Monthly Archives: April 2012

the paradox of desire

Look at that!  I’m following through on something I said I’d do (write about desire).  Yay me!

I’m feeling better about life today.  I noticed it this morning when AngryWombat was text griping (no judgement there… that is what we do for each other) and out of my thumbs came something to the effect of “life is beautiful and so are you.”  Yep, full blown cheese mode… and it felt good.  I guess there is one kind of cheese I can tolerate after all!  (still apparently in cheese mode).
I don’t recall if I shared but I was going to give myself 10 days to wallow in self pity over the absence of 38 (if you’re reading this: i miss you… still think about you every day… and will continue to…–i just don’t feel bad about it anymore).  Today is day 8 and I can say with confidence that I don’t need the extra 2 days.  I’m going to put them back in the emotional energy bank to withdraw on next time I need some comfort.  It’s a relief to be here, not because I have any of the answers I seek… but just because I grow weary of feeling crappy very quickly… I used to be able to stay in crap for weeks, months, and maybe even years, but now that I’ve seen the good life I just can’t do it for very long anymore.

(for some reason the browser keeps giving me a little pop-op telling me I’ve been logged out from another location and asking me if I want to log in again.  ignoring it isn’t working, but I’m going to keep trying to anyway!)

On with the show!  Oh wait, first… if you didn’t see the extra post on Friday night please go check it out, and then go check out “The Girl Most Likely To.”  Do it.  For me.  Please?

Now, on with the show!

What do you think/see/hear when you read the word desire?

I’ll give you a minute to stop picturing “showtime after dark” imagery in your head… go on, it’s fine.  This is a safe place.

Okay, now that those images have passed, what comes next?  What is desire?

(this is where I pretend that we’re having an actual conversation)

Right.

Absolutely.

Desire is wanting.  What are some other words we could use to describe desire?

Longing?  Good.  Craving?  Sure.  Let’s look at all three of those words: wanting, longing, and craving.  Are those things that we’re “supposed” to do?  (really, this would work SO much better if we were in the room together right now.  let me try and switch gears…)

I don’t know if the same is true for you, but I get the sense that wanting, longing, and craving aren’t very attractive behaviors or states of being… I don’t get the feeling that I am supposed to want.  I mean, I am supposed to be patient and supposed to be grateful and gracious, and supposed to be satisfied right?

WRONG.

I mean, yes… right.  There is some truth to all of that, but what makes it just as mind boggling as anything else when you really stop to think about it is that desire is both a requirement for and the source of all resistance to growth.  argh!  (am i right?  argh! with me.)

I’d like to try and reframe desire so that it is no longer a dirty word (in the second context, you can still make it as dirty as you want when talking about sex) but I’m not sure I have enough time to do that before I have to go pick up spiderman from my mom’s.

So, here’s where we are…  I can tell you in exactly three steps (only three?  yes.  only three) how to get anything:

  1. desire it
  2. know you deserve it
  3. stop caring if you ever get it
Simple right?  (ha!  no.  so, so complex).
We’ve (I’ve) got to stop thinking that desire is bad… desire is required for any kind of growth.  And of course I should want… of course I should have my heart’s desire (and so should you)… (there’s step two already).  I get along fairly comfortably through steps one and two and then at three I am hung up more often than not.
I am supposed to desire something, know that I deserve it, and then stop caring if I ever get it?  
Um… how? (not rhetorical.  For the record, I don’t know that there is an answer to that question, but if you have one please offer it here in the comments section).
Brief digression to tell you a bit more about my last several days:  Like I mentioned on Friday I planned a full weekend of distraction for myself and it turned out perfectly.  I was occupied when I needed to be, had plenty of time for rest, and even had enough time to decoupage the hell out of my new desk–what more could a girl want?

my new “creative” space

The weekend essentially closed with a visit to a local meditation group.  I sat with the group in a 45 minute meditation (just silence…  woah–I’ll tell you more about that on Wednesday), through an hour long discussion about resistance–not a coincidence!, and a final 15 minutes of meditation again) and it was lovely…

So, here’s what I think I am learning… here’s what I think might be the “non-answer” to the impossible, but still not rhetorical question.  How do we effectively accomplish step 3?  How can we exist in the tension between desire and surrender?  How can we want something with all of our heart and soul and be willing to live without it?
I’m sorry to say my friends, but the answer is the same as all the rest: self love.
Before you get all flustered… ‘self love, wtf? does that mean anyway?!  she’s always talking about it and then she goes and eats quesadillas and grumble grumble grumble’  
Yes, I say it all the time… and I don’t know for sure that I know what it means, and I definitely do some self harmful things and I pay for them… but here’s what I learned this weekend.  Self love is going to be different for you, and the only way to find out what it is is to try some things out.  Here’s what I think it might be for me: 
  • going to plays
  • telling people about things I think are beautiful
  • reading books
  • going to the movies
  • eating a cupcake for lunch
  • falling asleep on the couch watching tv
  • meditating (sneak peek of wednesday’s post–meditating may be radiating the light back inward…  think about it)
  • talking to friends
  • art projects
Okay, so that’s what self love might “mean” to me… and why/how is it the answer?  I can answer this part with more confidence: because when you’re (I’m) immersed in self love I am getting all my needs met.  I can see still outside of myself and identify things I want, but I stop “needing” them to complete me… I am already complete.  I can make room in my heart and my life for anything that will agree to peacefully coexist, but there are no pre-existing voids.

Thanks for sticking around while I try and figure this out.  I’m grateful for your presence.

Now, leave me a comment or two (please).

Questions for today: 

  1. What are some of the things you do (or stop doing) to “let go”?
  2. What does self love look like to you?

you MUST go see this play

I am not a play reviewer (critic?  see… I don’t even know what they’re called!), I am not a fellow artisan of the stage (not a director, playwright, or even actor although my riveting portrayal of Mrs. Peterson in the Orange High School drama production of Bye Bye Birdie is still making waves in my hometown), I am just a (newly divorced) girl with a broken heart (unrelated to the divorce) looking for something to do on a  Friday night (when her son is at his father’s for the weekend)… and what happens?  I find this while I’m poking around on goldstar trying to make life meaningful.  I buy a ticket, happen to recruit TheAngryWombat, and the plan is in motion.

I spent most of intermission brainstorming how I was going to tell the world about this brilliant play and by the time I got home I realized I had much more to say than a mere status update would allow.  And with that… I am writing my first play review and probably talking about myself as much as I normally do in any of these posts.

“The Girl Most Likely To” opens with vintage, Filipino drag queen Mama Cid explaining the ancient tradition of cross dressing as a means to cross into different spiritual worlds–I am instantly sold of course.  If you haven’t noticed: some of my most recent discoveries about myself have triggered an obsession with anything gender queer.  The story unfolds to describe the journey of a teenage boy who longs to be a girl and…

You know what, I don’t really want to write a review.  Somehow it seems like a review should include a synopsis and I don’t want to tell you what I saw, I want to tell what I felt.   If you want more details about what the play is “about” and/or want a professional’s opinion check out any of these reviews:

Steven Stanley at StageSceneLA

Travis Michael Holder at Backstage

Dale Reynolds at Latin Heat

where are all the female theater critics?  (that’s what they’re called, by the way… “theater critics.”  and I am still not one)

oh, here’s one Amy Tofte at LA Stage Times.  Thank you for coming through for me, Amy.

The story in “The Girl Most Likely To” is pretty specific.  It is inspired by the life and unfortunate death of a transgender teenager… and while it’s true that the queer storyline is what made it stand out from the crowd of other random theater offerings this (and every) weekend on goldstar, I am not–nor have I ever been–a transgender teenager.  What I am left with, however, is that this play was about the human experience.  In the two hour (plus a smidge more) story I experienced every emotion on the spectrum.

I was thrilled and delighted by the drag queen lip synching and whole cast choreographed dance numbers, I laughed out loud at the patronizing “Twilight” jokes, I whimpered at the unintentionally harsh words of the fearful mother, I sobbed and screamed and cried at what I can only describe as a brilliant use of space, time, light, emotion…  wow.

The play wasn’t about a transgender teen.  The play was about human beings.  Thanks to the phenomenal writing, directing, and acting I fell in love with every lovable character and hated each hateable one in the purest way possible.  From start to finish I was completely immersed in the lives of the characters, their stories, and my story as I reflected on the fact that everything they experienced was so human… even, and especially the ugly bits, and I was experiencing it right along with them.  Even better, I was ripped from my story.  I am so far from outside my head now… I am back in the collective mind… the human experience.  Deeply connected to each and every one of you.

Something else happened in the therapist’s office this morning that I forgot to tell you about.  She encouraged me to look for a way to give my time and energy in service.  She explained that the emotional blocks I was enduring were all ego based.  Concern about being left or forgotten or dismissed or made suddenly unimportant are all concerns of the ego and the BEST way to get past the ego and back into your true self is to give of yourself.  I knew I would be compliant instantly (I am a good girl), but I didn’t have any immediately inspired ideas.  Sure, I could serve food at the Rescue Mission, but so could anyone else… there had to be something that I could do because of what I have to offer.

I know where I’m headed now.  It’s the most self loving place I can think of to start…  A place where giving of myself is the exact same kind of love that I need to give to myself.  Thank you to the creators, performers, and hosts of “The Girl Most Likely To” for getting me there.

Everyone else… go see this play, and then tell everyone you know to go see it.  It needs to be seen.

i heart my therapist

I have a really good therapist.  She’s so good in fact that I don’t even mind that she doesn’t really know my name…  Apparently being able to support someone emotionally does not require some of the basic social nonsense we are sometimes focused on to a fault.

That was a long way of telling you I went to therapy today and it was great.  It felt like a brain massage which to me is exactly what therapy should be.  It loosened up some emotional material and at the end I felt quite comforted and taken care of.  Often I can’t cry in therapy (because I am INSANELY detached from my emotions at very innopportune times) but that wasn’t the case today (by the way, I am down to 50% of the dosage of Lexapro I was taking for anxiety before… I am not experiencing much–if any–generalized anxiety.  I am just experiencing feelings, and being able to process them through tears and stuff… and that is what I was going for so… yay!).
I thought I was going to write about “desire” today, it’s been coming up a lot in my world this week… but it’s going to have to wait for next week because something else has come up instead.  
Again, I haven’t meditated or done my intuitive journaling since Monday but I’m sure this weekend will be a good opportunity to get that routine better established.  Spiderman is with BFO and it’s just me and all of the millions of things I have planned for myself to avoid quiet time with my thoughts (tonight: a play and gluten free/vegan bakery with theangrywombat, tomorrow: sleeping in buying a cool desk on craigslist and going to see bully by myself, sunday: hiking and a meditation group).  I have a feeling I am still going to have PLENTY of time to think.  
That’s where the good therapy comes in… pretty good timing to get some guidance from a trusted caretaker at this moment.
So I totally get that stuff happens on the journey that is life, and that we don’t get to choose what stuff happens, but that we can choose to look at everything that happens as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and love.  Totally get it, and usually even exist there pretty comfortably… just not there this week.  I get it so much that I find myself craving the moment that I am married to the lesson I’m supposed to be learning right now.  Instead I know what the lesson is and I am just completely resistant to it.  It’s like it and all of its peace and glory is just about a block ahead and I could totally catch up if I just picked up my pace to a light jog but I am wearing cement shoes and dragging my feet is the best I can do right now.

Good news from the therapist office: resistance is a sign that you are super close to a giant leap forward.  Resistance is that part of you that is trying to lovingly protect you from what’s scary and potentially painful.  Resistance needs a loving pat on the head and then to be ignored and pushed past.  So, that’s what I am going to be working on this weekend… pushing past the resistance and taking the leap.
What’s the leap?  Well, like I’ve told you I already know that what I can be learning from this is that if I give myself the love I am so willing and able to give others that I’ll be set for life.  It’s a pretty big one and I don’t think that’s any coincidence.  I think it makes a lot of sense that when you cross paths with someone whose heart you can speak to directly through your heart it is bound to bring up all of your stuff–and this is clearly my stuff.
What’s the fear?  I feel nervous about saying it here because I am not sure how it will make me sound (like an ass maybe?)… but I’m going to do it anyway: I am afraid that if I push past the resistance and REALLY love myself as willingly as I love her that when we do reconnect I may be in a different place than she is.  We’re both working on the same thing in this time apart and although there is no way to do this I want to find some way to keep pace with her while we’re apart so that we’ll be perfectly matched when it’s time to come back together.
So, I tell the therapist this and she asks me if it is “possible that loving yourself more authentically will make you even more capable loving her?”
Um, yes.  Totally possible.  Yes, let’s go with that.  It’s already on the blog here under “things I know to be true”: if we’re going to make up stories in our head (which I am going to do) let’s make up good ones.
Obviously this is bigger than my heartbreak over 38…  I cling to relationships because I want to be connected.  I put loving myself last because it seems more important to love others enough to keep them close.  Turns out, what’s probably true (I’m going to try and let you know): if I love myself first I have more love to give and more ways to be connected.  Wowza.

just kidding… I’m only on 93

I guess blogger counts drafts as posts and when I realized how many I had and deleted the drafts I found that I only had 92 posts under my belt, not 99.  It’s allright.  Now I’ll be watching for it and will plan something special for us.  I’m better when I have time to prepare, spontaneity isn’t my greatest strength.

Hi, how are you?  (then you say, “good, how are you?”)
Oh, how am I?  I’m… um… well… I’m okay I guess.  
I’m learning a lot that’s for sure.  Four days into missing someone you love doesn’t hurt as much as it does the first or second day.  Today was more like a dull, persistent ache than anything.  Now that I think about it I almost prefer the intense shooting pains, because they go away and when they’re gone I find myself pleasantly surprised to be on the other side of them.  The dull ache is an old nemesis, and I responded to it today in the same way I used to…  yep: cheese.
I knew I was going to do it, it wasn’t impulsive… it was planned, and up to an hour before it actually happened I could already feel the pain in my stomach.  It would have made sense to leave it at that.  Eat an apple, feel the pain in the stomach, be distracted from the pain in my heart, and thank my body for giving me what I needed without me having to harm it into that state.  Instead I ate the cheese anyway, and it didn’t hurt (which is a MAJOR problem… without consequences I have no motivation to avoid the self destructive behavior.  I can only hope I have a shitty day tomorrow to turn myself back around–kidding, sort of).  It just numbed the ache. I feel full, not fulfilled, but full.
On to more inspiring topics!
In terms of my commitments for this month so far I have done the following: 
1. Meditated 0 times
2. Had intuitive conversations 0 times
wait… didn’t I say MORE inspiring?  I haven’t done much for myself since Monday… I’m in a bit of a emotional survival mode, just trying to get by: be a mom, do my job, make it through rush hour traffic without crying (optional).  
It’s interesting because I know that doing both of those things (meditation and the intuitive conversations) would greatly increase my capacity for healing… maybe I want to feel bad for a little while.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day (which is the painful truth I wake up to every damn morning when the sun reminds me that I have to figure out to how to exist again).  Sorry for the darkness here, but I’m getting the message that you all welcome the vulnerability, and this is where I am.
Despite being entrenched in my own drama I am filling the calendar up with opportunities to stick to my commitments.  It’s going to happen.
Okay… NOW on to more inspiring topics.
To be sure I’m perfectly clear about something that I have been intentionally vague about more than once: 1. I met someone last fall who I felt instantly connected to, 2. that connection became more than a friendship (emotionally) for both of us, 3. we decided not to be in a romantic relationship (we both have a lot of self-love work to do) and tried to make a friendship work so we could continue to be in each other’s lives while we worked on the stuff that was keeping us apart, 4. it didn’t work…  the connection is too deep.  i fell in love., 5. we decided to take some time apart to do the needed self-work independently of one another, 6. we will come back together later this year to see how we can be in each others’ lives.
The person is 38.  Saturday was the last time I saw her.  
That’s the story as clearly as I can tell it. 
As you heard on Monday I already know that I can be using this opportunity where I’m not getting what I want exactly when I want it to learn patience (<--screw that)... to learn self love.  And oh what a rich opportunity it has been so far.  I have been so patient with myself and so kind to myself.  I am just letting myself feel all of the dark, yucky, mucky feelings and letting myself engage in all sorts of self destructive behaviors (oh shit, that's NOT self loving... I'll keep working on that one).
…and beyond those simple gestures of compassion, GT helped me see another way that this is exactly what I need right now.  I have always been afraid of being left.  I am certain that the people I love and people who love me will eventually leave me… and so I cling to them in desperation, willing to do anything and everything to keep them close and make them happy to be there until the point that our relationship dies and there isn’t so much as a smoldering ember left to try and revive.
Last week the word abandonment came up in my head a lot.  I knew that Saturday was going to be the last time we saw each other for a while, and I knew that I was going to miss her, and I knew that it was going to be hard… and when I thought about all of those things I had normal reactions like fear, relief, confusion…  And when I wasn’t thinking about it and just going about my day I would hear little whispers in my ear like “why is she abandoning you?” or “you have to do something!  don’t let her abandon you!” and “it’s happening again.  you’re being left.”
ouch.  
but I fought back…  NO!  I am not being abandoned.  That is NOT what is happening here.  It may feel similar, but that’s just an old program… an old expectation my brain used to operate one.  We’re choosing this for our relationship while the fire is still burning.  Rather than waiting until the point that one or both of us has smothered it to death, we’re each going to take a torch, we’re each going to stoke our individual fires until they’re strong enough to light our way, and then we’re each going to bring what we have back together to see how bright a light we can create.
That’s what is happening here.  
Now if only it didn’t have to hurt.

My 100th Post!

Wow, 100 posts, that’s cool.  That’s not what I came here to write about but it’s what I was confronted with when I arrived.  That seems to be what this blog is all about… honoring what we’re confronted with when it isn’t what we planned for or expected, eh?

Before I do that and to make sure that I don’t fall short of my promises to keep you informed I want to get two things out of the way…

  1. Dalai Lama: despite an initially overwhelming start that involved many winding lines of people in the parking lot of the Long Beach Arena and an underwhelming warm up before I could really understand what HH was talking about… it was fun.  I was with a great group of ladies, and the knowledge being shared (while not new–and yes I feel a little self important for saying that, but yeah… I didn’t hear anything new.  I suppose that could mean that I wasn’t open to hearing something new, but I’m just going to go with: I’m really fucking enlightened.  Like Dalai Lama-esque enlightened) was on point.
  2. Heartbreak: I’m sorry to back peddle here, but it’s gone back into sacred space so there’s not much I’m willing to share…  What I can say: The person I have been having a non-relationship with since the beginning of this year isn’t in my life right now (as of 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning).  It was a mutually, self-loving choice on both of our parts and this isn’t the end of our story, but despite that and despite the beautiful day we shared Saturday and into the early light of Sunday… I am indeed heartbroken. Or perhaps more accurately terrified of future heartbreak. Lucky (ha, like it’s “luck.”  Luck is just what people who don’t know about magic call magic) for me, this month’s theme is right on par with quieting the mind and soothing a broken heart.

This month is called “ish.”  To me, that’s about living in the unknown, living with uncertainty, living without the answers… and the only way I know how to do that is through my spiritual self.

Here’s what I am committed to this month:

  • Daily meditation (2-3 times a day.  I’d like to do it upon waking and before bed and maybe midday too)
  • Daily intuitive conversations (these are conversations I have with my intuition by sitting down with a notebook that was once my “morning pages” and just start writing–usually questions, and get the most loving answers… it’s pretty much the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced within myself)
  • Spiritual Journeys (literally… I am going to go places that are known for their spiritual energy and just be there and soak it in.  Probably only two because I have a limited amount of child free weekends, but I’ll do as much as I can)
  • Tapping into resources (I’m going to look everywhere and anywhere for information about my authentic self–astrology, tarot, talks, books, podcasts, a labyrinth, you all, all sorts of places)
  • Group spirituality (I am going to “church.” Anyplace I can find where people gather to build their spiritual energy)

So far, here’s what I know. I have been more loving to myself since this project started than I ever have been in my life. This self love has increased my already enormous (sometimes generous to a fault) capacity for loving others. I was told today in my intuitive conversation that if I can give myself the love I am always trying to give others I will have everything I need. Of course this is kind of vague, cryptic, and overwhelming but to give it more context…

Someone I love very much (you can go ahead and guess who that is) heard me tell them something in response to some fearfulness they were having this weekend. When I repeated it back to myself I realized that I can very literally take the love I have been giving her and give it directly back to myself. Here’s what it was:

Nothing bad is happening. Something good is happening. Anticipating and preparing future disappointment does not delay or prevent it nor does it lessen the pain when disappointment comes. All that it does is rob us of the opportunity to experience the joy of the present moment.

Hear that self? If it was good enough for her it is good enough for you.

Seems like a good place to start.

thank god that’s over (oh wait, it’s not…)

Today is the last day of the “parenting” month and I can’t be more relieved.  I don’t care if it makes me a social outcast to say so, I am way too self absorbed to focus any more time on my relationship with a tiny soul-sucking person within the context of this fulfillment project.  
Yes, I am being intentionally crass.  Fun right?
By the way, I’m still not really up for this (I’d rather be wallowing in self-pity and cleaning my house), but this blog is the first time I’ve ever been accountable to myself so I figure I should keep it up and make this part of who I am…  Moving on!
This month has been difficult.  Again, the graphs show that I exist on a roller coaster.  I describe the qualities I track and chart as being part of “being my best self,” but really what that means is “am I having a good day or a bad day?”  As you can see, I have some days that exist in the middle, but I have a lot of great days and then some really shitty days.  I’m still looking for that essential (is it?) balance.
this month’s trend… moving down… this week has been a doozy

The good news: if these charts mean anything (which they probably don’t), the whole FP to date is still showing an upward trend.
annual forecast… still moving up!
I didn’t experience any consistent best self qualifiers this month, I was kind of all over the place seeing a much wider spread across all of them.
not feeling so light this month!
For anyone who is wondering, I used the “conscious choice log” four times this month (but am not bothering with a chart).  Four out of four times I did it for something food related and I think writing down the painful consequences of my choice helped kick me back into gear with food and exercise.  I have strictly adhered to the foods that are best for my body and I have been working out for about an hour a day since early last week!
which brings me to my final update for the evening: my ass!
An ass only picture is included in the sidebar with all of the others for comparison as usual, but an expanded view is here (honestly, I cannot believe I am taking pictures of my ass and posting them on the internet… this is very surreal.  why isn’t anyone telling me how ridiculous this is?) because I am pretty excited to see that this is what I look like from the back end.  I’m pretty sure I still weigh the same (I forgot to weigh myself this morning and I’m not going to do it now) and my ass is still lumpy, but the shape is much better than last month, there’s an absence of back flab, AND my waist shrunk considerably (that and in any of the previous pictures my arm flab was way too heinous not to crop out).  I am starting to remember that my ass never really gets smaller, just the things around it do.  I’m okay with that.  That can still look good in sweatpants.
anyway, enjoy.

Finally, back to the point of this whole damn project.  I’m experimenting with things in all areas of my life and being to see where I find the most fulfillment, to see where I should be spending my time and emotional energy, to see (more clearly) the path to being my best self and staying on it…

This month I learned that I love my son more than I even knew I did.
This month I learned that being his mom is probably the most important thing I do each day.
This month I learned there are TONS of resources out there to help me do that job the best that I can.
This month I learned that my relationship with him is going to teach me more about myself than I will likely ever give to him.
This month I learned that I can have fun just being with him and gratefully soak up these moments while they are here.

…and this month I learned that it (being a parent) doesn’t fulfill me on its own.  I still need to do things (like make art, and seek spirituality, eat well and move my body, and we’ll find out what else in the coming months) to feel fulfilled so I CAN BE a great mom.  Totally worth it.  Totally.

Dalai Lama and heartbreak are on the agenda for tomorrow.  I’ll let you know how both go.

copping out

Tonight’s cop out blog post is brought to you by a hurricane of intense emotion, a full plate of self care (and regular old to do list) agenda items, and a complete unwillingness to be vulnerable.

In lieu of my vulnerability please enjoy these pieces I enjoyed this week:
honoring the emotional child
six words you should say today
my children are people
mommy is a person

I’ll see you on Friday to wrap up the “month” and answer the question you’re dying to hear about: is parenting fulfilling? (sneak peek: nope)

until then… xoxo

haircuts aren’t supposed to hurt

the inspiration photo

I have never felt nervous about a haircut before.  my hair has been every color, length, and style imaginable and I’ve always been able to pull it off.  i have a very talented stylist and she has a great canvas to work with (if I do say so myself).

today, driving into the salon, my heart was racing (which could be related to the fact that I’m weaning off my anti-anxiety medication, and/or the fight BFO and I got into yesterday, and/or the fact that I ate corn chips yesterday but either way… it raced).  I was nervous and that was new for me.

I sat there wondering what my nerves were all about while the peroxide lifted the color from my hair and burned the living snot out of my scalp… When meditative breathing wasn’t working to dull the pain anymore I attempted to distract myself by checking my email and found an email from 38 that ended with: “I hope your external transformation will be as full, happy, enlightened, satisfying and heart opening to you as was your internal transformation.” (I know, she’s great right?)

what i came in with…

…and then the nervousness was a bit clearer.  Oh!  That’s what I’m doing here…  this dramatic change I’m making to my outward appearance is another attempt to make the inside and the outside match.  I don’t look the way I feel lately and that hasn’t been sitting well with me.  I don’t know that I necessarily feel like a blonde pixie but it’s a starting point.  And it’s funny that the external transformation felt A LOT like the internal one: there was fear, doubt, anxiety, pain, hopefulness, excitement, drama (can’t live without that), etc. etc. etc, the main difference isn’t that I didn’t love myself through it as effectively as I have been the internal transformation.

Despite the fact that I adore my stylist and we have the most divine conversations about self love and feelings, The nervousness didn’t subside… it intensified as the next seven hours brought all sorts of yellow/orange/brassy colored hair surprises, really coarse fluffy mushroom headed surprises, and finally a (not surprise) great haircut, but by then all of my liquid eyeliner had melted off and I was too emotionally exhausted from staring at my own flabby, white calves for so long to appreciate it.

I left the salon feeling completely vulnerable. I mean, the 25% reduction in pharmaceutical anxiety support, baby daddy squabbles, and corn chips aside, I spent the whole day in a chair, feeling afraid, and telling myself nasty things about the reflection staring back at me. It was not the best care I’ve ever taken of myself.

And you know what? I’m still in it… I redid my makeup at home, styled the hair in a way that maximized my cuteness, posted pictures on facebook, got tons of positive feedback, and am now loving my hair, but my scalp and my heart are still quite raw. I don’t have a nice neat little way to wrap this up with a profound conclusion. I learned not to do that again (permit active self loathing), but that’s it!

now that is what i think i look like on the inside.

I guess that’s enough for now.

life is terrifying

I had to take an online Child Abuse Prevention Training course this week at work.  I took it on Monday, which as you may recall was a pretty emotional day (pretty as in “very” because it certainly wasn’t “pretty”), and it was a disaster.  I’m glad that I sit with my back to the rest of the people in my office because I am not sure I am ready for all of these new work people to see me in such a destroyed state.

Couple things:
1. My greatest (irrational?) fear in this lifetime (yes, more than tsunamis and sharks to those who know my previous fears) is that my child will be molested.  I don’t know where this fear comes from… no, I wasn’t molested… but it SCARES the shit out of me.  I mean, I know it’s a scary thing for everyone, but I actively think about how to prevent it from happening more way time than I am willing to admit.  I am close to be convinced that nearly everyone I encounter is a potential predator.  It’s a little much… I know it is.
2. This training started with “Sam” an actual man who molested children (not an actor–shudder) talking about how he got away with it.

It nearly killed me.

(ugh.  it is awful to even remember it!)

and right now… my son is off with his father for the weekend.  his father certainly loves him.  his father would certainly protect him from harm.  his father is aware that he is responsible for his care.  but his father has a completely different view of how that love should be expressed, how to protect and what/where the potential harm really is, and what it means to be responsible for his care than I do (and my way is clearly right, right?).

and… I have to let it go.  (boo!)  Because being an ass isn’t illegal (that’s a universal truth to get acquainted with if you are now or ever do go through a divorce, by the way…), I have no power in this situation… I cannot prevent damage, I can only repair what is done.  It sucks.

When I start to think this way I wonder at the marvel that I manage to get out of bed every day.  Seriously, life is so terrifying!

Speaking of terrifying…  I’ve noticed a shift in one of my core fears lately.  I think it’s fair to assume that our experiences/traumas shape our world view and part of our world view (unfortunately) is a reaction to what we fear.  I lost a parent at 11, and (because I’m a pretty literal person) I have lived much of the last 20 years afraid that people close to me will die.  Literally.  When I think about the worst case scenario in any of my relationships… when I get into my “story” it always includes death of someone who I am deeply connected to.

Until recently…  I have noticed in the last couple of weeks that when I get into my “story” it isn’t ending with death, instead I am simply convinced that the people I love will suddenly stop loving me (for no apparent reason–without warning).  It doesn’t take too much investigating to figure out where that comes from right?

As terrible as our relationship was, I believed that BFO would love me until the end of time.  I have always known I was loved… as a child I knew I was loved, and I know I am loved as an adult.  And I was so preoccupied with the fear that love would go away because of death it never occurred to me that love would go away because of a person’s choice.  Now that I’ve experienced the earth shattering reality that people who promised to love you forever break their promises I am all too aware that it could happen again and again.  It’s even more interesting to me to realize that even though I am completely grateful for the outcome of the lapse in love it still damaged me enough to essentially replace the core fear I’ve been working with since I was 11 years old.

Crazy stuff this terrifying life is.

And can you believe that the answer to the question (how do I get out of bed every morning and face this terrifying life?) is to surrender?  Wowza.

addendum to: doing right by our rights

I was thinking about blogging today (I told you I was committing to thinking about it at least three times a week, and I’m doing it.  I’m sometimes good at doing what I say I’m going to do) and realized that I left something important out of last night’s post.

Because I am already daydreaming about writing something very snotty about effective co-parenting in divorced parent relationships for tomorrow’s blog I figured I’d throw in a little bonus tonight.

I forgot to mention about the Personal Bill of Rights that the most important thing to know about it is that you and everyone else on earth shares the same rights.  Obviously I emphasized that you (I) do, and that our children do, but I forgot the “everyone else” part.  I think that’s because historically I have been all too aware of other people’s right to their rights.  In fact, I’ve given away many of mine to ensure they can have theirs honored.  So when I think about the Personal Bill of Rights it is most useful for me as a tool to remember that those are my rights and a tool to remember that they are also my son’s.  For any who might need it… here’s another way of looking at them:

1. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to ask for what we want
2. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to say no to requests or demands we can’t meet.
3. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to express all of our feelings, positive or negative.
4. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to change our minds.
5. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.
6. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to follow our own values and standards.
7. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to say no to anything when we feel we are not ready, it is unsafe or it violates our values.
8. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to determine our own priorities.
9. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right not to be responsible for others’ behavior, actions, feelings or problems
10. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to expect honesty from others.
11. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to be angry at someone we love.
12. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to be uniquely ourselves.
13. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to feel scared and say ‘1’m afraid.”
14. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to say ‘1 don’t know.
15. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right not to give excuses or reasons for our behavior.
16. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to make decisions based on our feelings.
17. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to our own needs for personal space and time.
18. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to be playful and frivolous.
19. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to be healthier than those around us.
20. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to be in a nonabusive environment.
21. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to make friends and be comfortable around people.
22. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to change and grow.
23. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to have our needs and wants respected by others
24. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to be treated with dignity and respect
25. Every human being on earth (including myself and my child) has the right to be happy.

Just a thought.  There are probably a million different variations we could come up with.  Can you think of any?