labels

I ran occasionally and infrequently for years. Whether it was enjoyable or just something I did to get my body moving, I’m still not sure. I remember wanting to be a runner because some of them looked so graceful out there pounding the pavement.  Seeing the final two-tenths of the Boston Marathon in 2008 filled me with a passion to run that I’ve seldom had about anything in my life. After a few false starts, I made it a regular thing. There were a good few years and then a giant hiccup and over two years of injury.

This path has been littered with the ghosts of relationships; with others and the one I have with myself. Much like a writers block, my running suffered when I wasn’t confronting issues.

The realization in January that I had finally given up the ghost on the bullshit I used to think about myself is what really turned around my running (and my writing).

I remember thinking after the injury happened, “what if I can never run again?” and being terrified. My identity was so tied up in being a runner, and it’s one of the few labels I will put on myself beside human being. I never felt defined by my gender or sexual orientation in the way that so many people do, or an artist as my educational background would predispose me to… but runner? That was the label I so wanted to wear outwardly. That was such a big part of my identity and when I couldn’t run, I wondered could I still talk about running or call myself a runner. Could I identify and label myself a runner if I wasn’t actually lacing up my shoes on a regular basis?

My identity being so caught up with this one small percentage of my life could be so silly to most, but I’m proud to call myself a runner. I love the miles even when I hate them and when my body hurts and when I question my own sanity for signing up for a race.

So I’m not the most graceful runner, nor am I fast, but I’m grateful and for now, that is enough.

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tides

If timing is everything, then learning how to flow with the tide instead of against it is key to being in alignment with our lives and the universe.

Timing and synchronicity is really key to feeling like things make sense. I spent so many years being unaware. Recently, I’ve tried to really tap into whatever small amount of intuition I have painstakingly developed. It definitely takes grit and guts to recognize that control is an illusion (especially with the idea of life as current/tide in a stream/ocean). I’ve fought against the current for so long, that now as I begin to have moments where I don’t, it’s both liberating and terrifying. Recognizing that it isn’t a foe or adversary is key to becoming in tune with your path in this life.

Recently, there have been two instances where I can see the pattern from the less refined version of me getting scared and not acting. It’s so obvious now.

Looking back over several exchanges recently made with different people, I’m looking for patterns. In hindsight (which is better than never figuring it out at all), I’m able to be cognizant that the current discord in my state of being is directly related to the fact that I did not take a specific action when everything pointed to that action. Again, I was not acting in harmony with the current of time, and had a moment where I swam against it.

Having spent so much of my life just bumping from rock to rock in my feeble attempt to think I could force my way upstream or against currents, I can see when these patterns lead to an unhappy outcome. Instead of being vulnerable and open, I hesitated.

Vulnerability is the true key to happiness. You can’t really give to others if you aren’t willing to receive. How can you give love and light if you can’t be open enough to receive it? Yes there are hurts and woes and bruises when you’re vulnerable and willing to receive, but to fight against it and give and give and give? You end up drained, scared, and bitter.

Once you learn to trust the lack of control and allow life to guide you where you need to go, you become in alignment with making better decisions. It isn’t about being swept up in the tide and making no decisions, but about the balance of navigating it. It’s obviously much easier said than done, because habits are hard to break and creating new ones are equally as challenging.

Admittedly, I have beat myself up about some recent events and how it worked against my own joy, which is another challenge.

In trying to protect myself from hurt, all I did was close myself off from their love and kindness.

So I’m open. I’m willing to receive, and so grateful for those people in my life that have stuck around long enough to see me get to this place where I can finally receive the love and light from them! My biggest hope is that some of the unknown relationships may still yet be salvaged. I can’t control the outcome but I can control my actions and my behavior, in the hope that the universe deems me ready for the next second/minute/hour/year(s), and that maybe I can give light to those individuals, and receive theirs as well.

collaboration

I’ve been asked why I am always seeking outside opinions from my own. I used to think it was because I didn’t trust myself, didn’t trust my intuition or confidence.

Recently I’ve come to realize that I do trust myself and I have confidence in who I am. Nonetheless, the questions continue to persist. And for someone who is constantly seeking to revise and improve myself, this raised a question: why do I still ask people what they think?

Having ruled out the confidence bit, I then went deeper and pondered some more. I value what people have to share, so it isn’t a matter of wanting to hear myself talk. I will also make my own decision after carefully weighing and calculating all of the different points of view.

That’s when the happy realization came into focus that I see life as a collaborative journey. I value what those around me see, their unique perspectives that I might have missed, and hopefully vice versa. At the end of the day, we make our own decisions (hopefully) but when it comes to so many matters, we seek outside opinions.

It could be about a situation at work, an apartment, our love life, or a cooking technique. And yes, some people only ask questions so that they can hear themselves talk, which is frustrating. But on the whole, life is a collaborative journey and our own perspective is so narrow, so specific, that if we can get out of our heads a bit, and value what other people have to share that we might miss… well, it’s a beautiful thing.

That being said, there is an exception on who you can ask opinions from. It’s often extremely challenging to ask opinions from people who see the world in very limited black-and-white terms. Good and bad. Absolute. These folks often balk and run if they hear an answer that isn’t to their liking. You got dumped? Their response is often going to be “fuck that dude/gal. Move on.” They are done with it. Same with a job, etc.

So, if you’re looking for deep and thoughtful conversation, those folks might not be the best to turn to. It’s not a value judgment on them. In fact, sometimes for those of us who live so much in the grey, we can learn a little bit from them about boundaries. Usually our strongest traits are both our biggest strengths and biggest weaknesses.

We learn from the shared experiences of those around us and it’s important to recognize that collaborative approach to living, but it’s also important to value your own judgment as the final word. Love yourself and love the people around you. We are all doing our best. Try to listen to them. Have conversations about things that scare you. If they made you mad, dialogue with them. Never leave something unfinished. I think we all owe it to our own hearts and minds to accept collaboration as a gift to growth and more love for ourselves and the world around us.

xx

 

Armor

Stare into this illusion
For answers yet to come
I chose a false solution
But nobody proved me wrong
At first hallucination
I wanna fall wide awake

You make decisions about what your life is going to be and you cleave to those ideals to keep you going. I had to prove myself wrong and I thought I had but there was still some part of me that held on to that old story, those old lines in the sand. At first you do it to keep yourself sane or to keep grounded but then those lines turn into ropes that hold you down. It’s rigid and you choke your freedom and creativity. Of course it wasn’t the intent, but the ropes are so tangled that you can’t see the illusion for what it is.

Then, it becomes comforting. Scary and painful but easy.

Easy to push everyone away, easy to believe that you can’t be happy. Comfort in the panic.

Then you get a glimpse that you can be happy without those ropes but it’s terrifying. Keeping walls up keeps you safe from the world but it’s lonely and painful, like watching the world from behind safety glass.

I stopped living my life behind the safety glass a while ago but didn’t realize I hadn’t fully let go of the script that I’d used as armor to keep people away. I didn’t even know it was still there until it showed up to bite me in the ass and as the words came out, my brain and my heart were screaming to stop. Autopilot. I don’t even believe what I’m saying but can’t stop.

I don’t want to keep people away, and haven’t for a while but didn’t see I had still kept that coat of armor in my repertoire, like when you keep the skinny pants in your closet even though you’ll never fit in to them.

So I’m letting that shit go.

I’m here for the pain, here for the vulnerability, here for the laughter and love. Because that’s life. And I’m fucking worth it. I am worth it as I am. Love my scars, love my flaws.

I am worth it.

sabotage

In worrying about what I’m going to do wrong, I sabotage myself and manifest. For the first time in a long time, I have true regret about my actions and my words. I let myself down with these old tendencies. I don’t even believe the old narrative anymore. That narrative became so rote in how I felt for so long that expressing anything else wasn’t even an option until I realized that I am not my thoughts.

I am not damaged. I am whole. I am alright.

For the first time in my adult life I like myself and I am happy.

I thought I had the weight of the baggage I had been carrying around for so long until I realized it was like a scar, a phantom pain. I never stopped to think that I did not believe that narrative anymore that it had actually disappeared.

Of course, in this lack of recognition and rote behavior, I have inevitable embarrassed myself and want to take it back. This is my only true regret, that I have let myself down.

 

grace.

In moments of tired desolation, I sometimes think my scars are obvious to everyone. Most have long since faded, but I know they are there and I can feel them with my fingertips. There is part of me that has to resist the pull even though I haven’t craved the pain in years.

Pain reminded me that I was alive. It’s become a constant. Pain shows us all that we are alive. I can handle my own physical pain more easily than seeing other people in pain, especially emotional pain. I go blank and I don’t know what to do.

When Chester took his life, what made my heart race and my breath catch in my chest was the pain of thinking those who were left who loved him dearest.

The idea that someone could be in that much pain that they wouldn’t even be cognizant of how their loved ones will continue to suffer long after they are gone… that hurt the most. The people we leave behind.

It took a while before I realized why it was that the ‘left behind’ thing struck such a chord with me, and it’s because so many people seemingly get tired of me and leave. They blame me or lash out or whatever. It’s why, at this point, I will actually give a small disclaimer about some of my weird habits/flaws when I meet people. I think somehow this will save  me from the inevitable point where they get tired of me and leave. It’s sort of challenging though, to immediately tell people that you have an abandonment complex when you first meet them, and to not sound like a complete lunatic.

I guess the only thing I can hope for at this point is to move through life with a little bit of grace and dignity. I can only hope.

Me too.

The abundance of #MeToo posts on social media over the past few days has been overwhelming and made me think about events and circumstances in my life that I’d really like to forget. I’m always made to think “well it could have been worse” instead of having been validated that it was real and awful to go through. I acknowledge that yes it could have been worse, of course, but that does not invalidate the trauma that I have experienced, and I am trying to own that.

Me too. Being made to feel that having my feelings and my body exploited is not worthy of being trauma because it wasn’t as bad as someone else.

Me too. Being catcalled, whistled, grabbed and shamed for 18 years.

Me too. Watching another friend trying to deal with the aftermath of being assaulted and wishing so much that I could go back in time and stop it from happening.

Me too. Being told that I should expect that sort of behavior because I am a female and my sweatpants and over-sized t-shirt/ shorts and tank top/ leggings and hoodie/ skirt and sweater/ etc. was “asking for it.”

Me too. The times I was harassed after ending a date with a handshake and a smile, and the times I tried to turn it into a “funny story” after it happened to deal with the fear.

Me too. When I was told “it’s only a kiss,” after sharing my disinterest in continuing the evening.

Me too. The times I expressed my potential interest in a partner and when I didn’t quickly succumb to their whims/desires/insecurities, immediately shamed and trashed. I had friendships disintegrate over this. The worst is when it isn’t an anonymous stranger, but someone you know and trust. Someone you’ve laughed with over frozen yogurt or beers, someone you’ve shared secrets with and attempted to stand strong for/with as their suicidal ideation got the best of them time and time again.

The times I wasn’t 100% sure how I felt and expressed my feelings and my hesitation, and was pushed for an answer and then shamed- telling me how much of a shitty person I was for “toying” with them.

I hope we can all heal from these traumas and are left with scar tissue instead of open wounds.

You are not alone.

tangents

I have a tendency to get on tangents about what appears to others as unrelated subjects, but of course in my head it all makes sense.

Once I saw a man trying to keep up with a group of cyclists (all in professional attire on professional bicycles) whilst on a penny farthing. In the same place, I’ve also nearly tripped on a squirrel, seen a man running in a strapless leopard print dress and full makeup, and Wil Wheaton walking his dog.

They say you find god in the shit, which begs many questions. What kind of shit? How long does one need to look? Where? The ubiquitous ‘they’ also say you find god in the details… which again brings me to ask for details. I seek answers to these philosophical questions in life.

I’d like to publish a book someday entirely full of porridge recipes. I worry that this makes me some sort of ye olden days spinster grandmother, but then am reminded that am more likely to be confused for a hipster. I’d much rather be a old lady than a hipster, unless old ladies are the new black and have been doomed to hipsterdom, like penny farthings, beards, burritos, and veganism.

See what I said about tangents? I can’t get away from them.

Assets

I am a hard working person who would be an asset to any company. I have a work ethic and a desire to succeed that will impress you. You won’t have to congratulate me for working hard- it’s part of the package. I see it as a given that I will give 110% effort. 

I am good enough. I am whole. 

I am amazing and you should hire me. I’ve figured out Photoshop on my own. I’ve done promotion, bookkeeping, research, marketing, sales, design, word processing, data entry, training, etc. 

I would be an asset to anyone who hired me, and those who pass me over can count their losses.