Love Thyself.

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

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).

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.

Writing Prompts: Fascinating Folks

Missive goal: Someone who fascinates me and why?

While there are many people who fascinate me, I think I have to narrow it down to the one man that has shaped a HUGE portion of my life: Walt Disney.

 

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This is one of my FAVOURITE pictures of him – taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt

My fascination with Walt came to me at a very early age. You see, rumour has it, that I was conceived on a trip to Disneyland. It has been embedded in my psyche from a very early age. It was considered my safe haven, my home away from home. It made sense, in the moments that I couldn’t physically BE in Disneyland, I read all the stories and books they based their movies and attractions on. And that included the books of how Disneyland came to be. And then from there, it became about reading books on Walt Disney himself. I became more and more fascinated as time went on. What made him tick? How did he come up with all of his ideas? What was his life REALLY like (behind all the sappy syrupy image that the Disney Corporation now feeds the public)? What happened after he died?

It made sense that as soon as I could, I got a job at The Disney Store. It opened the door to my many other adventures with Disney, and as far as work experience goes, to a now, 19 year relationship with the company.

When I moved to LA, the first thing I did was start to visit all of the places he lived, worked, played, and moved to. I am still working on that list. It’s very long and some things haven’t been so accessible to me. For instance, Clifton’s was a place he would frequent. But it was closed and then they renovated but now, finally, it’s open! So that’s on my list. And the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour that ends in his Apartment over the Fire Station on Main Street – haven’t done that yet either. Not that I need the tour – of the MYRIAD of books I’ve read, I already know many of his routines and walks around the park. But what I would pay the money for is the opportunity to see his Apartment. I have yet to see the man’s Apartment. Grr. Yes. I know I work there. But no, I have not found the opportunity yet. It will happen though. Worry not!

Now I suppose if he were alive, I’d be considered a stalker. I’d like to think that I’d be a very polite one though. I wouldn’t snap any “unauthorized” pics, or interrupt his dinner or anything. That’s not how I roll – I am the Queen of Etiquette after all. I would just hang out in the park and see if I could catch a glimpse. Maybe even shake the man’s hand, or *gasp* get to work with him on some crazy brilliant project like E.P.C.O.T. (and I mean the REAL E.P.C.O.T., not what took it’s place after he passed)

This is enough for now. It’s made me think that maybe I should start a blog page documenting some of the spots I’ve been etc….hmmmmmmm

TTFN.

Writing Prompts: Bucket List Destinations

It’s two in a day again – I went to bed early last night and forgot to get this out!

The assignment: A place that I would live but have never visited.

This is, by no means, a fully comprehensive list of where I would love to travel. It would be hard to narrow down since I have so many places I want to go. And I’ve never been there, so have no idea as to whether I would really like it, but if I were to imagine I liked them, here are my top 10. Some of these are just “wants” but some of these are because these are places in my ancestry that are rooted there and I would love to visit and explore all of them.

1. PARIS, FRANCE

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I have ALWAYS wanted to go to France, for as LONG as I can remember. So much so, I even learned French. Still haven’t made it there yet though…

2. STIRLING, SCOTLAND

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Because who wouldn’t want to study abroad in a castle?? And a beautiful medieval town….

3. KENMARE, COUNTY KERRY, IRELAND

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It looks quaint and quiet and charming, especially being on the bay. I always imagine it to be lovely. And oysters.

4. LONDON, ENGLAND

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BECAUSE LONDON!!!!

5. GRUYERE, SWITZERLAND

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Well, Gruyere is one of my favourite cheeses, but I’ve always felt this place looked GORGEOUS. I feel like anywhere is Switzerland would be fine by me!

6. ANYWHERE IN NORWAY

I always see pictures of Norway and am absolutely floored by how gorgeous it looks. GORGEOUS GORGEOUS GORGEOUS! Who wouldn’t want to live there?

7. ROTHENBERG, BAVARIA, GERMANY

Because this picture, history, beautiful, and CASTLES!

8. STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

The amount of history here would keep me occupied forever.

9. CASTLE DOUGLAS, SCOTLAND

There are only ruins of the actual Douglas Castle at this point, but the town looks charming and modern all at once.

10. ANYWHERE IN WALES

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Because Wales looks beautiful and how could you not want to see all of the places like this?

Writing Prompts: Social Media Faux Pas

There’s always a pro and con to everything, especially if we don’t remember to do things in moderation. As we all know, I don’t have any problems with doing things in moderation. (Yes, that’s sarcasm folks 🙂 )

So let’s pretend we all know some of the pros of Social Media – we are all on this platform for some reason or another, so we must find some value in the experience. Here are some of my thoughts on problems (sometimes AKA pet peeves) on Social Media.

1. You don’t know who you are really seeing online. The fun thing about this medium is we can post items of interest, pictures of fun things, and all kinds of super-spastically positive mantras. We think we have a sense of a person and we feel a familiarity with who we perceive them to be. HOWEVER you DON’T know them. You only see a carefully cultivated and curated image of what they want you to see.

You don’t see the bad days, you don’t see the ups and downs, you don’t see the neurotic insecurities; you don’t see how a person may advertise they are a go-getter but in reality all they do is go to work and come home and veg out and accomplish nothing. Or you may see all of the accomplishments, but none of the work, blood, sweat and tears that went into that one single moment. You might see an “empowered” woman who claims to be independent but really has someone behind the scenes completely monetarily providing for her existence. You might see a “gentleman” who professes he is looking for love, but then has no interest in maintaining any kind of healthy relationship.

Now none of these things are inherently bad – if you’re honest about it. It’s the lack of authenticity that bothers me. The images we cultivate based on some kind cultural popularity contest. It’s an empty and vapid existence. I love actually interaction – person to person. I don’t know who a person is online. I don’t know who they really are until I meet them, look them in the eyeball, and get a sense of their energy and have a valid in-depth conversation to see their facial tics, their gestures, and their emotional reaction to stimulus around them.

2. Trolling and Bullying. I think that speaks enough for itself. It’s disgusting and ridiculous that we still live a world where people are mean and violent. It’s gross.

3. Spastic Marketing Burst strategies and MLM marketing. They are shaming and dehumanizing and predatory. I don’t like how they are phrased. I don’t like the claim of “Work for yourself!” but yet there is one guy in charge of the whole pyramid who’s buying a yacht and sailing to the Bahamas, while you are spending $$$$$ on starter kits and giving even more money to this guy while you have a hard time moving the product. Newsflash: That’s not your own business. You are working for somebody else. And I don’t like the ads that are posted by individuals 5 or 6 times a day, proclaiming not to understand why I wouldn’t want to do better for my life by buying and/or selling a particular product. Then on top of that, we are going to “Like” our own status, “Share” it, “Comment” on it tagging 50 people, “Tag” more people in the update, and “Re-Tweet” it at all kinds of random people.

Yes, the internet is a great platform for businesses to advertise. But it’s a machine that has become a monster when unchecked. I have to go through constantly to untag myself and even block some people when it’s an egregious amount.

 4. “Selfies”, or as I call them, “Narcisselfies”. I try to hold back on this because I can be pretty opinionated on it. And let’s face it, we all do it. I do it too once in a blue moon. You’re feeling good on a random day so you post a pic of yourself. Epic Cosplay costume? Awesome! You’re in front a place that you finally get to visit for the first time, and you snap a pic. You’re with a good friend you haven’t seen in ages, and you snap that memory (I call those, “Ussies”) Those newborn baby shots with Mama and Papa. I find those moments to be quite touching, because it’s a legitimate moment in a very profound relationship. Nothing wrong with that. Artistic moment? Snap away.

What I find narcissistic and entitled, is when you go through a person’s photo album and it’s ALL selfies.Your feed is flooded with them. AND THEY TAKE PRIDE THAT THEY TAKE SO MANY! What the…..? They post 5-10 selfies a day. The girl with the duck lips and the drink her hand, striking a pose. The mirror shots. Selfies of “What should I wear” whilst giving the most provocative choices. Ugh. Really? You know you aren’t looking for advice on what to wear. Selfies in bed. SERIOUSLY! SELFIES IN BED? Especially those with your significant other. Don’t need to see that. Selfies in the BATHROOM??!! I meeeaaannnnn………

Then you scroll forward and find there are VERY few pictures with friends or family or in any kind of cool environment. When there are “Ussies” of them with friends, do me a favour – take a look at the focus of where the lens draws the viewer in – 90% of the time it focuses on the person in the foreground and the friends look like semi-random people in that joined them in the background.

It’s a good sign of the amount of narcissism that is present in your relationships with them. You’re not gonna get a whole lot of enlightened ways of being there. Just sayin’.

5) The lack of energy to energy human interaction. Yes, we interact online in many ways. But it’s caused us to care more about Friend and Follower counts, rather than quality of relationships. It causes a disconnect and we say things that can be construed in many different ways, oftentimes, never in the way we intended. Sometimes we are braver online than in real life. We say things we would NEVER say to someone’s face. We are often surrounded by more “casual” relationships (if you get my meaning) because there is more of an opportunity to just move on to the next latest and greatest, without actually looking inward and doing some self-reflection about what we might be (or not be) contributing to certain patterns in our life.

Much like air travel and highway transit systems, it has opened us up globally, yet has managed to isolate us and disconnect us with our immediate communities.

 I’ll wrap up this missive by saying, we all have to decide what we want to do with Social Media in our lives. Everyone is different and certainly entitled to their own way of doing things. But don’t be surprised when people receive you the way you’ve defined yourself. And if you don’t like how’ve defined yourself, change it.