Thursday, March 31, 2016

Honesty

People say "just be honest" all the time as if it's an easy, natural thing to do.  What I've realized lately is that it is anything but.  It is the scariest, most difficult thing we can do as humans.

Real honesty is exposure.  It is allowing another person into your thoughts, feelings, desires, wounds.  It is baring yourself and being vulnerable to attack.  And it risks what we all fear most: rejection.

And so we're not honest.  We're polite.  We say trivial, inconsequential things.  We talk about the weather or food or universally agreed upon safe topics that won't get us into trouble.  And none of that is honest.

Honesty is raw, rough around the edges, bare-bones bravery.  It is the most courageous thing we can do.  It risks the ultimate rejection and the most gut-wrenching pain.

But, I'm finding out, it's a much better way to live.

So be honest.  Be brave.  Be open and vulnerable and scared out of your mind but too determined to back down.  And yes- there will be rejection.  Yes, there will be pain.  But there will also be the possibility of real connection.  And that is so much better than playing it safe.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Check

It's funny, the things we wish for.  I've been waiting for this for a while.  Thinking that it would bring about some level of closure.  Like a permission slip to move on, an ending that would weigh down my baggage enough for me to break free and float up to the surface.  To break through and breathe again.

And yet, just the sight of your handwriting is enough to bring me to my knees.  Just the reminder that there is a living, breathing, writing human being out there who I used to love with every cell of my being.

I tear open the triangular seal and see typed writing through the backside of a folded letter.  You wrote.  You said something real.  Maybe it's an invitation.  An honest disclosure of feeling.  One soul reaching out to another.  Or maybe it's a goodbye, a release.  That thing I've been waiting for.  All those articles I've been reading about how to let go of the past finally leading to something real.

But no, how silly of me.  It's the same cold, emotionless communication you've been giving me all along.  A contract.  An explanation of details.  A photocopied severing of the heart.

And a check.  Logical, feeling-less numbers.  The details, the formalities.  The end.  Real.  Not a nightmare, not my imaginings.  But real, cruel life.

And with that, it's over.  All the formalities, all the details, all the back and forth e-mails come down to this.  Ten years of a love story I thought would last forever, ended in a check, enclosed in envelope, and sealed with the tongue you used to kiss me with so fiercely it made my heart beat out of my chest.  

The tears come.  I have nothing to stop them with.  My body slumps against the wooden doors of my cabinets as I sink down to the hardwood floor of the kitchen.  My body is wracked with the sobs and I don't even try to fight them.  I am carried, like sea foam on a wave.  I am the pain body.  I am heartbreak incarnate.  And no, I don't care how melodramatic I'm being at the moment.  This is real.  This is the end I've been fearing for so long.

I wonder in this moment, if the pain I experienced while we were together is actually worse than this.  If I chose this over that because it really was worse.  And the answer, of course, is no.  This pain is much worse than anything I could have imagined in fantasy, nightmare or daydream.  Because it's not just in my head.  Because it's actually happening.  Breathe- this is real.  You can't wake up from it.

And they all say the same thing: it's good.  The fact that I'm capable of experiencing this, of being mindful to this, of really living in this.  The fact that I'm not closed off to this pain.  The fact that I can inhabit it, the same way as I inhabited love.  This is the gift.  This is life.

So I cry.  And I scream.  And I let my face contort in ways that hurt my face.  And I allow myself the moments of pure, unadulterated pain.  I surrender.  I surrender.

And tomorrow, life will go on.  And the reassurances that I've done the right thing, the only thing, will repeat themselves in my mind.  And I will be fearless and fierce and brave.  I will live.

But for now, in the quiet of my kitchen and the still of this late March evening, I will hold the check and allow myself the space to die... in the hopes that by letting you go, I will finally live.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Independent

I've been calling myself codependent so often in reference to the disturbing realizations I've made about my former relationship that it's nice to know I'm not incapable of living.  It's the simple things: walking to work, washing the dishes, doing laundry, filing my tax return.  None are particularly huge milestones in the life of any individual, but they are things I can do with ease and without fear.  And without help.

So yeah, maybe I fell into the stereotypical patterns of emotional editing we all do in relationships- but I can stand on my own two feet.  And that feels good.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Hurricane

Even now, looking around this space- MY space- I still struggle to feel real.  So much has changed in such an incredibly short period of time.  I have a new definition of home.  A new definition of family.  A new definition of myself.  A new definition of life.

Everything has completely changed.  And even the things that haven't changed seem drastically different in the light of all the other changes.  Even work, even yoga, even karate and friendships that have always been there.  Everything- everything is different.

Slightly over a month ago, life looked like it had for years.  Years and years and years.  And now, slightly over a month later, I'm already slipping into a new pattern.  New daily routines.  New normalcy.  In only over a month.  I can't believe it.

I would be impressed or excited or hopeful but I can't be too much.  Because every time I think I'm accepting, the past comes back.  Every time I think I'm firmly rooted in the present a memory pulls me back into the past.  Ten years of memories, ten years of stories, ten years of you being a constant in my life.  And now, nothing.

That's what I struggle with the most- the timeline.  The speed with which a life can so drastically and completely change.  It feels like being picked up by a hurricane.  You're swept up, blown away.  Nothing firm to hold on to, no idea as to when it will end or where you'll land.  Nothing to do but be thrown about and hope nothing irreparably breaks when you land.

But it's strange- it seems I landed a long time ago.  But my head's been spinning ever since.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter

It's funny, but one of the things that kept me where I was was my love of your family.  Ten years of memories and photos and weddings and births.  Countless birthdays and Christmases and dinners.  Countless ways in which we were entwined in the tapestry of each others lives.  And I thought that was love.  I thought it was the best kind of love.

Now, on the other side of everything, finding myself shunned and completely ostricised I see what that love is worth.  I see how easily the light switch is flicked off.  And it's shocking.  Really, beyond comprehension.  To go from family to nothing so quickly is nothing short of jarring.

But I saw something today, something that restored some faith.  Yours wasn't the only family.  They weren't the only people who could welcome someone in and treat them like family.  They weren't the only home I could be embraced by.  Love is everywhere.  In so many more places than I realized before with my narrow world view.

So no, I won't pretend that the severed ties that kept me so tightly bound to your family didn't leave a permanent mark.  But I won't delude myself with the notion that they were the only ties that matter.  I am bound to so many more people than I ever realized when I was with you.  And my love is limitless.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Housewarming

I had a new experience today, one I've never had before.  I threw a party without making myself crazy.

I've hosted parties before (before the long isolation) but they were incredibly, INCREDIBLY stressful affairs.  From the planning ahead of time to the setting up to the music, food, decorations and then into the event itself and all the duties of playing hostess.  I can vividly recall running around all evening checking- does everyone have drinks?  Should I bring out this food item?  Does everyone have a seat?  Is everyone participating in the party game and having fun?  I was like a hummingbird running on anxious energy and constantly zooming around all evening.  (And I'm sure I made any empaths that happened to be there incredibly anxious by proxy.)

I thought, I hoped, I planned for this to mark a new era for me.  One in which I would host a whole lot of get togethers (both formal and informal) without being a hummingbird.  An era in which I could be that laid-back person who actually enjoyed the company of their guests.  An era in which I could, oh, I don't know- party at my own party.

Well, I think I did it tonight.  Yes, I was a bit anxious running around before- picking up food and drinks, setting up the space, whatnot.  And yes, I felt a bit stressed as people started to arrive in earnest- feeling the need to  give tours, show everyone where the food was, where the drinks were.  Offer things.  And yes, technically I did start a fire (because checking that the oven is empty before turning it on for the first time is just not something that occurred to me- but thank god we addressed the situation long before anything catastrophic occurred).

But, BUT- I didn't freak out.  I wasn't the hummingbird.  I actually- gasp!- had fun!  I ate.  I drank.  I had genuine conversations with the majority of my guests.  I played games and laughed hysterically.

And no, I'm not going to claim that I never worried.  I wondered if I missed someone.  I checked on a few people a few times.  I realized that sometimes I got distracted and was not authentically interacting with presence.  But these were the exceptions- NOT the rules.  For the most part, I had a ball.

So I think there may be a chance that I was right.  That this really is a new era.  That I can actually, truly be that laid-back fun person who throws awesome parties without worrying about it.

And given that I have the world's most amazing circle of friends, that's pretty fucking exciting.

Friday, March 25, 2016

My Condition

The Buddhists say that wanting is a condition that has nothing to do with the object of desire.  It's not the thing- it's the feelings, the need.  They say this because of what happens immediately after we get what we want: we start wanting something else.  That's why wanting is a condition.  The same way that asthma is a condition.  An illness.  A dis-ease.

When we were together, I thought about you everyday.  Everyday.  Often with joy, sometimes excitement or anticipation.  Desire.  Guilt.  But more than anything, the condition that dominated my thoughts, the dis-ease I suffered from, was worry.  I worried all the time.  Everyday.

I worried about us, about myself as your girlfriend- feeling a million failures and fearing a billion more.  I worried about whether or not you would ever marry me.  I worried about whether or not we'd make it.  And in the end, I worried about whether or not you'd ever understand how important all these changes I was making were, and accept them.  You didn't.

I've been realizing throughout this process how much I don't know.  About relationships.  About partnerships.  About how subtle and insidious codependency can be.  And it's been making me worry. 

I still think about you everyday.  Everyday.  Often with guilt, sometimes anger or rage.  Desire, still.  Regret.  Pain.  But the condition I suffered from, I still suffer from.  I still worry.

I worry that at some point in the future, a long time from now, I will meet someone and I will desire them and grow to love them and it will happen again.  I will worry.  I will obsess.  That future lover will occupy my thoughts the same way that you did.  I will suffer from the same obsession, the same co-dependency.  The same condition.  And I worry most of all that I will lose myself again.

I've been championing the belief that this is all about me.  About finding myself.  About understanding myself.  Including all these dark parts that's I've been ignoring.  My obsessing.  My codependency.  My condition.

But I do fear that future relationship and all the possibilities it presents for me to lose what I find.  I can't imagine doing all this work- and I know I'm really only at the beginning of it- only to lose myself again.  And that's the worry 

Just like they say- different object, same condition.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring

It's the change of the seasons that does it for me.  Both summer and winter tend to drag.  Day after day, the scenery remains the same.  The world seems duller, less full of life.  Monotony takes hold and it's harder to be amazed by everything.

It's easier during the times of rapid change.  Everyday something new to see.  A new scent in the air, a new birdsong, a new breeze blowing through your hair and across your skin as you walk.  There are sandals.  Shorts.  Sunsets.  The world takes on a vibrant hue and you can't help but stare in wonder.

It's during those times that I find this lifestyle of mindful awareness, of considerate observation, easy.  It's during those times that I can truly embody all these principles I hold dear.

And in a time of so much- so much- being not easy, I'm grateful for that.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

They Say

They say the key is to always stay busy- don't give yourself too much to think, to wonder, to plan or fear or go crazy.  The mind is an unruly thing, best not to let it run too wild.

They say the pain is there to be felt- to be observed, tracked, understood.  that's where growth comes from.  That's where the change happens.

They say that simple distractions have their place and in fact a good measure of self love.  It's kinder, gentler to be easy on yourself.  Change the world later, have a revolution later.

They say that the details can keep you moving when you'd otherwise get stuck.  Paperwork, e-mails, bills, appointments, to-do lists and chores.  These little signs of normalcy, these little reminders that life does go on, everyday.  It keeps you chugging along and it's good.

They say not to overload yourself too much.  You're not gonna be at the top of your game, and that's ok.  You're allowed to take a break, you're allowed to not be on top of everything.  Consider how much energy you have to give and reserve some for just surviving.

They say that time heals all wounds.  The craziness will pass.  The pain will dull.  Life will take whatever shape it's going to take and then all of this will make sense.  Someday, someday.

They say so many things, so many pieces of advice, so many words of wisdom, so much hard-won knowledge.  But I find that sometimes the best thing, the most comforting, the most warm, the most loving- is saying nothing at all, but just listening.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Days

Some days the world is bright and beautiful, more beautiful than I ever realized before.  I wake up to the sunlight illuminating my gauzy curtains- something that never happened before because you needed those heavy black out curtains.  Your insomnia, always a large stone in the wall between us.

I look at the little one all snuggled in bed with me and feel a twinge of guilt that he wasn't always there- your allergies.  But, I think, he's here now.  And this feels right.

I get up and stretch and putter around my new kitchen making breakfast, spooning dog food, smelling coffee.  No need to be too quiet- no one to wake up.  The space is starting to feel like mine and a routine is starting to build.  Life is easy, I am able.

I meditate and chant right out my open fire escape door.  I feel the wind on my skin, the sunlight on my face, smell the grass in the yard below.  That window I used to hide by so the neighbors won't see is gone and I'm not hiding anymore.  If I stopped hiding from you then what the hell is the point of ever hiding again?

I walk to work.  What a revelation.  No car, no traffic, no desperately clinging to the radio to try to distract myself from the maddening exercise of commuting- I walk.  That alone is a miracle and I love it.  I feel more in tune with everything.  I feel like I'm helping the planet- all that stuff about no carbon emissions and no relying on oil.  I feel free- not trapped in a car stuck in traffic.  And I smile at the knowledge that I'm going to hit my daily step count with ease.

Work is a calling instead of just a job.  I help people.  I listen.  I am genuine and caring and fully present.  I think about how everyone, always, is doing the best they can and I feel a genuine pride in being part of the human race.  And even the paperwork isn't so bad because I'm doing it.  I'm living, I'm surviving.  Hell, I'm thriving.  This is right.

I walk home, and in all honesty I feel a tiny bit like a bad-ass anime character with the wind whipping my blue hair across my face.  Hair that I cut and colored because you always wanted it long and natural.  I look out across the town and I love it.  This is home now.  This is my town.  I am strong, independent and fearless.  I am all the things I want to be and I fit here.

I cook- something I almost never did with you.  I can be adventurous and "just throw something together" without planning because I only have to feed myself and I'm so much more open to trying.  No more take out, no more mindlessly watching tv waiting for you to come home.  It's just me and Buddy now and we're free.

I go to sleep and feel like I can do this- this life without you.  It'll be better.  I will be better.  I will be all the things I've been working so hard to become because I'm no longer stifling so much of myself to keep playing the version of me that you wanted.  I know-  I feel it deep down- that this was the only way.  And I'm sorry I hurt you, I'm sorry I spoiled that perfect picture of everything being just fine.  But I know I had to- because this is who I am meant to be, and I couldn't be this when I was with you.

But then, some days the world has a shadow over it.  It isn't as simple as a change in the weather (though I seem to be a lot more effected by those now.)  It's a change in me.  I wake feeling heavy and weighed down.  As if my bones are made of lead- still brittle and breakable but so, so heavy.  Moving is difficult.  Breathing is difficult- that tightness in my chest is back.

I think of you and I miss you so deeply I can't keep the tears back.  They bite at the backs of my eyes and my throat closes up the way it always does.  My body is a prison I can't escape from and I feel betrayed by it.  Like everything is conspiring against me before I've even gotten up.

Breakfast, teeth-brushing, all the duties of the morning are mechanical; possible only because of their simplicity.  I feel sick.  There's an ache in my muscles, my heartbeat won't slow.  I even wonder if I'm coming down with something though I know I'm not.

I don't meditate- no time.  Getting out of bed took too long, everything is taking too long.  I walk to work quickly and see nothing- not the sky, not the trees, not the world.  I beat the pavement with anger because I'm late and life is fucking hard and I hate myself for it.  For being weak.  For being dependent on the life with you I no longer have.  I hate myself for throwing it away.

Work is impossible.  My brain constantly jumping around like an angry toddler.  I bounce from terrifyingly intense memories to the details of the day and back so quickly I can barely think straight.  I'm fighting it, I know I am.  But I have to- work has to be done.  Life has to be lived.  I have to keep going.  But nothing gets done and my anger increases.

My cynical side comes out full force with a million reasons why the world is shit, why the people in it are horrible, why you were right in so many ways.  And maybe you were right about me, too.  Maybe all this enlightenment is just a phase and I did throw away our life together for nothing.  Maybe I ruined everything.  It feel like that now.  At the end of the day I feel defeated and useless and weak.

On the walk home, I let it happen.  The tears, the pain that I've been fighting back against washes over me like the tide and I get carried away with it.  And it's an ego thing, I know.  My pain.  My heartbreak.  Me, me, me- why doesn't anyone understand my suffering?  And I know there are people in the world who have so many more real problems to worry about and I feel like a shit for wanting it all to end just because I'm sad.  But I am sad, and really fucking angry.  So fuck the rest of the world and let me wallow.

Back at my place I see that my budding home is nothing more than an apartment with a crazy neighbor downstairs and a broken knob on the heater.  I see everything wrong with it and I have no energy- none- to try to unpack anything else.  So the boxes stay, the blank walls stay and I feel some sense of satisfaction in being stuck in it because I deserve it. 

I drink.  Way too much.  And that critical voice of mine which has been on overload all day long gets the best of me.  I am all the horrible things it says I am.  My future is bleak and I was stupid to give up so much for this.  And so on, and so on.

I go to sleep, exhausted and wasted and dead.  But even then, even in the midst of so much self-indulgent self pity and even more self-hatred I remember something.  I remember what I've been told- that this is how it works.  There will be shadow days and pain and grief.  It's not a mistake, it's not an indication of wrongdoing- it's just how it works.  Tomorrow will be another day, another opportunity to do better, try again, be strong and fearless and able. 

So I forgive myself, just for today.  I set my alarm so I have enough time to meditate.  I think about what I need to do tomorrow to make it better.  I pray and I am grateful and wise and hopeful.  Because tomorrow, maybe, will be a bright day.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal 3-21-2016 

I'm going to skip the grand introduction (since I know we've all got quite a number of blogs to hop around to today) and just launch right into it.  My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is: Yoga. 

Anyone's who's been to this blog pretty much at all in the past year knows that I am nearing the end of my 200 hr yoga teacher training (I graduate in May).  It's been a life altering journey for me in some planned and millions of more unplanned ways.  And I've learned A LOT.  What better way to end my year-long training than by touching on 26 topics of such a vast array of information.

Some of it will be straightforward non-fictional entries about the topic- things I've read, learned first hand, been told.  But a lot of it, perhaps even most of it, will be memoir-style entries talking about a specific lesson in my life and how it's changed me.  (So even if you have zero interest in yoga it might still be worth looking at if you like honest, meaningful stories.)

Yoga.  That's my theme.  I hope you all enjoy it.

And now hop along A to Z'ers!


39.
46.
55.
69.
80.
116.
165.
196.
204.
274.
308.
324.
347.
367.
376.
386.