What a Baby

I’ve been complaining a lot lately. Not so much complaining, per se, but voicing my annoyances with my life out loud. Being sad is an emotion I understand internally, but have always expressed in a really weird way externally. I have tried really hard on multiple occasions to cry from sadness because I felt like I was supposed to. Of course I was devastated when my childhood dog was blindly running into walls and we finally made the call to put him down. However, I sat there on the floor, holding his paw, my eyes as dry as they’d ever been. The other day I finally went through my phone and started to clear out all of the photos of me and my ex husband. I didn’t shed a tear. Even when I made the decision to walk away from my marriage, to pack all my things and move in with friends, they’d linger in my doorway, awkwardly anticipating an emotional breakdown of some kind from me. But I never had one.

Oddly enough, I cry about all kinds of other things. I cried when the guy I liked made fun of my pancakes. I cried when I got lost on the way to a job interview. I cried when my Mary Kate and Ashley doll’s sweater didn’t button correctly.

I spent most of last week laying in my room with the blinds drawn, drinking wine from the bottle, waiting to cry. I was upset that I had lost my job, that my plans for the future were drawing closer than I had planned, that I was car-less, money-less, and just a general loser.

At this point, anyone who knows me has lost complete interest in this list of grievances because they are lame (the grievances, not the people). I’m aware that they are lame. I’m aware that they are fixable. I could easily still be celebrating my grad school success and not watching reruns of Will and Grace trying to cry like a normal sad person.

For whatever reason, my own body and mind won’t even allow me to victimize myself. I tried to express my concerns to a friend and I quickly began to grow irritated by the sound of my own voice. I didn’t even feel bad for myself anymore.

When you become so highly self aware, it’s nearly impossible to be a victim, because even you know WHY things are happening the way they are, and more importantly, WHAT to do about it. In terms of self care, I’ve done nothing. In terms of financial planning, less than nothing. I’m fortunate that I still have some friends and family that will tolerate me when I’m down, but trust me guys, I know…I need to get ahold of myself.

The truth is, I am sad. I will experience a deep, crushing sadness that takes over my frame multiple times a year- sometimes multiple times a day. I’d venture to guess that a lot of people who struggle with mental illness feel irritated by their own emotions, and that only makes said negative feelings stronger. Not knowing the root cause of pain, anxiety, exhaustion, stress is a personal hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But this time it’s different because I understand that my sadness- today- is simply caused by a lack of control. Things didn’t go my way.

As I continue to venture through this weird life, I must consistently remind myself of where my worth comes from. It comes from me. Not a car, not a job, not a bank account, not a boyfriend  or husband (or lack thereof).

My tear ducts may be totally disfunctional, but the rest of me isn’t…yet. Of course I’d love it if everyone babied me and told me how unfair life is, but I think we all know (myself included) that that is not the way to success. I want to be held, I want all the answers given to me in a gentle way, I want my toy’s accessories to work properly. Better yet, someone just fix everything for me!!!!!

For whatever reason- random chance or the universe in motion- this is the hand I was dealt this time. It’s tricky and it isn’t fun, but I’m capable. I always have been, and I always will be.

 

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Spiritual AF

Working in the yoga community has been an interesting experience for me. I din’t grow up religious; I wasn’t raised with any kind of background of belief. My parents’ instructions were simple: be nice, don’t get hurt. All the way through my teens and adulthood, I had a hard time comprehending how anyone could grow a connection to anything, especially a random figure in the heavens.

I’ve never been personally drawn to pretty colored rocks, to the sounds of people chanting, to beads around my neck, or to a book that claims to know every answer. This isn’t an attack on anyone or anything- it’s just the way I feel. I often wonder what it would it would be like to have blind faith, or to even have a more open heart. As a result of my direct work in a more spiritual atmosphere, I am often confronted with seemingly easily solutions to my day-to-day struggles. Eat vegan. Do more yoga. Focus harder. Visualize. Meditate. Breathe. I don’t see any strong dissimilarities to the religious rituals I found myself shuddering from at a young age: Pray. Believe. Repent. Read the Bible. Get baptized. Etc, etc.

I’ve never been one to say that something isn’t real, or doesn’t work, because I don’t know, and frankly, neither do you. I actually have an extensively nerdy belief in aliens. It’s an area where I’ve done the most research, read the most books, and where my belief system could primarily lie, if you needed to give it a direction.

Working and existing amongst spiritual people has it’s own set of challenges. Per example, if you are experiencing a difficulty or a frustration in your life, it is likely that it is of your own making. You didn’t visualize the outcome you wanted hard enough. You didn’t move your favorite furniture into the right corner of your house. You didn’t love yourself the right way. There are a billion reasons why your life, right now, sucks, and it’s probably because of you.

Am I simplifying an open-minded, loving belief system to it’s core? Certainly. But because I am who I am, and I live with the realities that I do, I am frequently challenged to accept the forces of the universe at work.

Due to my personal background and my experiences, it has been more simple for me to accept that the world is random. Things happen for no reason, there is likely no God or greater power looking over us, and nothing means nothing means nothing.

However, I would be a liar if things didn’t occur in my life that I didn’t take notice of. I’d be dishonest if I said I didn’t walk into an aquarium and stare in awe at the beauty of every single fish, wondering if someone hand painted them to be that beautiful. Humans are weird as fuck. We kill and we destroy and ruin great things. But we’ve made some amazing works of art too. As an artist, I’m continuously conflicted by the idea that something greater could be at play.

Here’s the thing: my life has been basically shit for the past year. I lost everything I’ve ever cared about, and I’ve failed on my own scale of measure. Over and over and over again I cried and begged for something to make sense, but things just kept getting stripped away.

Two weeks ago, I got my first acceptance letter into an MFA program. This is something I’ve worked for endlessly. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. But two days later, I lost my job. I lost my security, my income, my sense of self…everything that kept me grounded to my hometown until the inevitable move.

It is much easier for me to see this as a random occurrance. Lay offs and job troubles happen everyday. But why, WHY, am I being so viciously forced out of a role just 30 hours after the opportunity of a lifetime. WHY did my car fall apart and then become totaled after I fled from the home I shared with my ex-husband. WHY did two completely qualified teachers just happen to miss their shifts after I debated for months to audition for the space at the yoga studio I now call home? Is everything coincidence? Is everything that random?

Or…is it possible that this big, beautiful universe is catching on to my doubt and realizing that if I’m not physically forced into my own future, I might never take the chance? I will ignore a million red flags if it means I can receive love. I will do anything to prove that the world is random, and that I am a floating, replaceable speck on this earth. But then my friend said something to me that I couldn’t shake: “What if this is what you’re here to do?”

“What if every ounce of pain, every missed connection, every challenge, every failure, was so that you could do this?”

If I’m not writing I literally don’t know who I am. Perhaps every single moment of my confusing, scary, painful, and sometimes beautiful life is all accumulating to the moment where I become everything I’ve ever wanted to be…and maybe it will all make sense. And maybe it won’t. Maybe it’s just as random as expected.

Stranger things have happened. I’m still going to read alien abduction books- so why not take a chance on magic? I believe in myself…do you?

My Biggest Fear

Want to know a secret? I loved being married. I loved everything about it. The words “my husband” rolled so easily off my tongue it’s like they were the only two words I’d ever known. Setting into our little apartment every night, getting comfy, lounging around drinking Moscow mules and watching our favorite shows…waking up every morning and having someone to talk to, some who (I thought) loved me. The idea that I could text someone whenever I wanted, about anything at all, and never have to worry about being annoying. We didn’t have a lot of anything, really, but I felt so loved and safe in my home. I wouldn’t have changed it if you paid me a million dollars.

As a last ditch effort to “make it work”, my ex and I went to couple’s counseling. During one of our sessions, he (my ex) said that all he hoped from whatever outcome would present itself was that I wasn’t damaged beyond repair. He said he was worried that my heart would close off, and that he would hate it if I never opened myself to love again. His words terrified me. Was he right? Would I be like this forever? Would I constantly want to dig through his (or someone else’s) phone logs and feel prickly from the inside out?

During the fallout of our relationship and the months (year) that continued, his words weighed heavy on me. It felt like he was right. I hated pretty much everyone I met, I was angry, cold, and anything- I mean anything- could make me cry at the drop of a dime. I hated the new me, and I began to grow scared that I’d never go back to normal.

About a month ago, I found myself in somewhat of a relationship. I know guys my age don’t like to commit to words like ‘dating’ or ‘relationship’, or, God forbid, ‘boyfriend’, which is strange as it nearly felt like yesterday I was placing the ring on a finger of a man the same age.

But whatever, I was in a “thing” that was challenging me, a lot. There were confusing feelings, conflicting declarations of adoration (and the opposite), and I found myself going from very high highs, to extremely low lows. While this is part of life, and it happens all the time, I was so pleased beyond anything else because I was able to return to joy. I found myself getting nervously excited at the prospect of seeing this person again. I felt warm and comforted in his embrace. I felt inspired to create an environment of safety and communication. I even bought a birthday gift!

I don’t know whether or not this…”thing”…will last, or go anywhere, or how he truly feels about me for that matter. But I do know one thing: I am not damaged beyond repair. I am not broken. The part of me that was open to love, that was brave and trusting and willing to give my heart away has not been taken from me. Sure, this me might not be as bright and shiny as before, but all the fears that my ex and myself instilled in me have been silenced by my very own patience and kindness.

Honestly, if I can do it- so can you. There is always room for more.