Blogging life…

Love Thyself.

Who’s the most important love of your life? If you are looking outside of yourself, consider another point of view.

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I’ve struggled to write this entry for weeks now. Was there an inciting incident? Yes. Isn’t there always? At first it seemed like an obvious but herculean thing, something that’s been lingering in my heart for a long time, and I had finally gathered some courage. I was finally gonna give it life, with no expectations, just the chance to speak my heart. It was on the tip of my tongue. I’m not good with these kinds of things. That kind of vulnerability renders me absolutely shaking, feeling completely naked in front of a person who’s capable of smashing my heart in their hands. My mouth, which often shoots off unbidden, is remarkably silent; glued shut.

So the moment came, and then…..

The moment left.

In the way that moments often do.

You see, I’d learned my lesson before. I’ve been burned. A lot. And I told myself I would NEVER let anyone have that kind of power over me ever again. But I think, when I made that vow to myself, I went too far the opposite direction and I shut off a part of myself and left her in the dark, in the guise of “being Strong”.  I’m mad at myself for letting that moment pass by. Disheartened that I lost my courage. Emotional because I was/am so close, and I just want what I want. I have so much gumption in every area of my life – but I struggle with love, abandonment and feeling like I am enough.  I have struggled with this challenge for the whole of my existence.  After the “Inciting Incident” I sat in Las Vegas, taking in a lovely view of lights, and planes making their approach to the airport, trying to get my heart together. To be perfectly candid, normally, I would go out and drink it away, and that thought had crossed my mind on this go around as well. Vegas is a perfect place to go hide behind smokescreens of excess.  But instead, after arriving that afternoon, I took a nap. I woke up in the early evening, and found myself settled in my room, cup of tea in hand and sitting in front of this screen, feeling raw as hell, trying to finally soothe my soul, once and for all. I started writing. I express myself so much better on a page. I had a whole entry done and lined up.  But it didn’t feel complete – it didn’t feel like I’d said all I wanted to say. So I waited and thought this out.

All of my life, the concepts of love have baffled me. I’ve talked about it in the context of romantic relationships and familial relationships. I’ve never tackled the topic in a singular focus – love of one’s self.  Did I have to learn how to define Love before I ventured into that territory?  Is Love, in fact, its very own language? Are there hidden pieces of love in what people say and do? Is it a tangible THING? Something we can hold tightly to our chests, or something better thrown out into the universe around us, without any kind of discernment as to who “deserves” it?

I realize that Love is a subconscious obsession of mine, but also something I’ve actively run from and withheld from myself.  I’ve only just owned up to it.  I’m an over-thinker so bear with me but……How do I earn love? How do I know how much is enough or if I need more? What are the signs of love? What kind of love is “appropriate” for each person?  Do I really know how to love? Am I loved? How do I get “that” kind of love. Why does love come easier to some as opposed to others? Why are there times that I try to deny that I love as much as I do, to the point that it causes me literal physical pain? What is it about humanity that makes us think we are not worthy of it? Why can’t we love ourselves the way we love some people around us? All I know, is that it has been this topic that has consumed my psyche for the whole of my life.  In some way shape or form. I’ve always felt that it’s the reason that we are put on this planet: To figure out what love is and how to do it.

How do we figure this all out? Author of The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman, posits that we all have a love language. His breaks down into five categories: physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and receiving gifts. So I took the quiz and learned my language, not at all surprised at the results, if I were to sit down and really analyze them. So that was a step in me recognizing how I view people “speak” to me in the language I determine is love. William Goldman, author of The Princess Bride, ventures to say that “As You Wish” actually means “I Love You”. How did Buttercup figure that out? Why did it take her so long? Because Westley kept doing any and all things she asked? Because he got mad and told her off and went and made eyes at a Countess, which sent Buttercup into a tumultuous fit of jealousy causing her finally see how she really felt about him? Was it some kind of game on his part to get her to finally throw herself at his feet so to speak, so that he would finally have his chance to come clean? (If you haven’t read the book, this is actually how it really happens, the movie just glosses over this beautiful moment of conflict in her, unfortunately)  In that same vein, another author echoes a similar sentiment:

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Love resides in song and poetry. Words from the heart that somehow capture the grief and simultaneous exultations of being in love.  Some of my favourite songwriters (Bryan Adams, Phil Collins, Thom Yorke and Peter Gabriel to name a few) have a sheer gift of talking about how we can reside in this space of conflicting emotion and come out more whole than when we went in. Bono of U2 writes ballads that speak of residing only in love, in any way, shape, or form we can, no matter the dysfunction, love is the only thing that will save us in the end, that love is all we have left. The Bible tells us that three things remain: Faith, Hope and Love and that the greatest of these things is Love. Love has been defined by the likes of Rilke, Lord Byron and Tennyson as the thing shared among a mentor/disciple, a secret admirer/object of affection, and knights/noblewomen of the court.  I’ve even Googled love. Seriously. (FYI, the definition is convoluted and not at all clear.) So I would venture to say, if you could figure out the love language of yourself, then feasibly, you could unlock the languages of your family or your friends, your significant other. You could find a way to tap into a hidden well of love and communication thus far unseen with them.

How do we determine what love is and where it comes from?  One might argue that if I cite my sources, I should be an expert of sorts on that. I have examples from parents, friends, family, I’ve been in a longterm relationship, I’ve been engaged. I’ve been broken up with. I’ve been left. I’ve been an object of affection. I’ve read all kinds of love stories, plays and novels. I watch deep, thought-provoking family dramas, finding love lost in time and space, films about unrequited love, films about love conquering all obstacles. I’ve been in love. Fallen out of love. Fell back in love. Loved my family even in dysfunction. Loved my cat that I had for sixteen years. Loved my horse that I grew up with into my thirties. Loved friends I’ve made along the way. Loved a thousand hobbies and experiences that I’ve had or have. I’ve listened to dozens of songs about true love, unrequited love, bad love, tragic love, passionate lustful love, and lukewarm love. I’ve nursed friends through break-ups and potential relationships, hookups and dry spells. For the longest time, I’ve known nothing and everything all at the same time. So to talk about love to others felt easier when it wasn’t about me. None of them were about me, so it was easy to stay “objective”. Hah. Well that’s backfiring on me now, isn’t it?

Time to face the music. How do all of these definitions fit into the most important relationship of all? I was finding myself SO frustrated that I haven’t attracted a loving mate into my life. What was it about me that I was putting out there that attracted men who only used me to feel better about themselves but left my needs unmet?  I’ve been posing questions to my nearest and dearest friends. We’ve had conversations about love, things we’ve experienced in love, what we hope for in love, what we’ve written and seen about love trying to figure it out. One of my friends managed to break it down for me in a way that clicked in just right in that moment. He asked me, “If you had a billboard about yourself, what would it say about you and who you are? How would his traits fit into yours?”  I looked at him and couldn’t think of one damn thing to say in response to that.  So now, I think I’ve put a final piece of the puzzle together that’s been missing for a long time. I’ve never really focused on the one person that I really need to love the most:

Myself.

All of this time, I’ve been looking for traits in other people to love and that could feasibly be compatible with me, but without a clear picture of exactly what those “compatibilities” matched in myself. What is it about me that I would want another to fit with?  What makes the ABCs of me in how I want to live and what I want to do? What parts of me have I been brave enough to own? So what do you think I did next? You know that answer…….. I made a billboard of myself, the things that I love about myself and the things I work towards every day. It’s currently on my wall where I look at it every day to remind myself who I need to love first and foremost.  Dr. Athena Perrakis brings up a valid point.

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I reflect on what shadows and past selves I’m trying protect, and to that end, what do I need to let go of? How do I love all of it?  Honestly, I haven’t been embracing all of the shadow and all of the light, nor have I admitted to what I really wanted and what I really needed, because I’ve struggled with insecurities regarding a myriad of things.  I realized this in a recent conversation with my roommate. We hadn’t really had a good talk for a few weeks and the conversation went all over the place. And it dug up some really old pieces of me that I had sort of just, put away. Not really released or embraced. Just put away. I’ve kept up a pretty high wall, and neglected to present who I am, in the interest of staying under the radar.  I often feel like these shadows were too much of a burden. That it shatters the person that people now know me to be. But how am I going to move forward with anything if I can’t stand strong in the essence of who I am and the experiences that shaped me, dark or light or otherwise?

I’ve always sworn that I would be more humble than some of my previous examples, that my love for others had to be of importance, because I know what it’s like to be left behind in the dust.  But I can’t do myself the disservice of downplaying the importance of my own heart. I can still love myself enough to ask for what I want and need and still reside in my heart and soul. The heart wants what it wants. When the soul wants, the soul waits.

So do I have any answers about love? Sure, I have a couple. Is Love a language? Maybe. That’s what we’ve blocked it into, so that we as humans, could figure out how to express it. Is it a feeling? Absolutely. It’s the ache in your heart when you leave someone you love behind. It’s the light in your eyes that shines when you get to see someone you love.  But it’s also more: it’s an energy we enact. Love naturally courses through our electrical outlets in our bodies, coded in our chemicals and hearts and minds. It’s who we started as, and as we get older, love is who we choose to be in ourselves. The whole thing is about shining the mirror on your own soul and finally acknowledging what you are seeing in your own psyche.  How are you contributing to love in your own environment? Have you started within yourself? Do people reach out to you because there’s something in you that they want to feel and they only feel it with you? Do you find that people respond to you differently than they do to others around you? Do you look in the mirror and love the person you see? All valid questions in my mind and worth looking at.

I’m now going to post this as is. No more editing. No more fine-tuning. No more doubting. It is what it is, and it’s time to move forward. So if you’ve come this far with me, have I presented any solid answers? Maybe, but in reality, I have no solid conclusion to this missive. Love is Love. With yourself or anyone else.  Love is communication. Love is action. Love is a choice. Love is heart. Love is a language. Love is a life transforming emotion.

And Love is bigger than anything in its way. (According to Bono).

If I don’t believe in Love….

I’ve had this sort of weird realization lately. You see, when I’m sitting on an airplane and I’ve completed all of the tasks at hand, there’s a phase of flight where I’ve taken my jumpseat and we’re descending into landing and I have some time to think. Sometimes I worry I think too much. I internalize a lot. I wait to speak until I’ve formed it perfectly in my mind. (Which is what makes me so entertaining when I drink – that filter gets turned off. And I royally put my foot in my mouth. A lot. But that’s another story for another day.)

Recently, I was on a trip, and texting with a friend of mine throughout the day as I flew, and we were talking about our dating lives. (which I always appreciate because I miss my friends a lot when I’m gone, and I feel like miss out on these little day to day things, so sporadic as it is, it’s like an ongoing conversation we have all day and I love it.)

She was updating me on her feelings about her most recent experiences. I was trying to think of something encouraging and positive to say about love. I couldn’t.

You should know, if you don’t by now, I am a total sucker for love.  I read all the love stories. Watch all the lovey-dovey movies. Gaze at the moon at night and wish that I was leaning into the arms of someone I love as they gaze at it too.  I realize that I’m a hopeless romantic because I love all of these IDEAS of love.  The ideas of finding your soul mate, twin flame, true love – whatever the phrase/intention is – it’s a beautiful thought that something like that could actually be a reality.

You should also know, I’ve taken a break from my dating life since I started this whole flying adventure. I just didn’t have the capacity to focus on it, and also I felt like a fuck-up, on a colossal scale. I really wanted to get to the bottom of it, emotionally. I’ve had points where I’ve had unexpected moments that make me re-think that break, but still I pull back because I want to make sure I’m going towards something healthy and positive for myself.

Upon this reflection whilst seated in the jumpseat of an ERJ175, now I see I’m the Fox Mulder of love. I want to believe. I see the evidence all around me. People who’ve met their soul mate on the internet. People who met their true love in a pub on a rainy night in Ireland. Pen pals that finally meet after years of writing each other and it’s destiny. People who met while on work assignments or in the grocery story and find “The One”. But personally, I’ve become convinced it’s a smokescreen created by Hollywood and the Brontes, Austins and Gabaldons of the world.

Which leads me to the hard truth about myself. I crave love. I’m paralyzed by rejection. Is this why I struggle with the idea of true love, that it even actually exists?  Too much rejection? Is that what makes me certain it’s a fairy tale not meant for women like me? THAT’S why I’m so drawn to the stories. Because I WANT to believe it exists, that all of these stories are truth and possibility.  But thus far, I’ve never been shown true love, and to top that, I’m not sure I even know what it is even if I did have it. At this juncture, I suppose this is where I also point how that I am a true believer of energy begets energy. You get what you put out there. So what am I putting out?

With that energy, I’ve gone into situations and I’ve proven to myself over and over again that it always ends, one way or another, the only way I know love to end: They leave.  I’m always put on the back burner. Possessed and abandoned. Randomly picked up to be left behind. Misjudged for being too unfeeling or feeling more than I was supposed to. Overlooked and undervalued.  Saved for a rainy day.

The most humbling of it all:  I let it happen because I went into it “knowing” somewhere in my psyche that it would always end that way anyway, because that’s all I’ve ever seen love end with. Never the happily ever after. I’ve been too leery of opening myself up and being truly connected and vulnerable in many circumstances. I haven’t been bold enough to say something when I should have. I’ve left way too much unsaid, instead just reading into subtext when really, I should have been blunt and stated what I felt and what I wanted.

Now I feel like there’s nobody left to fall in love with me, except me, myself and I, while we make our way through the wilds of life. And that’s ok – I suppose I’ve become very self-sufficient. I’ve become an adventurer of sorts. I live a life full of family and friends who do love me and stand by me. Make no mistake, I’m very happy, grateful and content with many things in my life.

So if I’m going to be completely honest here, in my hypocrisy of loving love, I’ve been going through phases. Ups and downs. Beliefs and disbeliefs.  I went through a phase of having telling myself that I actually don’t believe it’s a real life thing to be happy and in love with someone,  I took on sort of a melancholic indifference. I gave up on the whole idea. I was okay with it, but at the same time, I didn’t like it. I had a number of people try to talk me out of giving up on love, including a recently broken-hearted Captain that I was flying with and also a vintner in Scotts Valley, both of who didn’t know me from Eve.  A group of us would all be sitting around, in deep conversation, glasses of wine in hand, talking politics and philosophies of life and inevitably the question pops up….”Are you married/do you have a boyfriend?” and then the looks of disbelief and “How are/do you not?!”.  It seemed weird to garner that reaction. What is it about me that would preclude that I MUST already be in a relationship. Do I just have that vibe? And where do I begin in answering that question without getting into the whole sordid history of my very dysfunctional past relationships?

But then, on a cold morning in Gillette, Wyoming, I woke up after a night of a sort of life changing dream.  In the dream, I had an altercation with someone (who I’m not going to name here). I remember blowing up at them. Spewing words that I’d held in for a very long time. When I was done, I felt lighter. Free. I suddenly felt myself start to float up, tears of relief streaming down my face. As I floated, I heard a voice calling my name. It was a very familiar voice. I couldn’t see their face but in my heart I knew exactly who it was but my mind was still struggling.  I felt their hand grasp mine and pull me into their arms and hold me as I broke down and confessed everything I had been feeling. I felt so safe, so wanted and so loved. And then I woke up. And I had never felt so solitary in my life. Not lonely. Not unfulfilled. Just so…. solitary. Like I’m journeying to somewhere and the burden is resting squarely on my shoulders to step into something. What that is? I don’t know.  But I knew I wasn’t the same. I felt softer. More vulnerable. And more ready than I had ever been, to tackle this last remaining hurdle of happiness in my life.

I don’t know how to necessarily fix this existing broken record that’s spinning in my head. But I’m shutting down the voice that lingered in my head for years, telling me that I was never enough. The only thing I can do is let go and let that record shatter on the floor and put on a new one. Be present. Be in alignment with who I am and be loving and gentle with myself. Only put myself out there for someone who actually sees ME, who actually values my heart and my soul and who doesn’t want to break me.

And so until then, I’ll just be over here in my corner, living as full of a life as I can muster, and saving up my pennies to buy my Victorian on the coast, that I’ll spend way too much money on fixing up, keeping up on the love stories written in myths and stories that come to life on the silver screen, and hope that maybe someday, just someday, that some innocuous phrase similar to “As You Wish” might take on a whole new meaning for me too.

 

 

Mad Awakening

Sometimes you just wake up feeling different. You don’t know why. You don’t know when it happened. Someone just flipped a switch and there you are.  Images are flooding your brain. Images from your dreams. Images from the day before. Images from months gone by. Images that shoot arrows through the walls of protection around you.

Your heart aches a little, you turn to tell the one you thought was there while you slept, only to find there hadn’t been anyone there at all. You sit still with it. You feel that presence that isn’t really there. You weep a little and lay back down. You pinch your eyes shut, reminding yourself that things are not so bad, it just feels that way right now.

You remind yourself of all of the things you love about your life and you tell yourself that timing is divine, it is everything and it is nothing. That souls still speak to souls, even when you figured out you weren’t listening.

It doesn’t change the fact that all of a sudden, your heart feels split wide open. You tell yourself it must still ache with the weight of waking up. You admit that you are filled with want. You remind yourself that want is valid and stronger than need and you are allowed that. You are allowed to want. You are allowed to desire. You are allowed to follow that and it doesn’t make you weak. Being vulnerable and open is not weak. It makes you strong. You are stronger when you want and when you fill yourself up. You are open. You are full. You are awake.

Awakening.

Mad.

Awakening.

 

What are you looking for?

Sometimes I hesitate to write about my personal stuff here. I’ve had positive feedback from people in my life, that they appreciate the points of view that I bring. That they can relate to it, and don’t feel so alone. But I’m also being incredibly vulnerable and that’s very hard for me. Most know that I’m pretty honest, but I do pick and choose the time and place, how brutally honest to be, and I don’t expose the softest parts of me. I tend to reserve that for select people in my life.  However, there’ve been things on my mind lately, as always. And I think it might be cathartic to me to finally speak on it, as well as it might be of help to someone else.

I was speaking to my Dad last night about how I felt there were traits that I got specifically from him, relationships with our respective parents, things of that nature. We came around to the point where we started talking about our romantic relationships in life. I found out that he had many of the same wishes I did. For instance, I wish that I had been more courageous to leave certain situations sooner. More courage to pursue the situations that might have had a shot. I thought he would be worried that I wasn’t in a relationship by this point in my life. He encouraged me to continue the changes I was making in my life, and he emphasized “Do not settle. Wait for the one that fits. Wait for a teammate. It’s my thought that we should be waiting for the complement to our soul.” We talked at great length. He reminded me that it’s not entirely bad to be just be on my own for a little bit like I have been.

I couldn’t bring myself to be completely honest with him about what I’ve turned into. I mean, how much can I tell my Dad without getting into the messy parts and worrying him unnecessarily? Also, I feel slightly like a bit of a flop in this department. I’m not very good in relationships, so I’ve purposely avoided them, regardless of the thought of “settling”. I “date” people. But for the record, I have not been in a solid committed relationship since I got out of a 10 year, really fucked up, and tumultuous relationship. I have not called anyone my boyfriend since the early aughts, which we can safely say has been, quite literally, years. (I know a lot of people look at me and think otherwise. And that’s ok. I can’t really stop people from projecting stories on me).  I’ve gotten really good at pushing away people before they have a chance to leave me, which I’m convinced, is totally inevitable. I also am really good at “dating” people that are not healthy, emotionally available, nor interested in a deep committed relationship with me specifically.

The thing is, deep down, I really do want to change that.  I’ve been thinking about this aspect of my life quite a bit. I’ve really been blessed in all areas of my life, but this is my last hurdle, as it were, I guess to conquer the things that have been holding me back in the love department.

After I hung up with with my Dad, I logged into Facebook, and someone had posted an article from a dating coach. The coach suggested a method that a woman shouldn’t commit to any one man until he puts a ring on it. While I can see this from a feminist perspective, I wasn’t feeling completely aligned with that. I noted though, a reader had commented on it, recounting a story about meeting a man through mutual friends who was interested in her and made it very clear – he asked her straight up “Are you single?” and “What are you looking for?” and how it kind of made her stop and think. It made me stop and think too.

There was an instance recently, where I had gotten romantically involved with a person over this past year up to this most recent holiday/Christmas season, and I had started opening myself up to the possibility, but I realized very quickly, that it was a poor decision, and have since closed that chapter. I won’t get into specifics but, what I will mention is that once again, I felt completely frustrated and emotional and left behind. I remember at certain points he would ask me: “What do you want?” And I would be completely at a loss for words.

“What are you looking for?” Valid question. I’ve really had to think on this. We get what we put out – energy begets energy and whatever we put out there, comes back around to us.

What AM I looking for? Why was I struggling in the relationship arena? I had heart to hearts with friends closest to me. One theme came up regularly: Self worth. I have a lot of scripts that I’m re-writing in my head about that. Some of them though, stay in my psyche and surprise me at random moments….insidious little thoughts and insecurities that decide to voice their opinions right when I find a small sliver of happiness with someone.  I know where they come from. While I’ve moved on from those circumstances,  it’s the subconscious reactions I have that are killing my game.  Someone will say something, and I respond with a passive-aggressive, rather self-deprecating phrase, and as it’s coming out of my mouth I regret it immediately.  I’ll completely freeze up. I’ll start finding things wrong with the whole situation in order to talk myself out of it. I tell myself it’s just safer to be alone.

What I’ve reminded myself is that I’ve already been alone this whole time! So sure, I guess I got that one figured out!

So how do I figure out when it’s safe to actually BE with someone? (Because that’s the thing that bites me in ass, apparently).

I was journaling today, re-writing those inner scripts. I was reflecting on my life. Money. Job. Education. And of course Love. I reminded myself that everything I need to know is inside of me. My heart. My soul. Those are the things I seek to follow the most. I’ve built myself into a strong and courageous woman. But in matters of love, I still struggle with those feelings of self worth. It’s been an insidious ordeal and a complicated dance. On the flip side though, I do feel, on a lot of fronts, like I’m finally coming out of the shadows of my inner demons for the first time ever. I’ve merged pieces of my soul back together that I thought were long broken. I do things more for me instead of trying to change myself into someone that pleases everyone. (Because that’s impossible by the way).

Then I had a HUGE realization: I realized that ALL of this time, I was looking at things the wrong way. I wasn’t wasting my time. I didn’t go about things the wrong way.  I shouldn’t regret anything. I was simply on a life path of learning how to put a relationship with MYSELF first. How can I love anyone if I don’t love myself first? Sounds cliche, but it’s true. I’ve been in situations that have brought me closer and closer to loving myself and pulling myself up by my own bootstraps. I’ve learned that I need to really look at who people are NOW, in THIS moment. Not who they were in the past. Also not live in potential “what-ifs”. It’s so important to be in the moment.

Ok. I’ve established that. Does that mean I’m ready to really look for something healthy for me and really put myself out there?

Oh but wait… there’s more? I’ve also noticed that my tolerance for being “hit on” has been low. Normally I just brush it off. But it’s really been bothering me. Especially with the reputation that seems to accompany the Flight Attendant life style. There are so many assumptions that are so off base. So I’ve been a bit jaded and a bit angry about it. While I appreciate valid and sincere compliments, I just don’t need to hear the superficial sentiments that are only aimed at getting into my pants without any regard to who I am as a person.  Believe me, I know the difference between the two. But I have to let go of the emotionality around all of it. Just focus on what I WANT, not what I DON’T want. Don’t pay attention to the situations that don’t serve me and pay attention to the situations that DO.

Now the question is two-fold: “What are you looking for?” and “What kind of an approach from a man WOULD I appreciate?”

Dating has been all kinds of awkward for me, because it moves too fast and has become a crash course in, “Okay, I have to get to know you faster than normal because this is supposed be a bigger deal” kind of thing. Which in retrospect, doesn’t work in today’s dating world. ( I could talk more about today’s dating world, but that’s another entry for another day). I always feel so pressured and I’m tired of feeling that way. Nobody should have to feel pressured that much. Especially when it comes to finding your lifemate.

I really soul-searched on this and I finally came up with five cohesive thoughts. So here they are, in all of their blinding simplicity (blinding on my part because I don’t know what took me so long to really put this into my psyche).

You ready?

  1. Be my “friend” first.

Haha. Sounds kind of ironic as I write it. But seriously.

Don’t go through my Facebook page and think you know me. Sure, there are bits and pieces there, but that’s a curated piece of who I am. Spend time with me and actually get to know me. Like actually DATE me. Find ways for us to spend time together without any expectations of me “paying you back” for your “investment” – I can foot the bill for myself. I can get myself where I need to go. So what you are expecting me to “pay back”? I’m not a fucking wind-up doll.  Put some time in. Also, don’t expect me to sleep with you until the timing feels right.

   2. Show me ways I can trust you.  Show me your honour.  Be a person of growth. Be serious.

Mostly that means, don’t lie to me. Speak to me respectfully. Live your life with strength and courage. Treat people decently. If you are looking for casual, we are not the right fit.

3.  Communicate with me forthrightly.  

NEVER leave me wondering where I stand with you. Be authentic.  Tell me what you are in this for, so that I can make my own informed decision about what I want. Be honest about how you feel. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear.

   4. When I show you my heart and bare my soul, don’t be a douchebag and ghost out.

You are not responsible for how I handle MYself. But you ARE responsible for how you handle YOURself.

5.  Honour my time.  

It is a valuable commodity. I’m a busy person. If I make time for you, it’s because I’ve made it important to me. Be respectful of that. If I reach out to you, respond in a timely fashion. Don’t always wait for me to be the one to reach out. It takes two to Tango. I shouldn’t have to do all the work.

So that’s my list. Approach me with those intentions and I’ll be responsive.  It’s a new thing for me to be so specific. I’m hoping it changes the dynamic of how I look at relationships and who I grant entry into my life. Also, it holds me accountable for how I treat myself as well as look at the caliber of the person I’m considering spending time with. It helps quiet that voice in my psyche that has been rearing it’s Medusa head trying to get me to doubt myself. I know better. I’m going forward and BEING better about this.

I’ve finally learned to love myself and be courageous in love. I wish you the same.

Let Go or Be Dragged

Fall always seems to be the time to reflect for me.  Consider this a journal entry of sorts, I suppose.

This past year, I’ve been experiencing a lot of change. Taking a look at my life, change has really been the only constant.  I’ve really never had a static, quiet kind of life. I’ve yearned for it at times, but I don’t know how I would do with it, since I’ve never really had it.

Nevertheless, it’s easy in those moments of transition to look back and want to rewrite my whole entire life. Well. Not the whole thing. But a lot of it. There are things that I wish that I had done better. Been stronger about. Followed my gut instead of ignoring that gnawing sensation in the pit of my stomach. I know – already you are saying “But you wouldn’t be who you are right now without those experiences.”

And you are right. I wouldn’t be the person I am now. I think what makes that hard to swallow though, is that there were moments that I actually DID know better. But I blatantly disregarded my intuition and made the wrong choice anyway. Why? Probably fear. Didn’t trust myself enough.  Probably an exertion of control via my ego. Regardless, there is one thing I know: I cannot look forward if I’m always looking back.

I get knocked down. I run away. I put up a wall. I hide.  I’ve done a pretty big avoidance dance for a long time. It never works for long though. Life beckons and calls me. My story draws me out.  Like the Lady Amalthea who rejects her true being and noble purpose for fear of forgetting how to love, her story – her life, took her back to being The Unicorn anyway whether she was ready or not. The only way to face her demon (the Red Bull) was to fight for the very love she thought she would forget. To remember why she was even there in the first place. Love for her existence. Love for the existence of others around her. Love for a life that had been lost.

So here I sit, thinking, retracing my steps. I have felt my life come to a standstill in many ways in the last couple of years. How did I get here? What can I do different? What am I avoiding? Now, I’m being forced to reckon with my own inner demons.

The oddest part of this is that I know I’m meant for something –  it’s just taken a really long time to face that I’ve been running from it. For fear of loss if I succeeded. For fear that I would fail and people would see right through me. Fear that I was too late.

I don’t have any easy answers. But this I do know: When it comes to my past, sometimes I reflect too much. And I do have a choice.  I can let go or be dragged. So I’m choosing to let go.

I’m choosing to let go of the workaholic woman persona, driven by my inner ID, who only chases survival and doesn’t take care of herself the way she should. It’s now about me filling those holes in my psyche with self-love and self-care. I choose only things I am passionate about.

I’m choosing to let go of the lack of self worth I have felt my whole life. No more. My life is a beautiful blessing. I’m going to revel in all of the things I have become.  All of the things I’m educated in. I’m not dimming any parts of me, for anyone, anymore.

I’m releasing the self-punishment of anger and frustrations that I’ve been dealing myself surrounding the decisions I’ve made about my career life.  I’m letting go of being soul-tired and drowning in Kool-Aid.  I’m now embracing my dreams, following my heart, and walking away from jobs that do not feed my passions and inhibit my financial ability to take care of myself. I’m choosing to feed my creative soul and to serve my purpose in order to inspire people and contribute to making a better world around me. I’m keeping my promises to myself. And I’m looking out for myself on a much higher scale.

I’m choosing to let go of the last year of dating. I thwarted myself out of remaining steadfast for a healthy, loving relationship. I let myself get caught up in a situation, where again it was all about what he needed to have in his life, and nothing about me.  This has been a HARD lesson for me and it’s inline with self-worth and self-care.  At least it’s done now. Life is too short to be kept in somebody’s back pocket. I’m more than what I look like, whatever assumptions have been made about me, and whatever pedestal I’ve been placed on.  I deserve love, to be prioritizedand to be cherished for who I actually AM and for the life I’ve built for myself.

I’m choosing to let go of the regret of all of the things I left unsaid. There are situations where I wish I’d had the courage to push more, to say more. And I chickened out. But I’m not going to live in what-ifs. It’s too painful.  In the last year, I’ve learned to say what’s on my mind. Maybe to a fault. But at least I (and you) know where exactly where I stand.

Let go or be dragged.

I’m letting go.

 

 

Say What You Need To Say

If there is anything I’ve been reminded of in various different ways in the last few days, it’s that this life is ever-changing. One thing can happen in the span of seconds that irrevocably changes everything you know. Absolute in their karmic causes. Unchallengeable in their  manifested intentions.  The most important thing we can do is embrace the challenges with an unseen faith that we have the strength to propel us forward in the story. We are each living the hero’s journey right now, and we can choose to answer the call or ignore it. Mark Twain said “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear; not the absence of fear.”

I strive for courage every day. Courage to wake up. Courage to step out the door and live another day. Courage to stand up for justice.  Courage to keep dreaming. Courage to speak my truth. Courage to look to an uncertain future and continue taking deliberate steps into the horizon. But it’s not just about a great big beautiful tomorrow. It’s also about courage to live in the moments of what I have right in front of me. Courage to face those inner demons that make me doubt everything I know. Courage to actually follow through and do what I say I am going to do in every single moment.  Living in that very prism of time I’m in right now. Living lovingly. Intimately. Heart open. Forgiving myself…and others. Stepping away from the shackles of the past and into the fields of gold that have been surrounding me this whole time.

Courage is inspired in the most unexpected situations. I can’t tell you what sparked mine, other than a sheer will to survive on some occasions. Sometimes I just heard someone say the right thing at the right time. Sometimes it was a song that tapped into a creative part of my soul that only wanted to dream bigger.  It’s led me to many adventures, going further than I ever thought I could. I always find that I have something I can improve upon in myself.

For instance, lately, I’ve really had to face that I’m not very good at speaking my heart out loud. It’s ironic – I can speak in front of hundreds of people on any topic, and perform in front of even more and be adrenalized by it. But to speak my heart…..well, that’s a little harder for me. It’s hard for anyone, isn’t it? We have to put ourselves out there, lay wide our vulnerable soul.  I can sit here and pour my heart out to a nameless, faceless audience. It’s so much easier behind a computer screen. I don’t know who’s going to read this. I don’t know who will see pieces of themselves in this and be correct, despite my best efforts to protect their identity. I don’t know who will be inspired by me, or repelled by me, a woman who can spill out lines of words trailing all over a blank page, reminding them of the very things they didn’t want to acknowledge either. I know this is a roadblock for me. I can’t speak for everyone. But I can speak for myself when I say, NOT vocalizing my feelings to a person, face to face, has been a detrimental roadblock for me. I’m an artist – I’m expressive by nature! So this odd little twist, it wasn’t a personal choice. It’s not how I grew up wanting to be. It’s just how I’ve been conditioned by forces outside of me. And it keeps me from living fully. From loving fully. From feeling fully. It chokes me, silencing me and locks up my ability to be fully intimate in any sort of friendship or relationship.

It’s a choice: be courageous or let the fear win. I’ve chosen to be courageous.  The more I express the things that I felt I’ve had to keep close to the vest, the lighter I’ve become. The easier it is to speak. The easier it is to forgive. The easier it is to receive love. The easier it is to give love, compassion and empathy. Saying “I love you.” gets easier. Speaking my mind gets easier.

Loving myself gets to be the norm instead of caring why someone else may not love me the way I expected. Saying thank you feels more authentic and more important. Listening becomes key. Hearing the other person just as much as they hear me. Being right all the time is no longer important.  Being acknowledged all the time doesn’t matter. But being authentic and in truth does. Coming from a place of love is a powerful intention and I strive for that every day. I succeed a lot of the time. Sometimes I don’t. But the intention speaks truth when I need to hear it.

There’s so much more I have to say. But I’m done waiting to say it. The filter is off. Time is happening right now and I’m jumping into the vortex.

See you on the flip side.

Post Birthday Reflections

It’s a rainy and stormy morning. I’m looking out my window as I write this and listening to the sound of the rain and the wind blow. It’s a sight and sound that I took for granted growing up, but now I find soothes my soul.

This past year was full of ups and downs. I was confronted on some pretty deep levels of consciousness about many things in my life. Looking back, I’d like to think I rose to the challenge pretty well. I suppose you can say I’ve morphed into the butterfly everybody told me I could be. I just didn’t believe it was possible at the time. But I had SO much encouragement. So many loving friends. Transformed relationships with my family. While I’ve done bouts of growing through the last few years, I’d say, this year was THE most exponential of them all.

Taking time this year CHOOSING just to be a single girl finding her identity was the best thing I could have done for myself. For just one year. I wasn’t sure how well I’d do, and it took a while, but I finally fulfilled that promise to myself. I learned how to take care of myself emotionally in ways that I didn’t know I was lacking. My heart became cracked open again. I don’t know why it took so long, or why it happened the way it happened, but I know enough now about spiritual growth to not to question the process. To just be thankful that I could feel so deeply again, because I was sincerely afraid I was incapable of ever feeling that way in my lifetime. I now feel confident that come what may relationship-wise, I will always be me. I will never lose myself again. I respect and love myself. I know exactly how I want to live in love. And I know how much of a gift love is to give. Love is not a fairytale. But it IS beautiful and compelling and worth taking a risk for. So this year, I hope to find love that fills my heart and sets my soul aflame. I hope, in turn, to give that love to fill someone’s heart, mind and soul.
Transitioning careers was a painful process this year. I had to give up many things I loved and was familiar with, to take a leap into the great unknown. At first, I felt like I fell flat on my face. Like, making-a-crater-sized-dent-flat-on-my-face-fall. It didn’t go at ALL the way I planned. But then, life is what happens when we’re making other plans right? Then I learned, that I did not fail. It was more like an aptitude survey. How much did I know? How much did I need to learn to take myself to the next level? I learned how to constantly live in gratitude even for the things I wasn’t planning on, nor did I strive for. I learned to turn my way of thinking around so that I was talking nicer to myself and showing more compassion and empathy for others. I learned that nothing is personal. It’s all just the journey. We all have our own journey to take and we have to let go of judgement to embrace that journey fully. I learned to make the best of what I have, to not give up as I so often have done. To take risks and do something everyday that follows my heart and fulfills my creativity. To that end, this year I am going to finish my book. Develop my blog. I’m going to embrace my career as a writer, and move heaven and earth to live in possibility and abundance.

My personal finances were challenging. I found myself living in avoidance of making any true goals or visions about how I wanted to shape my financial life. This probably ties in with the career journey this past year as well. On the other side of it, I was living in a space of “just getting by”. Always too cautious about making determinations because I was sure they would end in failure and that what I envisioned wouldn’t/couldn’t happen anyway. But then I really cracked down on that, especially as of late. I started watching the way I spoke about money. Every negative thought I had, I made myself rephrase it and turn it into a positive. I made a vision board. I started looking at money as a tool to use to my advantage. I took more ownership of where I stand with it and how I treat my money. And I learn to start thinking in a space of flow and abundance, prioritizing what I wanted to do with it. So this year, the goal is to clean up a couple of messes. To make more money doing what I love. Sell my book. Have faith that I’m always taken care of no matter what, because it’s in my own best interest to take care of myself that way. I want to buy a property. And all of these things are literally starting to line up even in these last few days.

Every experience I’ve had this past year was necessary. I would not be where I am today without them. I would not BE who am I am today without them. For that, I’m profoundly thankful. Thankful for the love of my friends and family, their inexhaustible faith and support in me. Thankful that I was awake enough to see all of the things I need to see. I hope to continue to grow and level up. Can’t wait to see what this year brings and I’m sure next year, I’ll have some great experiences to share.

Only Love Can Leave Such a Mark

2015 was full of eye-opening behaviours of mine when it came to love. I found myself here in 2016, wondering why I still felt like I wasn’t quite feeling settled about it. There is something deep-seeded inside of me that has been gnawing away at my subconscious. Admittedly, while having nipped a lot of behaviours in the bud, and changing a lot of my outlooks in life, there is one thing that hasn’t gone away. And it’s a VERY hard thing to admit, especially being the hopeless romantic that I am.

I’ve become brave and courageous. I’ve become more honest. I love myself. I love the life that I’m creating, despite some of the things that have happened. I’m really embracing my life. I love my friends and my family.

But despite that, it seems I’ve had a very deep seeded truth, or belief,  sitting like a toad in the shadows. It’s hard to convey into words.

However, the overall feeling is that I will never be enough to keep my true love’s attention.  I don’t believe people are capable of being faithful. Does true love really exist?

I’ve analyzed where this starts. But I also have to give you, dear reader, a very BIG dose of honesty about my life. Keep in mind, this is about my experience only. I will not weigh in on the character of the person, nor will I share names. You see, I’m not innocent in this either.  You are not allowed to ask me why I stayed. These things are complicated and I’m not submitting this for your judgement. This entry, is selfishly, for me to work this out and finally let this go.

While I’ve alluded to some of the things that happened, it boils down to a major thing. I’ve come from a long line of experience in infidelity. I was with someone for a very long time, who professed to love me, didn’t want to be without me. But in every “friendship”, every female co-worker, every girl they met randomly,  having sex with them was always the outcome.  It didn’t matter who I was. It didn’t matter how well I kept the house, how much I cooked, how perfect I was.  It didn’t matter how much empathy or anger I showed. It didn’t matter what I did to “keep” him. I didn’t matter how much I tried to “spice” things up. It didn’t matter how much we talked about it. Nothing I ever did was enough. He was always looking elsewhere when it suited. This happened for years.

I was never able to rest in the “security” of a relationship. This was the tip of the iceberg in the many issues we faced together. But I think this is the one that really shook me to the core in retrospect. There was always the girl that came along, that struck his fancy. And I was forgotten. Soon the love I felt was never enough.

You see, this wasn’t the first time I had seen this happen. I had seen the behavior repeatedly in my childhood from adult figures in my life. People I loved and looked up to for my education on how to be in a relationship.

I figured the depth of love you felt in a relationship was proportional to how much pain you had to go through to keep it. That men and women are incapable of staying faithful. That life is complicated so I should stop expecting so much.

So I did. The string of relationships to follow my break-up were with single and attached men alike. I’m finally saying this out loud. I have NEVER fully admitted this. I’m not proud of it and maybe it’s the judgement on myself that has kept me from moving forward. But ultimately it’s because I thought that human beings were not capable of anything else anyway so I should stop expecting more. I NEVER committed to them and never expected them to commit to me.  I would cease immediately if feelings were ever brought into the picture.  I built up a sort of armour around myself to shield me from becoming too emotionally invested.

After a while, I felt even more lonely and isolated because deep down, this was not what I had dreamed about. This was not the way to do it. I’m not a disloyal person. In fact, when my ex was unfaithful all those years, never once did I step out on him. I was faithful the WHOLE TIME.

What?!

Yup.

In the recent year, I found myself jolted. The more that I looked inward, I realized that I have a unique kind of energy. My nature is that of empathy, love and no judgement. For everyone. And in all that time, they never saw ME. They thought they knew me, but if they had paid close enough attention, they didn’t. They knew an idea of me.  I realized maybe that’s how I found myself in situations like this. It became more about what the other person needed from me. What was I doing for myself though? Was I applying that same forgiveness to myself? Was I now self-punishing for all of the things I did wrong up to that point? The shame that I felt in things that I did in my previous relationship?  The shame for actually feeling something and wanting more than that?

Well shit. How do I change that? Is this something I’m ready to take on?

I figured if I can forgive my ex of ALL of the things that happened between us, that we can move on in peace and wishing each other well, how hard could it be that I could do that with myself too?

I want to believe in love.

I watch all of these romantic movies. Everybody finds their soul mate. I see a myriad of happy relationships around me. I want to believe in being faithful and trustworthy and growing in life with someone that is in love with me and I am in love with him.

But here’s where I trip up, because for as much as hopeless romantic that I am,  I admit that deep down inside my heart I think it’s an impossible ideal. What happens after those closing credits?  So again, does true love actually exist?  According to the Princess Bride it does, but that’s only in the movies and the storybooks. In real life, people betray you. People only do what suits them. Love for as long as it suits them. When it suits them. They get what they want from you and then they leave.  There’s no such thing as real love. True love…..doesn’t exist here.

Or does it?

I have no answers right now. I can’t tie this up with a pretty bow. All I know is that for right now, I’m letting all of what I just wrote go. I forgive myself. I embrace my experiences as learning opportunities. I will continue to live in love and empathy and non-judgement. I know who I am. I know what I want in a relationship and what I want to do with my life.

I don’t know love the way I want to. But I suppose the only way to learn that is to keep loving myself and those I surround myself with.

Maybe that’s the only answer.

Writing Prompts: Thoughts on Ageism

Today I get to talk about my feelings on ageism. It comes at kind of an interesting time, as more and more every day, I become aware of how old I am. There are a myriad of ways we face this in all walks of life.
I keep looking in the mirror and staring at the random grey hairs that pop up. There are laugh lines that I’ve never had before around my mouth. My body shifts and tightens in different ways than it used to. None of these are inherently bad things. I actually got the grey hairs in my 20’s. I’ve just been dying my hair all this time. The laugh lines have developed since I’ve moved to California, so I’m thinking that means I’ve been happier for doing that. My body is shifting and tightening because I still give it a run for it’s money and it’s holding up so beautifully. I’ve never been more in touch with it than I have been now. Sure, I could be more consistent with dance and yoga and all of the things I’ve let go of because I work to much. So that’s what I’m aiming for. Balance. I’m of the mindset we are only as old as we make ourselves feel. I believe in a mind body connection. I tend to focus on nurturing positive thoughts and tendencies there. And as I’ve gotten older, I haven’t noticed to much of a problem. But that’s because I look considerably younger than I actually am. What if I didn’t look younger?

I’ve never had a problem relating to people older than me. I’ve always valued the experience and advice that someone older can share. Some of my best friends are older than me. I’ve always dated older than me also with very few exceptions. In fact my 10 year relationship was with someone who was 10 years older than me. As I’ve gotten older myself, I’ve found that I’ve become that for others in my circles of life. “Mama Jenn” as someone so aptly put it. Feels kind of weird, only in the sense that I hope my experience and advice is sage and helpful. Because sometimes I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing in life. But it’s all a circle. We all share many of the same experiences, and yearn for many of the same things.

Yet somehow, if we get to the nitty-gritty of it, there is a problem in our society with ageism. Whether it’s in the workforce, or there’s a problem with supporting those who are getting into their twilight years, I think it boils down to the problem being a lack of respect and care for our fellow human being. For including them in our lives and thanking them for the progress they’ve given us, that we continue to drive forward, generation after generation.

On the flip-side, we discount those of ideas and opinions of our youth, deeming them “too young” to know better, when they very well may hold the keys to evolving the human race. We fail to hold them accountable to ideas and ways of functioning in society because “Oh they’re just teenagers, they’ll grow out of it.” No, they won’t. Not if you don’t teach them.

Then there are the “mid”-aged, which is where I’m beginning to climb to. Which is fine. Overall, if I’m one of those sturdy sorts to live till she’s 85, I still have some 40-odd years left. We appear to be in the peak of things. Supposedly, we get the best pick of everything. And to a certain extent, societally speaking, that’s true. We can be the most driven, but we can also be the most defeated. Exhausted by the efforts to drive change, jaded by the state of bureaucracy that we vowed we would change in our youth.

To me ageism is akin to a popularity contest, designed by a patriarchal society of white male privilege that is so prevalent in many of the “-isms” we have today. (i.e. racism, sexism, classism etc…) Many people may take issue with the way I just phrased that, but it’s how I view things and if you look back in history, you’ll see it to be true. There are many things in my life that some would not deem privileged, but the truth is, despite the income/education/female inequalities I’ve experienced, there are others who suffer far more simply for being born in the wrong place and the wrong time. It’s not a balanced system. So it’s my responsibility, to use what little privilege I have, to stand up for those who need a voice. This is what we ALL should be doing for each other.

This system should be abolished. We need to focus on human relationships. We need to stop passing judgement, and start passing LOVE. We need to remember compassion and empathy. We need to create space for EVERYONE to grow and become who they want to be, even into the long shadows at the dusks of our lives. We need to take care of each other. But that starts within us. We need to be that change within ourselves first before we can enact that anywhere else. Release the fear and guilt we carry in our  lives, the entitlement that people “owe” us anything, and replace with love, empathy and a question of what do we “owe” to others?

We would not only eradicate ageism, but ALL of the “-isms” that are present in this world.

So what have YOU done today that you could do differently? How could you have spoken differently? Taken things less personal? Let go of ideas that you no longer needed but were clinging to out of fear?  Who could you have spoken out for when needed?

Just something to think about.

 

 

Writing Prompts: Book Talk

One might say I’m really dropping the ball on this. But I’m just gonna keep rolling with it and get through all the damn prompts. Ideally more consistently, and daily, after today.

In the interest of keeping up on my blog, I’m shifting this from Facebook to here. Plus, these are actually fun prompts that I should be posting over here anyway.

#8 – A book you love and one you didn’t.

Well hmmmm. That’s a SUPER hard one.

*comes back after putting away laundry for 10 minutes. *

Damn. Seriously, this is tough.

I can tell you for sure the book that is most disliked on my end was a book called “The Girl in the Box” by Ouida Sebestyen.

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It has traumatized me since I was a teenager. In fact, I didn’t even finish the book. Most who know me, know that:

1) I ALWAYS finish a book, no matter how long it takes.

2) I never read the ending first.

This one was so depressing, for pages and pages, that I had to skip to the end to see if it ever ended. It didn’t. There was no resolution. The whole book was going to be torturous to read and there was no end in sight. So I turned the book back into the library, forever haunted by the knowledge that this whole book was about a girl who got kidnapped and was never rescued. She was left abandoned in a box and still alive at the end of the book. I will never read another book by this author, no matter how brilliant it is deemed to be.

So now I have to pick one that I love…..hmmmmm…I can’t pick just one favourite. I’ve mentioned some of my other favourite books in a previous prompt, so I’ll add something new here.  517mee7CTTL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_“Rebecca” by Daphne DuMaurier.

I read this first when I was a teenager. It was such a haunting book, with all of the plot twists, intrigue and romance you would imagine.

DuMaurier’s style of writing inspires visions of rich, beautiful images, haunting memories and sleek sophisticated characters. The movie was great, but the book was better. Truly one of those books that stands out in my mind as I think back. It inspired me to read her other books which I thoroughly enjoyed also.

 

So there you have it.