves for fear of outshining others. That there is enough for everyone. That there is room for more. That we can all have it all.

And that no amount of beauty or happiness or riches another has can take away the power you have to love yourself. 



 January 26, 2016
Dec 302015
 

Bye-bye, 2015.

I don’t even know why I come to the coffee shop to write. I always end up with tears in my eyes and then I’m that girl that’s crying at the coffee shop. I guess if I really cared about being the girl who cries at the coffee shop I’d relocate. Instead I like it a little bit when people catch me crying. I wipe my cheek and half-smile to let them know I’m OK. I hope they also know it means they can cry at the coffee shop if they want to, too.

It’s the second to last day of the year and I am feeling it for sure. Reading all my old new year’s posts here, here and here before I write the next one is always the best. This time is no different. This year sure got off to a rocky start. Now we’re a day away from 2016 and my life is almost unrecognizable. So what changed my life this year?

Moving back into my own place. Taking email off my cell phone. Buying another FitBit. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. My job. My boss. This Ted talk. Growing my own flowers and my own food. Getting my 11 year old neighbor to like me. Painting more. Reading more. Finally letting go of the boy who broke me. Tinder, of all places, reminding me that there are guys out there. Practicing gratitude every single day. Making two super big and scary  investments in myself before knowing how I would pay for them (I was worth it.) Saying no when I wanted to without apologizing for it. Taking a much needed break without apologizing for it. Being honest about my feelings without apologizing for it.

And a silly little electric wood stove.

As for 2016, nothing will really change. I want to learn how to stop taking myself so seriously. I want to learn to fall in love without losing myself. I want to connect more with the people I love. Travel more. Read more. Write more. Dance more. Eat delicious healthy food more. Drink good wine more. Create more stuff. Trust the Universe more. Become myself more. Love myself more. Live in the moment more, always remembering that the best is yet to come.

And yes, this year was once again better than the last. And yes, all I still want is more and more of this beautiful life.



 December 30, 2015